Database for Animation Studies


Japanimation (Anime)’s Expressions and the Inside (Part 2): From Joon Yang Kim’s Empire of Images: Animation on Japanese Islands.

The following essay is a translation of part of Joon Yang Kim’s Empire of Images: Animation on Japanese Islands into Japanese. In the previous issue of the Japanese Journal of Animation Studies (2013, vol.15, no.1A) I translated Section 3 of Chapter 2 of the volume, “Japanimation (Anime)’s Expressions and Its Inside”, in which it is argued that Japanese animation has been influenced from traditional arts such as kabuki or emaki, and from the literary genres such as the shishosetsu (I-novel). In this essay, I will now turn to the following two Sections. Section 4, “Concerning the idea of the non-national”, discusses the discourses that claim anime to be essentially non-national. Post-industrial capitalism’s imperial will is seen to expand and reproduce the idea of the non-national, while Japan’s cultural hybridity is taken as being at the root of constructing a form of non-nationality. Section 5, “The Debate over the non-nationality of hair color (in anime)” looks at the question of “non-nationality” from the more concrete issue of the variety of hair colors of characters in anime. It goes on to argue that the use of different hair colors for Japanese characters does not result from the freedom of expression in animation, but rather can be interpreted as Japanese society’s subconscious pressure against the representation of Japanese people.

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