The green code in The Matrix is a collection of sushi recipes
It seems like everybody has seen The Matrix. The science fiction classic that exposed a mass audience to cyberpunk, virtual reality and the aesthetics of novels like Neuromancer, the film has attained a standing in our culture like no other. Its characters are instantly recognizable, and it's probably been parodied thousands of times. Neo, Morpheus, Trinity and Agent Smith are as well known as any film characters out there.
However, fans have been wondering for decades about the famous cascading green code scroll, the stream of digital letters, that opens the film, and has become synonymous with virtual reality and computer hacking to the mass consciousness of film-going audiences. What does that giant screen full of green letters actually say?
The iconic 'digital rain', upon close inspection, is not code or 1s and 0s or anything like that. It's actually an ordinary human language, and if you check out each character, any Japanese writer or speaker could tell you that the alphabet employed is a mixture of Japanese hiragana, katakana and kanji.
For those not familiar with the language, it has three distinct alphabets. Kanji is used the majority of the time, and are a series of over 5,000 complex characters used to represent most words. Kanji are made up of hiragana, which is a more basic way of sounding-out kanji words. Katakana, the last alphabet, is used for foreign words. So, what does the digital rain say?
Simon Whiteley, the production designer who worked on The Matrix, as well as a new Lego Ninjago Movie, has finally explained:
"I like to tell everybody that The Matrix's code is made out of Japanese sushi recipes," he told CNET. "Without that code, there is no Matrix."
It makes sense that the code would be in Japanese, and stand-in for sushi. The Wachowski siblings, who are the directors of The Matrix, are enormous fans of Japanese culture and anime. They even directed the Speed Racer film, out of their commitment to the genre. The Japanese cyberpunk aesthetic is also all over The Matrix. Novels that cover a primarily digital world usually use an East Asian setting, and The Matrix followed that lead.
However, Whiteley declined to say which recipes were actually encoded in the Japanese language! Were they good recipes? Could we translate them, and figure out ways of creating amazing new sushi we've never thought of before? Could there be a hidden sushi recipe to beat them all, that's just been in plain view for all these years, if we ever thought to look?
Someone who reads Japanese fluently should crack these codes, then open up a restaurant that sells Matrix sushi. I'm sure they could make a good living off it, and even have Keanu Reeves do some kind of PR for it, maybe sitting inside looking very sad, and if you cheer him up, you get a free platter of rolls.
What do you think? Are you surprised to find that The Matrix was made not of binary code, but Japanese sushi recipes, all along?