The 70th GJS SeminarRockets to Berlin: Aeronautical Futurism in Japan, 1900–1939

Date and time: November 19, 2020 (Thu.), 4:00-5:00PM
Venue: Online via Zoom
Speaker: Subodhana Wijeyeratne (Lecturer, Keio University)
Language: English
This is an online event with Zoom. Please register here:

Rocketry first arrived in Japan in the 1920s, and immediately inspired a wide range of responses. Nearly all of the focused on the technology's potential to expand connectivity across the world – to travel across oceans and continents in mere hours. This presentation will look at some of the key responses of figures in Japanese technological and public scientific circles, tracing the precise contours of this optimistic vision. Along the way we'll encounter rocket ships from across the Pacific, young girls who dream of being stewardesses on rocket flights, and engineers who dared to dream of that most aspirational of human goals – travelling to space. We will then look, briefly, at how these dreams eventually met their demise at the hands of another use of this same technology – as a weapon of war.

Pictures of this event

Organizer: Global Japan Studies Network (GJS)
Co-organizer: Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia (IASA)
Contact: gjs[at]