News that the original Famicom Nintendo game console, first released in 1983, is now being taught in Japanese social studies class has sent shockwaves throughout Japanese social media.
A post by Twitter user @moriteppei announcing the news received a stunning 32,000 re-Tweets:
六年生の子が「あ、ファミコンだ！」と言うので「その年で知らんだろ」と言ったら「知ってるよ！社会で習った」と言われる。 ＿人人人人人人人人人人人人＿ ＞ 社会で習った！ ＜ ￣Y^Y^Y^Y^Y^Y^Y^Y^Y^Y^Y￣ pic.twitter.com/RuTXMWW1q8
— 森哲平 (@moriteppei) May 6, 2015
My daughter is in the sixth grade. When she came across my old console she said “That's a Famicom!” I said, “You're way too young to have ever heard of a Famicom.” And she said, “Of course I know what that is. We learned about it in social studies class!”
WHAT? They're learning about Famicon in SOCIAL STUDIES CLASS???
The original Nintendo game console occupies a special place in Japanese pop culture.
Nearly 62 million of the pioneering electronic gaming consoles, called Famicom in Japanese and marketed as the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) in English-speaking countries, were sold around the world until production ceased in 1993.
For many Japanese adults in their forties who now have children of their own, the Famicom is a nostalgic reminder of childhood during the optimistic, booming “bubble” years of the affluent 1980s.
Even before @moriteppei's popular Tweet last month, other Twitter users were noticing Famicom's addition to elementary school textbooks in April, at the start of the school year in Japan.
— ゆり (@swingingYrtm) April 9, 2015
Yesterday my daughter brought home her new social studies textbook. In the section discussing how people lived life in the past there was a photo of kids playing a Famicom game. For kids these days, the Famicom is just part of how people lived once upon a time. It sure is nostalgic…
While parents were nostalgic, they also had to confront the fact that their own childhood in 1980s Japan now looks, from the perspective a child in 2015, “like an ancient relic”:
— かじか (@kajikatohituji) May 6, 2015
Wow, Famicom really is described in the Grade 3 textbook as “something from your mother and father's childhood.” I can't believe it. I suppose it was long ago, but the photo [in the textbook] makes the Famicom look like an ancient relic. I guess that's the 1980's looks like to us now.
— kga152 (@kga152) May 6, 2015
Kyoto-based Nintendo itself got its start in 1889 making playing cards for children.
Twitter user @azemin sums up the moment:
— azemin (@azemin) May 6, 2015
Famicom has entered the textbooks as a part of our history. I wonder if the people who grew up playing Nintendo may think it's all a little grandiose to treat Famicom with the same status as an historical figure. For elementary school kids, Famicom is not a toy, but something they have to study in school. What amazing times we live in.