Star Festival is a CD-ROM multimedia product that presents an "intimate"
Japan. The format is that of an interactive fiction/documentary. It
contains about 30 minutes of video, over 120 original photo images, a
variety of 3D graphics, original sound track, and "field notes" that
provide the cultural/historical context for the show.
The videos are of
spontaneous interviews done in the city of Hiratsuka. Examples include
a woman in her 60s who describe the day Hiratsuka was bombed by American
B-29 bombers; a kimono shop woman who takes the user on a tour of her
shop; and a businessman who every year wins the top honors for the best
decoration at the Star Festival.
These materials are presented in the
context of an interactive story, about a Japanese man who left Japan
when he was 10 and has lived in the U.S. for 30 years; he goes back to
Japan to discover his roots. The voice narration is by George Takei,
Mr. Sulu of the original Star Trek TV series. The show can be used by
people studying Japanese language, but it is also designed for those who
have no knowledge of Japanese. It will be available in late spring 1996
in Mac and PC versions.
Educational/entertainment software for learning about Japanese culture,
Japanese language, and cross-cultural issues.
Japanese is linguistically and culturally remote from the Western
societies. An aim of this show is to make the "every" lives of people
in Japan, including language, accessible.
Star Fest has been in production for nearly four years. It has been
beta tested at MIT and at a number of local high schools.
- Shigeru Miyagawa,
- Executive Producer
- Michael Roper,
- Creative Director
- Ellen Sebring,
- Tom Thornton,
- Chief Software Engineer
- Taka Torii,
- Cultural Consultant and Technical Support
- Japan-America Institute of Management Science
- Consortium for Language Teaching and Learning
- ASCII Corporation
- Funabashi Business & Computers College
- A Gift from Kochi Prefecture, Japan
- National Endowment for the Humanities
- MIT Provost NEC Fund
- MIT Center for Educational Computing Initiative
- U.S. Department of Education
Direct all inquiries to
For information about marketing and purchase, contact:
Those who are studying Japanese language/culture; those who are
interested in Japan even only in passing; those interested in cross-
CD-ROM, on Mac and PC.
For those who wish to view the Japanese language feature of the show,
they need to have Japanese-font capability. However, the show is
programmed in such a way that a user without this capability can view
the entire show, minus the Japanese fonts. There is an English
subtitle, and also English voiceover, for the interviews.
Shigeru Miyagawa, Executive Producer of Star Festival and the Executive
Director of JP NET, received the Irwin Sizer Award in May 1995, for the
most significant improvement to MIT education.