Tohoku University

Project Description

From Sazae-san to Nana: A Longitudinal Study of the Images of Women as Represented in Postwar Japanese Anime

Project Abstract

Anime not only entertains audiences on the surface, it even stimulates audiences to work through certain contemporary issues in a way that older art forms cannot. In addition, Well (1998:23) has described Anime as a powerful means to understand contemporary Japanese society and culture, via the images, movements, story and language it contains. In this way, it may be like other media; such as advertising, movies, TV programs or music, which are often used as �text� for �decoding� societal structure and values. In this paper, I adopt the view that anime is a fruitful medium for capturing the prevailing issues that intersect our every day activities, as well as the shifting of images in a constantly changing society. As anime is a useful mirror into contemporary Japanese society, it may offer a path of insight for us to understand the reality or distortion of reality of the Japanese today. One of the claims of various studies have been that women in Japan have undergone great changes: in terms of both their possibilities and their (mediated) images since the end of World War 2 (Yonezawa; 1980: 12). One assumption in my work is that if anime is actually a reflection of the structure and values of society, then the changes of women images have undergone will certainly appear in anime, as well. Therefore, the overall aim of this paper is to analyze the content of anime in order to determine whether there have been changes in the images of women regarding Japanese since the beginning of (and through) the post war era. Finally, if there have been changes, then what kind of changes has been taken place.

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