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Japanese Science Museums Popular Among Asian Visitors (November 8, 2006)

The Geo-Cosmos, the flagship exhibit of the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation (SSEC/NASA)
Japan's science museums are attracting attention around Asia. The National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation, located in Tokyo's Koto City, has become a destination for school trips for students from China and other countries, and these visitors are said to be particularly interested in exhibits on Japanese robotics. There is currently a boom in the construction of science museums in East Asia, and with governments in the region keen to create a strong scientific and technological base, citizens of Asian countries are coming in droves to look at Japan's science museums for ideas.

A volunteer helps a visitor from overseas (National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation)

ASIMO the Star Attraction
Asian interest in Japan's science museums began to take off in 2000, when Sony Corp. set up the Sony Explora Science Museum in Beijing, China. Given that interactive exhibits are still rare in that country, the outdoor experiments and science shows in which staff members perform original dramas that include scientific experiments have proved popular. Staff members also make a point of bending over to talk to children, and this service-focused attitude has been well-received by parents.

At the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation, there are two demonstrations daily of the bipedal robot ASIMO, and visitors from other Asian countries are keen to see ASIMO in action. Over the past five years, there have been approximately 160 groups from China comprising roughly 500 students coming on school tours, and this number has increased dramatically since 2004.

Robot-related goods are on sale at the Robot Museum in Nagoya. (Robot Museum in Nagoya)

The focus of this museum's activities is cutting-edge science and technology. A wide array of possibilities awaits visitors, including interactive exhibits, lectures, and a lab classroom, and this variety of approaches is one of the museum's major selling points. The service offered to foreign visitors is excellent, as there are always museum guides posted on every floor ready to provide easy-to-understand explanations of the science and technology on display, and most of these guides speak English.

New Robotics Museum
Recently, other unique museums of science and technology have been appearing. In October 2006, the robotics-themed commercial complex Robot Museum in Nagoya opened in central Japan. On display are roughly 300 cutting-edge robots, including some that can walk on two feet.

Robothink features exhibits of real robots. (Robot Museum in Nagoya)

The main attraction is Robothink, a museum of robotics that holds actual robots and roughly 1,000 pieces of related material, including video images and photographs. The museum introduces the history of robotics decade by decade, and it also has a library where visitors can freely browse books relating to robots. Visitors can touch Sony's robot dog AIBO and a comforting seal-like robot, and there is even a corner where they can operate robots for themselves. With all this to offer, this museum is quickly gaining popularity with robot aficionados.

Japan's prowess in science and technology is proving to be a major attraction for tourists from around Asia, a trend that is likely to continue as Japanese technology advances and museums introduce further innovations.

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Copyright (c) 2006 Web Japan. Edited by Japan Echo Inc. based on domestic Japanese news sources. Articles presented here are offered for reference purposes and do not necessarily represent the policy or views of the Japanese Government.

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