Second Renaissance Wikia

"Hey, Hey, Eva J! Why did you take our games away?" --Graffiti seen on the California Institute of the Arts campus

"That was the big misunderstanding a lot of people had about us during the war. We didn't hate America; we didn't want Japan to win. We just didn't want the war interfering with our ability to enjoy art and culture."

— Trevor Harrison, vintage comic collector and speaker at the 2059 San Diego Comic-Con panel "Comics Without Borders"

In the years leading up to World War III, relationships between Japan and the United States cooled considerably, due to Japan's open remilitarization and its much more obvious discrimination against Koreans and Chinese. This cultural rift manifested itself in a number of ways. For example, the Hiroshima museum was rebranded as the "Nuclear Warfare Museum", and more films about World War II were made that focusd on the Pacific theater. Although anti-Japanese sentiment never reached the fever pitch it did 100 years previously (there were, for instance, no internment camps), severe trade sanctions were still placed on Japan, and for a 10-year period spanning roughly 2045 to 2055 many Japanese products were essentially impossible to obtain legally in the United States.

In many cases this did not sit well with people who had grown up during a time when Japan was a close military and economic ally of the United States, and often fondly remembered Japanese exported products (TV series, video games, cars, etc.) as part of their earlier lives. This was the birth of the so-called "Honda Hippies": a loosely organized movement of people who opposed the US government's sanctions on non-war-related Japanese products.

The movement was particularly widespread on college campuses, with many universities having, for example, underground anime and manga clubs during the war years. However, a number of contemporary mainstream writers, especially of science-fiction and fantasy, also belonged to the movement. The movement was not limited to popular culture, either. Many car enthusiasts, upon learning of the sanctions, painstakingly repaired their old Japanese imports knowing that they would soon be considered rare and valuable. It should be noted that unlike the original hippies of the Vietnam war, they were not opposed to the war itself--indeed, most of them strongly supported it--but merely to what they saw as its unnecessary effect on civilian art and culture. The name "Honda Hippie" was first applied to the movement in the late 2040s as an insult, but during the war many members of the movement appropriated it for themselves, and it soon became more or less official.

 One of the first, and most famous, of the Honda Hippies was Carla Anderson, better known for later being elected as the first bisexual President of the United States in 2064. Her wife Heather Suzuki (herself the daughter of Japanese immigrants) was among those killed in the Thanksgiving attacks in 2051, and this was the catalyst for her complex feelings about the war. As Anderson later wrote in her autobiography,

"When something like this happens, we get tempted to take our anger out on the people responsible. I understood that; I even found myself feeling that way at times. But if Heather were still alive, she would never have tolerated me saying hateful things about her country. It's not the war itself that's the problem, but how it turns innocent civilians against each other too. That was what inspired me to enter politics, and to make sure that we didn't repeat the mistakes we made the last time we were at war. I did it thinking of Heather."

During her presidency, Anderson was instrumental in rebuilding close relationships with Japan, a process that had begun under Dan Forest.

When the war ended in 2055, the sanctions were lifted and trade, limited at first but eventually heavy, was resumed between the US and Japan. However, it was thanks to the Honda Hippies that many artifacts of the two nations' prewar relationship were able to survive. A similar, though much less widespread, phenomenon existed among American enthusiasts of Turkish culture. However since Turkey was not a major force of popular culture in the way that Japan was, these enthusiasts never had a collective name for themselves akin to the Honda Hippies.