Friday, March 8, 2013

STAR TREK: Darkness in Japan

With the new Star Trek movie Star Trek Into Darkness scheduled for release in the ’States in May (but not till August here in Japan), I thought it timely to flick back to a spot of “research” I did prior to the screening of J. J. Abrams’ first reboot of the franchise in 2009.

Research telling me, at least by May four years ago, that only one in seven citizens of Japan had heard of Star Trek.

I knew this then because I finished personally quizzing 60-odd people.

The margin of error was (and still is) completely open to contention, since I interviewed people only in Tokyo, my test subjects were limited to anime production staff, students of English, techno DJs and musicians, and the ages stretched from 15 to 72. 

I’ve since had arguments with a bunch of people, all foreigners, who contest the findings (well, they've argued and I've thrown up my arms in surrender), but they have yet to do similar research and I guess mine still stands up okay.

Apparently there was a Star Trek boom in Japan in the ’70s — the evidence is there in online artwork and blogs — but either most people forgot by 2009, or I picked the wrong target audience.

The one-in-seven figure was itself a stretch, since two inclusions in the ‘yes’ category confused Star Trek for Star Wars. One time, when I asked the ongoing main question (“Have you heard of Star Trek?”) my tipping-the-scales 72-year-old English student Hashimito-san declared “Of course!” — and thence proceeded to enact a spritely air-lightsaber cut-and-thrust routine.

Read more of this article @ Forces Of Geek.