Depiction Of Japanese Culture In Anime And Manga

3537 words - 14 pages

(1) Entertainments such as books and movies are some of the main entertainment products for people to enjoy. That was the supposedly the primary purpose for their creation. However, there are more to them than simply as sources of entertainment. These entertainment products have long been used, not only for joy, but also for the spreading of the culture. In other words, entertainments are used as a soft power (Belkhyr, 2012, p. 704; Karademir, 2012, p. 634). Soft power is the power of attraction, as opposed to hard power, which is the power of force. This is important because soft power can make people become interested in Japan and thereby expand the nation’s influence. In many films, there is an apparent display of the culture such as the people’s lifestyles, beliefs, and perspectives. These stories are also popular throughout several countries, spreading the cultural values to other nations (Belkhyr, 2012, p. 705). For example, Disney’s Barbie represents the beauty and elegance that American feels, and this has caught the eyes of many Arab girls. Barbie was so popular in Arab that some consider the nation’s own Fulla doll to be the Muslim version of Barbie (Belkhyr, 2012, p. 710). The spreading resulted in some of the audiences becoming influenced by the values and meanings hidden within these cultural entertainments (Dilley, 2009, p. 49). This paper will discuss, in similar context, the effects of Japanese entertainments on the audiences. The paper will focus on the cultural elements depicted within Japanese anime and manga as well as their ability as Japan’s soft power.
(2) Japanese well-known product, anime and manga, have become increasingly popular throughout the whole world. Alverson (2013) has noted that in New York Comic Cons (New York Comic Convention), the number of people attending the event has been increasing since 2000 (p. 23). Exner (2012) also appreciates the fact that anime have become a mainstream form of entertainment (p. 28). So, what are they? In many people’s understanding, anime are Japanese cartoons and manga are Japanese comics. This belief is not wrong, but there are some fundamental differences that differentiate anime and manga from American comics and cartoons. Unlike comics which are mostly aimed at children, manga aim at audiences of various age and therefore have some genres that comics do not (Poitras, 2008, p. 49). This fact is also shown in the higher display of violence in anime than in Disney cartoons. Furthermore, in Disney stories like “Bugs,” there is a solid line separating who the good guys and bad guys are. In anime, however, it is harder to distinguish between the two (Disney VS anime, 2000, p. 22). Additionally, manga stories usually tell a single tale with several volumes whereas comics generally have one story per issue (Poitras, 2008, p. 49). As noted before, this type of Japanese entertainments is becoming increasing popular throughout the whole world and many scholars are recognizing so...

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