I can’t believe I’m going to see this guy next week:
The word “robot” is said to have come to us from the Czech word robota, which means “labor” or sometimes even “drudgery,” and thus is a word that originally carried a negative connotation.
But through Japan’s Astro Boy or the cat-like robot Doraemon, the meaning of the word “robot” shifted, instead becoming a benevolent friend who helps human beings. In Asia and elsewhere around the globe, robots came to be understood as the “white hats” -the good guys.
The impact of this situation is that countries with an affinity for Doraemon do not have workers who reject industrial robots, and thus in those countries, industrial productivity rises. In addition, you find that Japanese-made industrial robots sell well.
Yaskawa Electric Corporation and the other firms of Japan’s “big three” hold a market share of half the global market in the area of robots for welding or applying coatings. Of course, Astro Boy and Gigantor-what we in Japan know as “Tetsujin 28”-are there in the background to all this. In other words, what created the climate in which all this could take place was Japanese culture, and I am continually speaking of culture’s significant contributions in this area.
(Picture: Aso – 2nd from left – giving some kind of award to Bulgarian sumo wrestler Kotooshu (I’ll let you guess which one he is))