Back in the early 1980s, Japan's ascendance seemed assured — there were a host of business books claiming that Japan had lost World War II, but won the peace through superior economic policies. Books like The Enigma Of Japanese Power by Karel Van Wolferen became unlikely bestsellers. Meanwhile, Japanese politicians like Ishihara Shintaro started flexing their muscles — Ishihara made waves with a book called No To Ieru Nihon, or The Japan That Can Say No (to the United States.)

But also, Japanese technology was clearly better, and Japanese pop culture looked cool. In the early 1980s, U.S. television started being flooded with anime programs like Robotech and Star Blazers0, and U.S. comics fans started discovering Manga. But the one-two punch of Blade Runner and Neuromancer was what settled it: for the next decade or so, Japan was how we viewed the future.

io9 - When Did Japan Stop Being The Future? - Blade Runner