Building on global advances in artificial emotional intelligence, Japanese companies have increasingly invested in developing social robots with capacities to express and evoke emotion. In some cases, they can even read the emotional expressions of human users. These efforts parallel a broader trend in state support for developing technological solutions to socioeconomic problems, such as social isolation and a deficit in care workers. The rise of companion robots has elicited excitement about potential futures of human–robot existence as well as concerns over data privacy and the loss of inter-human connection, embodying the dynamic emotional dimensions of Japan’s social transformation.

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