Computopia, a circa 1969 vision of the future from Japan

computopia_5.jpg Pink Tentacle has found several great images of what a 1969 edition of the Japanese comic magazine Shonen Sunday called Computopia — a future in which computers will teach our children, perform surgeries, and infiltrate our lives in otherwise useful and fun ways.
computopia_4.jpg computopia_10.jpg Computopia: Old visions of a high-tech future


  1. Yessir, computers will be wailing on children with sticks equipped with pain-nodules using robotic precision in the future!
    I for one was worried about whether we could use this technology to strike children, but I see that my fears are unfounded.

  2. This.

    That’s what these kids today need, DisciplineBots! Nothing teaches 7*2500 quicker than a smack to the head!

  3. In high school I was an exchange student to Japan, so the little robot thwacking kids on the head makes total sense. Teachers were always hitting us — one teacher punched a student so hard in the face that he broke a finger. This newfangled technology will save a lot of schools from a workman’s comp claim.


    (Am I the only one who thinks the “discipline” machines look kinda like prototypes for daleks?)

  5. I’m curious about the hitting while learning. I’d always been taught that hitting increases stress responses that decrease ability to learn. But its not like Japanese schools are known for producing poor learners…

  6. I love that. All that technology available, and they make machines to automatically beat their children. :D

  7. Can’t… stop… laughing… picturing a never ending fleet of mobile student boppers…

    “No, Mom, I don’t want to go back to school today! Last time the robot broke and sat there punching me for the whole hour!” bwahahaha

  8. The second disciplinebot is swooping in, thinking “damn, beaten to it again! I really wanted to hit that Honda kid.”

    He’s also really bad at cheating. The other kids’ screens are showing the correct answer loud and proud.

  9. I didn’t see it at first, but the top image doesn’t have a teacher in it, only a picture (or display) of a teacher. Also, what is the purpose of the large red ball on a mast suspended above the board? A smaller one is dispensing reinforcement in the top picture. Is the function the same in the top picture as it is in the second picture, and is that function the same as the smaller versions on the mobile beat-bots?

    Personally, I’m very glad I was never hit in the head with big red robot balls at school.

  10. My Japanese is still limited to few phrases, can someone tell me if I have it right that it’s written from right to left in this? It seems most Japanese these days is written left to right- and I think this is actually fairly recent. Anyone know for sure?

  11. Those red things are all boppers. Japanese is traditionally written top to bottom, and the lines run right to left. Books are (still) read starting with the spine on the right.

  12. I think it’s incredibly cute they saw the future of education as REALLY BIG TABLES. No more 7 x 8 for future kids!

  13. Confusingly, the pictures at the bottom of the first image run from right to left,but all the text in the captions is read from left to right. I guess the pictures running from right to left would make more sense in context in a book of manga.

    The text in the second image runs from top to bottom, left to right, however.

  14. The first picture is pretty accurate, because I am sitting in a class room where all the students are using computers to learn. However, I’m not being whacked by a robot for reading Boing Boing during class time.

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