My subject is “Japanimation”, i.e animation made in Japan. Using film and video animation, I offer a critique of the situation of globalization as “Japanization”, and the notion of “techno-orientalism”. I focus on particularly on Mamoru Oshi’s works. His most recent film, “Ghost in the Shell”, was screened in many countries and he was interviewed by “Wired” and many other magazines. Three films, “Patlabor 1”, “Patlabor 2” and “Ghost in the Shell” will be used as examples. I will discuss the relation between “Japanimation” (Japanese pop culture) and the Japanese ideology (philosophy, religion and the Emperor system).
Intro: Japan as the Sub-Empire of Signs
The word Japanimation is a neologism that is made by two words, Japan+animation Now, Japanimation is seen in the whole world. And people outside Japan are Interested in the
Japanese subculture, including Manga and Japanimation, etc. If people once asked “What is ZEN?‘, then now people ask “What IS Otaku?‘. But I’ m very skeptical about this condition.
This phenomena is absolutly the effect of globalization, information capitalism. Under the Fordist economic system of the past, globalization meant nothing more than “Americanization,”
and media and entertainment were supplied by Disney animations. However, we must now consider seriously the fact that the post-fordist social environment of globalization will include
Japanimation and ponder its meaning. In other words, the strategy of this cultural movement is the effect of Sub-imperialism. According to Kuan-Hsing Chen, the sub-empire is a secondary dependent empire which has hegemony much more In culture and economy than in the military system. And this new verson of imperialism uses sub-culture in general. By analysing a Japanimation film I would like to illustrate and critisize Japan as the sub-empire of signs.
- Toshiya Ueno, Japan
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