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  • John Velimesis

Orientalism, Cyberpunk 2077, and Yellow Peril in Science Fiction Cyberpunk as a genre, and Cyberpunk

The Origins of the Cyberpunk Genre

The origins of the cyberpunk genre involve Western anxieties about the East. Techno-orientalism is the use of Asian aesthetics in cyberpunk, futuristic, and dystopian settings. There is a long and deep Euro-American tradition of using Asian symbolism such as neon signs with Japanese and Chinese lettering to express those feelings about what the future holds, including globalization and the threat of a takeover from the East.

Dylan Yeats, the author of Home Is Where the War Is: Techno-Orientalist Militarism on the Homefront, told me that he believes there are two strains of techno-orientalism, the European “Imperialist” strain and the American “Settler” strain.

The former can be traced back to World War II, when powers like the United Kingdom, France, and the Netherlands were looking at the end of their globe-spanning empires, while simultaneously seeing the expansion of imperialism in countries like Japan. They feared they would be outpaced in both technological and political clout, with Asian nations flipping the table and turning the previously colonized into the colonizers. CLICK BELOW TO READ MORE:


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