(Government Promotion Video in Japanese)

The Ministry for Virtual Citizens: post-covid 19 speculation of civic services in digital realms

In summer 2020, amidst the covid pandemic, our team collaborated with Kyoto Design Lab to imagine post-covid futures in Japan-based contexts. With the accelerating normalization and adaptation of virtual communication and isolated workspaces, we present a near future with a shifting understanding of reality, etiquette, and technology.

In this future, where people simultaneously live in AFK (away from keyboard) and virtual worlds, there is no longer a clear border between the two realities. What is “real” varies across generations. An emerging Virtual Syndrome causes newer generations to struggle with differentiating what is virtual/organic/human based on pre-covid understandings.

The Digital Ministry of Japan contracts our team to establish civic service and communication frameworks to adapt to society’s digitalization. My role is to create graphic materials to raise discussions about the generational approaches to face virtual technologies.


speculative & communication Design


government services, e-etiquette, online natives, digital identification, virtual reality,


eriko hantani

Virtual Etiquette

In the near-future of Japan, realities are defined and regulated by the government.

The Digital Ministry promotes Virtual Etiquettes to prevent the national Virtual Syndrome from spreading. It is also an effort to promote "correct" use of current technologies and socialization norms. Printed and digital handbooks and posters are distributed across public spaces.

Some of the established etiquettes include the following:

  • Be respectful to your REAL beloved ones; turn off all your digital devices.
  • Be respectful to AI, but do not treat them as humans.
  • Breathe deeply, start mindfulness, after your long dive into the online world.
  • Virtual meetings are a sign of care and respect.
  • Transparency of your health data shows your integrity.

Promoted values include data transparency and learning virtual etiquettes that are considered as social norms

Virtual Identifcation Cards

Human & non-human, all virtual citizens will be identified

Virtual Identification Cards are mandatory for all residents, including non-human AI characters active in AFK or/and virtual worlds.

The card is also used to identify living civilians' health data, such as immunity to COVID-19. For virtual characters, they are shown to be immune to all diseases listed.

The Virtual Identification card identifies whether the holder is human or non-human

Agency Website

The government makes various policies related to the virtual world. Citizens can access official information through this website, such as recent news and the history of the agency.

The ministry website is responsible for providing information and resources related to all things digital