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Japanese fans were the first to notice that the exotic looking neon-green code scrolling down the black screen in the opening credits of the 1999 hit science fiction thriller The Matrix and its two sequels, commonly known as "Matrix digital rain," included mirror images of half-width Japanese katakana characters. The 1995 cyberpunk film Ghost in the Shell, a strong influence on The Matrix, features opening credits similar to the digital rain.
However, beyond that recognition, the code itself was always believed to have no particular meaning and was not rooted in any particular way to the Japanese language beyond that ... until now.
In a recent interview with CNET, Simon Whiteley, the British creator of The Matrix code who's now based at the Animal Logic animation and visual-effects studio in Sydney, revealed that the code had a real basis in an actual Japanese text:
As it turns out, Whiteley's wife is Japanese, and he scanned the Japanese text from one of her sushi cookbooks to begin the process of creating the code. Although he did not reveal precisely how he converted the text into the code displayed on the screen, perhaps die-hard Matrix fans will now have enough clues.
What remains to be seen is how many roes of cod need to be analyzed before the sauce is revealed...