Japan Anime Essay

Submitted By maxxboud
Words: 2814
Pages: 12

Social Constructionism and Global Identities: American Influences within the Japanese Anime Culture


The word anime simply refers to the representation of human ideas using animation (Shen pg. 12). Thus in anime, non-human characters who are a creation of the human mind are used to pass an ideology or ideas of different cultures. Animes of different nations compare greatly due the globalization of the industry of animation (She P. 17). Anime of particular countries if keenly compared to those of other countries shows a lot of resemblance in the manner in which they are created. Therefore, anime does not communicate just within the traditional context but borrows heavily from other traditions or cultures. It is indeed true that anime is enriched with Japanese cultural identities but it has more than this to teach us. This can be realize if a critical analysis of Japanese anime is done in a comparative manner to a country with a strong animation background like America. This way, we can in deed see the cultural and technological strings that lie in anime within different cultural contexts in the current world that has been recreated into a global village (boundless) (Shen p. 19). This paper shall present a critical analysis of how the Japanese anime has been influenced by America. This paper shall discuss the Japanese anime and American influence in it. The writer shall use different animes from America and compare them to those of Japan. The approach that this paper shall use is to discuss America anime cartoons such as Transformers, Voltron and Thunder cats, which are American specific animes, then discuss animes in the Japanese culture such as Dragon Ball Z, Cowboy Bebop, and Pokémon. After discussing these animes of the two countries, the writer shall then narrow down or choose only one anime from America and another one from Japan and analyze critically how they compare, showing how the American ideas were fused into the Japanese anime.

Historical Perspectives of Japanese Anime

Anime associates its birthplace same as all other cartoon forms: the Meiji era where there was a lot of exchange of technical and artistic knowledge between cultures from the West and Japan; the West here comprising of European and American cultures (Poitras p. 49). Animation arose from the constant flow of information and experiences within the three cultural perspectives. The pioneering forms of anime were quickly created commercial works that were shown to audiences in movie theatres alongside the main features (Poitras pg. 49). Poitras further says that the earliest of such animations was Oten Shimokawa’s “Mukuzo Imokawa, The Doorman” (49). This seminal work was produced in 1917 and the stage for many more likes to follow. Japan’s first animated feature film was produced in 1945 that was funded by the Imperial Navy for propaganda purposes. The animated feature film was called “Momotaro’s Divine Sea Warrior” and was aimed at uplifting the spirits of children in Japan in the aftermath of the destructive war.

How American ideas and perspectives have influenced Japanese perception of Anime
Japanese views about anime have been greatly influenced by Western Ideas about the same. Craig notes that anime and manga form the heart of Japanese pop culture (Craig p. 4-5) signifying the importance of the two artistic forms to the Japanese cultural and national psyche. Indeed, Japanese national identity over the last few decades has been forged in the crucible of cultural adversity where the culture of Japan is viewed in relational terms-Japan compared to Western cultures or to other countries in Asia (Iwabuchi pg. 7). It is instructive that Japan has always thus considered herself to be set apart from the rest of the world, be it from the global East in which she belongs at least in geographical terms as well as from the global West with whom there exists a wide cultural divide hence the natural apathy, again at least in