Women and Anime: Popular Culture and its Reflection of Japanese Society – by Sean Boden

The full text can be read here http://www.nausicaa.net/miyazaki/essay/files/SeanBoden_WomenandAnime.pdf

Women and Anime: Popular Culture and its Reflection of Japanese Society.

What do the portrayal of women in Japanese animation as a form of popular culture reveal about the role of women in Japanese society today?

by Sean Boden

The first porblem I notice is this…

Through looking at how women are
portrayed in a broad sweep of Japanese animation over the last ten years or so, we can begin
to identify the role of women in contemporary Japanese society.

From this I can tell this essay will be a scratch on the surface of this Issue, 10 years is a long time to look at, especially when talking about anime. Which has multiple genres. This sentence is the equivalent of saying I am going to look at the representation of women in American films over the last 10 years. Nothing is defined, are we talking about comedy? Horror? Certificate PG? or Certificate 18? Then we get into the more complicated issues like translation of the text. However I think this short essay might lead me to other useful reading so I will stick with it.

Three texts will be analysed to discuss the representation of women in manga.

Kodomo no Omocha (1996) – With a female target audience
Dragon Ball Z (199?) – With a male target audience
Mononoke Hime (1997) – With both genders and all ages

My opinion is that the text needed to be clear from the outset we are not looking at the representation of women in ordinary anime but in anime aimed at quite childish audience. The target audience should be written as boy and girl instead of man an woman. This essay clearly won’t look at the sexualisation of women as the texts are aimed at 10 year olds. However I do not discredit it, but it won’t be relevant to me and maybe should have been more clear from the outset.

I am going to head straight from the bibliography and look for other references that will be of use.

Here are some texts used in this essay I will research more on:

D.P. Martinez (ed.) (1998), The Worlds of Japanese Popular Culture: Gender, Shifting
Boundaries and Global Cultures.
Amazon Book description:
Dolores Martinez heads an international team of scholars in this lively discussion of Japanese popular culture. The book’s contributors include Japanese as well as British, Icelandic and North American writers, offering a diversity of views of what Japanese popular culture is, and how it is best approached and understood. They bring an anthropological perspective to a broad range of topics, including sumo, karaoke, manga, vampires, women’s magazines, soccer and morning television. Through these topics – many of which have never previously been addressed by scholars – the contributors also explore several deeper themes: the construction of gender in Japan; the impact of globalisation and modern consumerism; and the rapidly shifting boundaries of Japanese culture and identity. This innovative study will appeal to those interested in Japanese culture, sociology and cultural anthropology.

Peter Milward (1980), Oddities in Modern Japan – Observations of an Outsider.
– This sounds as though it might double up as positioning myself as an outsider with the use of ‘Outsider’ in the title. No description available online though.

Jennifer Robertson (1998), Takarazuka: Sexual Politics and Popular Culture in Modern
-This book is more about theatre than photography. If I have time might be worth coming back to, but at the moment time is precious.

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