Science Communication (SC) is both a critical and trendy field now bandwagonin Japan and other developed countries. Possible reasons for the increasing importance of SC include the emergence of a class of highly educated individuals and the perceived conflict between the value systems of science and daily life. SC is a creative process that encourages clear communication between science and the experiences of daily life, rather than the mere conveyance of scientific results. It is not enough to convey the “content” of scientific and technological results. It is necessary to explain and communicate the common “context” of science and daily experience. Café Scientifique is an effective trial effort to create such common context, as the Cafés create a discussion space in which scientists and laypersons interact. Our field research demonstrated that Cafés in the UK and France function in this way. However, such Cafés in Japan have sometimes operated differently. We presume this is a consequence of Japan’s cultural history. Since the late 19th century, we have introduced Western science into our society, but we have only been exposed to the products of scientific activity from outside of our society without the background, context and process surrounding such science. This means that we have not shared the context of scientific knowledge acquisition. Such a condition is commonly experienced by non-Western countries, suggesting a new perspective on the science-society relationship.

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Public Communication of Science and Technology

 

From contents to context
Current status, classification, and perspective of science communication in Japan

Osamu Sakura   Interfaculty Initiative in Information Studies, University of Tokyo, Japan

Emi Sonoda   Graduate School of Interdisciplinary Information Studies, University of Tokyo, Japan

Mari Futaki   Graduate School of Interdisciplinary Information Studies, University of Tokyo, Japan

Kohta Juraku   Graduate School of Interdisciplinary Information Studies, University of Tokyo, Japan

Science Communication (SC) is both a critical and trendy field now bandwagonin Japan and other developed countries. Possible reasons for the increasing importance of SC include the emergence of a class of highly educated individuals and the perceived conflict between the value systems of science and daily life. SC is a creative process that encourages clear communication between science and the experiences of daily life, rather than the mere conveyance of scientific results. It is not enough to convey the “content” of scientific and technological results. It is necessary to explain and communicate the common “context” of science and daily experience. Café Scientifique is an effective trial effort to create such common context, as the Cafés create a discussion space in which scientists and laypersons interact. Our field research demonstrated that Cafés in the UK and France function in this way. However, such Cafés in Japan have sometimes operated differently. We presume this is a consequence of Japan’s cultural history. Since the late 19th century, we have introduced Western science into our society, but we have only been exposed to the products of scientific activity from outside of our society without the background, context and process surrounding such science. This means that we have not shared the context of scientific knowledge acquisition. Such a condition is commonly experienced by non-Western countries, suggesting a new perspective on the science-society relationship.

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