June 16, 2015 – September 27, 2015
This exhibition explores Japan’s vast robot kingdom through a collection of vintage toys, figurines, and comics. For the past 50 years, the subject of robots has been an integral component of Japan’s pop culture industry as represented by a variety of media including toys, manga (Japanese comics), and anime (Japanese animation). Most take the form of androids, robots that mimic human form and interaction, mecha, massive robots piloted by heroes or villains engaged in constant galactic battles, and, cyborgs, biological organisms infused with mechanical parts.
Healthcare is a driving force in the robotic industry. In the medical field robotic parts have been incorporated in the form of prostheses, pacemakers and cochlear implants. Japanese companies are also devoting resources to the development of products designed to benefit the health and well-being of the country’s elderly population. Soft, beguiling robots like PARO, a furry baby harp seal, have the ability to soothe patients by engaging in realistic emotional interactions that can lead to comfort and bonding. Japan’s Robot Kingdom playfully demonstrates how the imaginative interplay between fantasy and science has influenced astounding real-world innovations.
Funding made possible by the Henry and Tomoye Takahashi Charitable Foundation and sponsored in part by the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Council on Arts & Culture. Our appreciation goes to lenders Rick and Jeanne Newman of hightechscience.org, TATE’S Comics + Toys + More, Bennie Albert of Uberscosplay, and the Consulate General of Japan in Miami.