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Link - article by Avi Abrams

These are very rare and beautiful visions, published in Japan in the 1930s-1960s

We are continuing our ever-popular series of extremely rare and fantastic retrofuture finds (see here), in which we unearth futuristic gems from various countries and strange sources (mostly non-US). Today we will be treading a fertile territory of science fiction art and futuristic illustrations from Japan - a country of unlimited dreams and super-charged imagination.

(most images via Japanese sites, including 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)

Here is the 1948 vision of the "moving platform", that actually envelops the train within (and moves with it for some time):

This is how it works:

Super-elevated bus from 1949 - complete with a "Dinosaur Truck" symbol:

Propeller-drive trains from 1936 (beautiful shapes... graceful as swans):

Shojo Otomo art from 1967 issue of Shonen magazine, featuring "Lost in Space" hardware:

Super plane from 1964 Shonen Magazine (see more VTOL concepts in our article "History of the Tailsitter Airplanes" here):

Another transportation dream from the same 1964 Shonen issue is this beautiful maglev train, or rather "Air Express":

Even faster is this rocket transport (also from 1964):

Quite convoluted, but nevertheless beautiful transportation system idea way back from 1948. This seems to be a multi-level rotating elevator bridge... the title says "Extending into the Underground World":

Flying Saucers? But of course! A disc-shaped aircraft exploring far reaches of the Arctic, from 1957:

A huge ship in distress at sea, launching life boats (1936 vision):

Japanese "Boy's Club" magazine had some futuristic illustrations in the 1930s. Here is 1936 ball-wheeled vehicle idea (similar to the ones published in Modern Mechanics in the U.S.) -

On the right are very fast boats, also from 1936.

Busy hovercraft traffic in the future:

(image via)

Huge hovercraft illustration from 1964 Shonen magazine: "Flying mammoth cruise ships run the Channel" -

This is interesting: human-powered aircraft from 1965 (not really feasible, but wonderfully colored and detailed concept illustration by Tatsuji Kajita):

Shigeri Komatsuzaki's illustration for the "Friends of the High School" almanac from 1953 - quite unusual off-roading truck idea:

Let's finish this section of futuristic ships and vehicles with the illustration from "Akira", found on 1984 magazine ad for Canon:


Super-Fantastic Japanese Toys Attack!

Mecha Madness:

The cover art on some of the toy boxes was truly exceptional:

This Aoshima's "Mighty Patrol", see the actual toy here:

A Space Wheel from the "Battle of the Planets" (1978), see the actual toy here:

Another beautiful ship from "Battle of the Planets", made by Entex Toys:

The Astrocar from Paramount Toys looks super-awesome:

The actual toy is also pretty rad:

Midori's King Moguras is as extreme plastic toy as they come:

Strangely enhanced cars, capable of flying and pretty much everything else:

Some Japanese visions of the "afterlife" are quite intense, like this one showing the world full of hungry snake monsters, complete with HUMAN EARS! (from 1968 issue of Shonen magazine):

More Japanese super-fantastic toy madness:

And we have to finish with the weirdest vehicle concept ever from Japan (made into an actual toy) - Midori's "Dragon Sub"!

Looks like something from "Sky Captain & The World of Tomorrow"... maybe?

Space age tea fashion:

(most images are sourced from Japanese sites, including 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)






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Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I see this I think of classic arcade game "metal slug" and crazy vehicles that were in it. You could post some visions from this and other arcade games

Anonymous Dwarry Gon said...

Oh, thanks. I would like to see more of these phantastic plastic toys from the early 60s - it reminds me of my own youth and the sense of wonder when I got the first one of these.

Blogger SRdH said...

All this cool stuff reminded me of the Gerry Anderson TV series' from the 60s, such as Stingray and Thunderbirds, any chance that Dark Roasted Blend could dig out any images from the British kids sci-fi magazine TV Century 21?

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd say guess it looks like the Japanese were looking forward to a rather violent future!

Blogger Linda East said...

I knew Tatsuji Kajita, Japanese artist who drew many of these toy box covers as well as many other action prints. He did most of the Godzilla art work. He has a fantastic collection of Acrobatic Air Teams of the world as well as luxury sport cars series. He went on to be a great commercial artist with his paintings of tall ships.
He was a wonderful man and a great artist.


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