17 October 1997
Media - Other (None)
Japanese youth vote for Space
Readers survey finds space is most popular ambition
by Patrick Collins
The readers write-in column "Tell Yui" ("Yui and readers' talking club") in the November issue of the monthly Japanese magazine "New Type" carried readers' answers to the question: "What would you like to do once before you die?"

"New Type" is the leading anime (Japanese animation) magazine, very glossy and colourful, and the name is taken from the well-known concept in the long-running space saga " Gundam" that people who live in space will develop a "new type" of consciousness. Despite its title, New Type is not particularly space-themed, although plenty of space-related anime appear (as plenty of robot-related ones do), and the current Gundam story and characters also feature regularly.

Thus New Type's readers are representative of young people interested in "youth culture" like animation, films, comics and pop music, rather than the (much smaller) group of what might be called "space-enthusiasts". Readers of the column who write in are mostly in their 20s.

But yes, you guessed it - the runaway most popular idea was: "to go to space".

"Yui" commented that indeed she too wanted to go to space; that there was no need to go as far as the stars or the Moon - just to space is much nearer and she had the feeling it might be possible. "Couldn't you get there in Concorde?" she mused, but Tatsuya Egawa, her artist and co-columnist explained that Concorde couldn't go beyond the atmosphere.

The column is accompanied by an illustration of "Yui" floating in space without a space suit, and a comment about whether it wouldn't be possible to take a space walk like this. [In fact it is possible - for up to about a minute - though no-one's tried to date. The ultimate space walk experience, perhaps?]

Yui's parting comment is "But, but - one day, definitely, I DO want to go to space!"

Could this possibly be telling us something?
Source: New Type Magazine (Japan)

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Patrick Collins 17 October 1997
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