Thursday, February 14, 2013

Dystopic Form of the City of Tokyo

This multi-tiered metropolis of skyscrapers and technology is filled with noise, motion, and advertising.  Almost anything that can be co-opted for advertisements has been taken over by electronic billboards that note the interests downloaded and collated from passing users (from their shopping histories) so that the advertisements in the local streets match the majorities.  Cutesy video screens call out to passersby by last name and have limited programming that allow people with the right mobile application to converse with the A.I.’s about their products and about random other conversational items and thus allow the customer to actually talk to the smaller e-screens that dotted the blank spaces on walls.Still, this is a Tokyo that can be recognised from yester-year.  Festivals and cultural customs are still observed.  Traders on certain streets still call out to entice customers into their tiny shops to purchase certain goods.

Japan has an aging population with around 25% of the population being above the age of 60 and thus people now work until the age of 80 or 85 and there’s a thriving nightlife for the over 50s where before they might have stayed behind.  It is expected that there will be a massive plummet in Tokyo’s population over the next fifty years.

The city’s culture has darkened since the masquerade breaches brought monsters into the limelight and people have reacted by declaring the supernatural ‘technological’ with a firm belief that vampires are ‘ghost hackers’ capable of remote-hacking video capture technology and that fuzzy reflections in mirrors are actually caused by e-screens with video technology masquerading as mirrors.  The only real supernatural belief that is taken very seriously by people in Tokyo revolves around actual ghosts and a vampire who blurs, a werewolf who horrifies, or a Changeling that drops the mask will all later be recounted as hauntings.

The reason for this is simple.  Tokyo is a terribly haunted city.  In fact, it is quite the haunted city in an otherwise haunted country.  No one quite knows why.  Perhaps the nuclear bombings in America resonated with Nagazaki and Hiroshima – but then why is Tokyo the one that has captured so much ghostly attention?  Ghost hunters and other paranormal experts are listened to with great care by Japanese people these days and afforded a fair amount of respect so long as they don’t start going on about impossible things like vampires, werewolves, and demons.  A number of old customs have been resurrected and while these traditions have helped the situation they haven’t solved anything and generally seem to simply suppress a haunting briefly or shunt the ghosts elsewhere.

Japan has acknowledged that the dead walk.  It would be foolish to claim otherwise when there is so much going on in America.  However, they subscribe to the belief that zombies were the result of a nanotechnology spill in a biotechnology firm in Western America in or around Las Angeles (which is where epidemiologist place the start of the zombie apocalypse).  Luckily, the nanites get to work so quickly that any plane that takes off with an infected creature will shortly crash or, in a few cases, be easily quarantined with the pilots safely locked inside the front portion.  Several biotechnology companies have confirmed detecting the nanites – which has caused other experts to claim the same lest they appear less technologically savvy.

The Japanese government still retain powers although many politicians are openly, and sometimes covertly, connected to various megacorporations.  In theory they are meant to announce any such conflicts of interest but this is rarely the case unless they believe it may earn them more votes as megacorp employees are expected to vote along corporate lines.  While they theoretically can’t determine if you haven’t, most people don’t take that risk.


  1. You really should check out Kuro. From reading that, I thought you were about to launch into your own review of it.

    1. Thanks for the link. I really should take a look at Kuro. I would have commented on your blog but it seems to be doing dodgy things when I try to put in my email address and username. Oh well. Probably just a bug that will sort itself out later.