ANIMATION AND “OTHERNESS”: THE POLITICS OF GENDER, RACIAL, ANI) ETHNIC IDENTITY IN THE WORLD OF JAPANESE ANIME by KAORI YOSHIDA B.A., Seinan Gakuin University, 1992 M.Ed., Fukuoka University of Education, 1996 M.A., University of Calgary, 1998 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Asian Studies) THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA VANCOUVER August 26, 2008 © KAORI YOSHIDA, 2008 ABSTRACT In the contemporary mass-mediated and boundary-crossing world, fictional narratives provide us with resources for articulating cultural identities and individuals’ woridviews. Animated film provides viewers with an imaginary sphere which reflects complex notions of “self’ and “other,” and should not be considered an apolitical medium. This dissertation looks at representations in the fantasy world of Japanese animation, known as anime, and conceptualizes how media representations contribute both visually and narratively to articulating or re-articulating cultural “otherness” to establish one’s own subjectivity. In so doing, this study combines textual and discourse analyses, taking perspectives of cultural studies, gender theory, and postcolonial theory, which allow us to unpack complex mechanisms of gender, racial/ethnic, and national identity constructions. I analyze tropes for identity articulation in a select group of Disney folktale-saga style animations, and compare them with those in anime directed by Miyazaki Hayao. While many critics argue that the fantasy world of animation recapitulates the Western anglo-phallogocentric construction of the “other,” as is often encouraged by mainstream Hollywood films, my analyses reveal more complex mechanisms that put Disney animation in a different light. Miyazaki’s texts and their symbolic ambiguities challenge normalized gender and race/ethnic/nationality representations, and undermine the Western Orientalist image of the “Asian Other.” His anime also destabilize the West-East binary, by manifesting what Homi Bhabha calls a space “in-between”—a disturbance of the dominant system of identity categorizations. This suggests that media representation acts not only as an ideological tool that emphasizes conventional binaries (e.g. “Western”=masculine, “Oriental”feminine), but also as a powerful tool for the “other” to proclaim an alternative identity and potentially subvert dominant power structures. Miyazaki’s anime also reveal the process of Japan’s construction of both the West and the rest of Asia as “others,” based on the West-Japan-Asia power dynamic. I argue that this reflects Japan’s experience of being both colonizer and colonized, at different points in history, and that Japan also articulates “other” through anime to secure its national identity. My dissertation will contribute to the understanding of mechanisms of subjectivity construction in relation to visual culture. 11 TABLE OF CONTENTS Abstract ii Table of Contents iii List ofTables v List of Figures vi Acknowledgements ix Note to Readers x Introduction 1 Chapter 1: Identity Articulation in Media Fantasy 15 1.1. Identity Articulation through Media Narratives: reinforcing the dominant view 17 1.1.1. The subject as susceptible to the ideological apparatus of visual representation 17 1.1.2. Construction ofthe racial “Other”: Edward Said 21 1.1.3. The politics of vision and the articulation of “Self” and “Other” 25 1.1.4. Stereotyping: a strategy for creating raced and gendered “others” . . .28 1.1.5. The gendering/sexualizing of race and the construction of “yellowness” 29 1.2. The Subversive Power ofMedia Representations 33 1.2.1. Subversion by the “other”: power and resistance in liminal space . . ..34 1.3. Conscious Perception and the Embodied Experience of Visual Media 48 Chapter 2: Studies ofAnimation and Anime 53 2.1. The Development ofAnimation and Some of Its Characteristics 55 2.1.1. Definition of animation 55 2.1.2. The development of animation in the West 58 2.1.3. Animation as a myth-making tool 62 2.1.4. Subversive characteristics ofanimation: examples in the West 69 2.2. What is Anime9 73 2.2.1. The history of anime and anime research 74 2.2.2. Characteristics and types ofanime 76 2.2.3. Anime and the (re)articulation ofnational/racial identity 83 2.2.4. The role of the “shöjo” in gender/sexual identity articulation and its evolution 87 2.3. Anime as an “Other(’s)” Cultural Form 98 Chapter 3: Miyazaki Hayao’s Philosophy of Animation Aesthetics 99 3.1. The Foundation of Miyazaki’s Fantasy 101 3.2. Miyazaki’s Aesthetics (1): what is anime to him9 104 111 3.3. Miyazaki’ s Aesthetics (2): Miyazaki’ s Occidentalist and self-Orientalist views 118 3.4. The Reception ofAnime outside Japan and “Japaneseness” 128 Chapter 4: Western Orientalism & Japanese Occidentalism Aladdin, Nausicaä ofthe Valley ofthe Win and Porco Rosso 132 4.1. Aladdin (1992): manifestation ofclassic Western Orientalism 134 4.1.1. The Oriental “Other” as peril and domestication of the “Other” 140 4.1.2. The mechanisms of gendering, sexualizing, and racializing of the “other” 144 4.1.3. Color complex: embracing “whiteness” and posing as white 152 4.1.4. Can “parody” work?: difficulty in deconstructing “race” 155 4.2. Construction of the Western “Other” (1): Kaze no tani no Nausicaä (Nausicaä ofthe Valley ofthe Wind) (1984) 157 4.2.1. Representation ofthe Western “Other” in Nausicaã 160 4.2.2. Hybridization in the imaginary 167 4.2.3. Politics ofvision: the Western “Other” as a spectacle9 168 4.2.4. (Re)discovery of empowered women 170 4.3. Kurenai no buta (Porco Rosso) (1992) 174 4.3.1. Fantasy toward the Western “Other”: another form of Occidentalism 176 4.4. Persistence of Orientalism and Resistance ofOccidentalism 180 ChapterS: Pocahontas & Princess Mononoke: “Others” in Reconstructed History 184 5.1. Using History to Re-create the Nation’s “Other”: Pocahontas (1995) 184 5.1.1. Perpetuation ofwhite “Self” and “red (native) Other” 186 5.2. “Others” within “Traditional Japan” and the Exploitation of History: Mononoke hime (Princess Mononoke) (1997) 207 5.2.1. Representation of “others”: subversion of Orientalism and self-Orientalism 208 5.2.2. History as a site for subversion 217 Chapter 6: Western (Re)Orientalism and Oriental Orientalism- Mulan & SpiritedAway 232 6.1. Perception of“Yellowness”: Mulan (1998) 232 6.1.1. Re-inscribing the yellow “Other”: mythologizing and feminizing East Asia 234 6.2. Deconstruction and Reconstruction of Hierarchies: Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi (SpiritedAway) (2001) 252 6.2.1. Subversion of the Orientalist view ofthe East and West 254 6.2.2. Cultural hybridity & confusion ofnational identity 260 6.2.3. The mechanism ofvision in the spirit world: look & gaze 268 6.3. A Third Space: matrix of(re)Orientalism, Oriental Orientalism, and hybridized space for identity articulation 271 Conclusion: Can Japan Speak? 274 Bibliography 294 iv ASETU!PPlVU!SJO4OPO3!0ApUnsiaonsnqoUflJAJt,oIp3 SWIUVIJOISfl LIST OF FIGURES Figure 4.1. Jasmine’s perfect “hourglass figure,” Aladdin (Disney) 145 Figure 4.2. Jasmine’s seductive eyes toward Aladdin, Aladdin (Disney) 146 Figure 4.3. Jasmine’s seductive eyes toward Jafar, Aladdin (Disney) 146 Figure 4.4. Jafar (sordid skin tone), Aladdin (Disney) 148 Figure 4.5. Jafar and his cobra-headed scepter, Aladdin (Disney) 148 Figure 4.6. The sultan ofAgrabah, father of Jasmine, Aladdin (Disney) 150 Figure 4.7. The sultan put a clown costume by Jafar, Aladdin (Disney) 150 Figure 4.8. Shan Yu (the evil leader ofthe Runs), Mulan (Disney) 152 Figure 4.9. Aladdin, Aladdin (Disney) 155 Figure 4.10. Jasmine, Aladdin (Disney) 155 Figure 4.11. Razoul, Aladdin (Disney) 155 Figure 4.12. Tapestry in the opening sequence, Nausicaã ofthe Valley ofthe Wind (Studio Ghibli) 158 Figure 4.13. Tapestry in the opening sequence, Nausicaã ofthe Valley ofthe Wind (Studio Ghibli) 158 Figure 4.14. Nausicaä riding on the flying device “mehve,” Nausicaã ofthe Valley ofthe Wind(Studio Ghibli) 161 Figure 4.15. The Giant God Soldier (kyoshinhei), Nausicaä ofthe Valley ofthe Wind (Studio Ghibli) 163 Figure 4.16. Nausicaä collecting poisonous spores, Nausicaä ofthe Valley ofthe Wind (Studio Ghibli) 163 Figure 4.17. NausicaA’s laboratory, Nausicaã ofthe Valley ofthe Wind (Studio Ghibli) 163 Figure 4.18. Nausicaa’s resurrection in the golden meadow, Nausicaä ofthe Valley ofthe Wind(StudioGhibli) 164 Figure 4.19. Nausicaä in the battle with invaders who murdered her father, Nausicaä ofthe Valley ofthe Wind (Studio Ghibli) 172 Figure 5.1. Leaves swirling around Pocahontas and Smith, Pocahontas (Disney) 190 Figure 5.2. Shishigami (Forest God) during day, Princess Mononoke (Studio Ghibli) 209 Figure 5.3. The Lake ofShishigami, Princess Mononoke (Studio Ghibli) 209 Figure 5.4. Grotesque tatarigami transformed from a boar, Princess Mononoke (Studio Ghibli) 215 Figure 5.5. Shishigami (daytime) close-up, Princess Mononoke (Studio Ghibli) 215 Figure 5.6. Shishigami (night time), Princess Mononoke (Studio Ghibli) 215 Figure 5.7. San’s mouth covered with blood, Princess Mononoke (Studio Ghibli) 223 Figure 5.8. Storyboard descriptions of San, Princess Mononoke: The Original Storyboard 223 Figure 6.1. Captain Shang’s action and body, Mulan (Disney) 236 Figure 6.2. Chi Fu, the councilor, Mulan (Disney) 238 Figure 6.3. Dr. Fu Manchu, Mulan (Disney) 238 Figure 6.4. Chi Fu’s mannerisms: going to bathe, Mulan (Disney) 239 Figure 6.5. Feminized Chi Fu: scared by panda, Mulan (Disney) 239 vi Figure 6.6. Figure 6.7. Figure 6.8. Figure 6.9. Figure 6.10. Figure 6.11. Figure 6.12. Figure 6.13. Figure 6.14. Figure 6.15. Figure 6.16. Figure 6.17. Figure 6.18. Figure 6.19. Figure 6.20. Figure 6.21. Figure 6.22. Figure 6.23. Figure 6.24. Figure 6.25. Figure 6.26. Figure 6.27. Figure 6.28. Figure 6.29. Figure 6.30. Figure 6.31. Figure 6.32. Figure 6.33. Figure 6.34. Figure 6.35. Figure 6.36. Figure 6.37. Figure 6.38. Figure 6.39. Figure 6.40. Figure 6.41. Figure 6.42. Figure 6.43. Childish behavior of Chien-Po, Ling, Yao, Mulan (Disney) 240 The gang ofthe three disguised as women, Mulan (Disney) 241 Close-up ofLing disguised, Mulan (Disney) 241 Mushu, the dragon, as a caricature of Chinese tradition (or Asia), Mulan (Disney) 246 Woman dressed as Disney’s Mulan at Plaza Inn, Hong Kong Disneyland 251 Dessert at Plaza Inn restaurant: Mickey Mouse jelly 251 Dessert at Plaza Inn restaurant: Mickey Mouse pastry 251 Dessert at Plaza Inn restaurant: Mickey Mouse steamed buns 251 Domineering manager, Yubaba 253 Yubaba’s jewelry symbolizing materialism, Spirited Away (Studio Ghibli) 253 Chihiro’s father as a pig, SpiritedAway (Studio Ghibli) 254 An extravagant amount of food eaten by Kaonashi, SpiritedAway (Studio Ghibli) 255 People eaten by Kaonashi at the bathhouse, Spirited Away (Studio Ghibli) 255 Yubaba’s baby, BO, SpiritedAway (Studio Ghibli) 256 BO devouring candies and chocolates, Spirited Away (Studio Ghibli) - 256 Bö’s room, SpiritedAway (Studio Ghibli) 257 Trompe-l’oeil, similar to Bö’s room, SpiritedAway (Studio Ghibli) 257 Haku, the dragon, SpiritedAway (Studio Ghibli) 257 Haku in human form, SpiritedAway (Studio Ghibli) 258 Haku in dragon form, wounded, SpiritedAway (Studio Ghibli) 258 A dragon on the ceiling at Tenryti-ji Temple from Tenryu-ji pamphlet 258 Kasuga-sama, SpiritedAway (Studio Ghibli) 260 Gods like legendary “Namahage,” Spirited Away (Studio Ghibli) 260 Gods ofbirds, SpiritedAway (Studio Ghibli) 260 Gods with antlers, SpiritedAway (Studio Ghibli) 260 Radish spirit, SpiritedAway (Studio Ghibli) 261 Grumbling heads as Yubaba’s servants, SpiritedAway (Studio Ghibli) 261 Mr. Kamajii, SpiritedAway (Studio Ghibli) 261 Employees at the bathhouse, SpiritedAway (Studio Ghibli) 261 Employees at the bathhouse, SpiritedAway (Studio Ghibli) 261 Red motif of the bathhouse, architecture, SpiritedAway (Studio Ghibli) 262 Exterior of the bathhouse, SpiritedAway (Studio Ghibli) 262 Kaonashi, SpiritedAway (Studio Ghibli) 263 Korean mask (woman shaman) 263 River God, SpiritedAway (Studio Ghibli) 263 Korean mask (old gentleman) 263 Stink God in the bath, SpiritedAway (Studio Ghibli) 266 A girl standing at the train station, Spirited Away (Studio Ghibli) 268 vi’ Figure 6.44. Buddha looking at Chiniro, Spirited Away (Studio Ghibli) 269 Figure 6.45. Icons of“eyes” on billboard, SpiritedAway (Studio Ghibli) 269 Figure 6.46. Signs using “eyes,” SpiritedAway (Studio Ghibli) 269 Figure 6.47. An big eye on the screen, SpiritedAway (Studio Ghibli) 269 Figure 6.48. An eye sticker on the luggage An eye sticker on the luggage 269 Figure 6.49. Murakami Takashi’s “Jelly Fish”2001 270 Figure 6.50. Chihiro’s vanishing body, SpiritedAway (Studio Ghibli) 271 Figure 6.51. Chihiro’s vanishing hands, SpiriredAway (Studio Ghibli) 271 Figure 6.52. Ghostly figures in the train, SpiritedAway (Studio Ghibli) 271 viii ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I owe particular thanks to Dr. Sharalyn Orbaugh, my supervisor and mentor, for keeping me inspired with her insightful questions and observations. If it were not for her academic advice as well as mental support, this dissertation would have never been completed. To my dissertation committee members, Dr. Stephen Kline and Dr. Hyung Gu Lynn, as well as my research committee member, Dr. Mary Lynn Young, I offer deep gratitude for enriching my vision in the field. I offer my enduring gratitude to the faculty, staff and my fellow graduate students at Asian Studies in UBC, who have supported me to continue my project. Special thanks are owed to my parents, who have supported me throughout my years of education academically, mentally and financially. I would also like to extend my gratitude to my inspiration Mark MacKinnon for always believing in me. To my friends Rupa Bagga, Motoko Tanaka, Kevin Tan, Maiko Behr, Yuuki Hirano, Douglas Lanam, and especially Nick Hall— thanks for encouraging me to finish my project. Last but not least, I acknowledge a Pacific Bridge Award granted by the Centre for Japanese Research, UBC to support this project. ix NOTE TO READERS I would like to note that despite my attempts, I was not able to obtain permission to use pictures whose copyrights are held by The Walt Disney Company and by Kaikai Kiki Co. Ltd. As you read through this dissertation, you will notice that pictures that are supposed to aid readers are unfortunately removed and replaced by squares with their descriptions. It is my hope that you will find these descriptions reasonable substitutes. x Introduction It [the past] is always constructed through memory, fantasy, narrative and myth. Cultural identities are the points ofidenflhlcation, unstable points of identWcation or suture, which are made, within the discourses ofhistory and culture. Not an essence but a positioning. 1 —Stuart Hall, “Cultural Identity and Diaspora” Thus it is that no group ever sets its4fup as the One without at once setting up the Other over against itsef..2 — Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex The expression of a duality of the self and the other, as Simone de Beauvoir claims in The Second Sex, is as primordial as consciousness itself, and is regarded as a primary category ofhuman thought.3 Theorists from various fields, including phenomenology, psychoanalysis, gender studies, and postcolonialism, have revealed a dialectical process of identity formation involving interaction with the outside world and other people. In other words, the world around us is made meaningful through our relations with others. Hence, as both quotations above suggest, “self’ is constituted intersubjectively through attraction and repulsion, where one’s identity keeps changing according to socio-cultural and historical conditions. Maurice Merleau-Ponty rightly encapsulates this rapport between self and other, stating: “There is no inner man; man is in the world, and only in the world does he know himself.”4 ‘Stuart Hall, “Cultural Identity and Diaspora,” in Identity: Community, Culture, Difference, ed. Jonathan Rutherford (London: Lawrence & Wishart, 1990), p. 226. 2 Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex (New York: A. Knopf, 1953), p. xxiii. Beauvoir, p. xxii. Merleau-Ponty, The Phenomenology ofPerception, trans. Cohn Smith (London and New York: Routledge, 1962), p. xi. 1 What needs to be stressed is that one’s recognition of“Self’ through interaction with others is carried out based on the construction ofthe imaginary “Other,” which often derives from power differentiations. In this mechanism, our perceptions—even our history and memories—are socially constructed. And it is, as Stuart Hall claims, through fantasy and myth that such a mechanism operates effectively to generate narratives that favor the dominant group in society. These fantasies are constantly produced and maintained through production and consumption of popular media products that represent certain identities as privileged over others. This conceptualization is practiced typically in Orientalist discourse, in which the West represents the East as “a place of romance, exotic beings, haunting memories and landscapes, remarkable experiences,”5through media representations including novels, poems, and films. In this fashion, Orientalists place and maintain Western subjectivity as dominant over the East, creating a dichotomous, unequal power relationship through which the Western “Self’ and the Eastern “Other” are fixed. In an age of globalization, when “more persons throughout the world see their lives through the prism of the possible lives offered by mass media in all their forms,”6encounters with distant others become commonplace, and more and more media products, producers, and ideas flow across national/cultural boundaries. Technological development has also allowed us to experience “otherness” on theater and television screens. It is, however, important to stress that under these circumstances identifying specific cultural identities becomes more difficult; on the other hand, this phenomenon of boundary-crossing has also lead to a trend towards cultural protectionism. Edward Said, Orientalism (New York: Vintage Books, 1994), p. 1. oj Appadurai, Modernity at Large: Cultural Dimensions ofGlobalization (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1996), pp. 53-54. 2 Walt Disney, one of the leading purveyors of globally consumed media in the form of animation, has often been criticized for media imperialism, coined “Disneyfication.” Though small in number, some of Disney’s animated features have nonetheless significantly contributed to re-making both “history” and the present with the result of securing the position ofthe “rational West.” The production and worldwide consumption of fantasies based on storytelling encourage an unceasing desire and fascination for the “Other”—a longing for what the white order has lost, and thereby animation plays a significant role in the construction of both central and marginal identities. In this respect, following the notion of Aithusser’s notion of “ideological state apparatuses,”7it can be argued that popular media, including Disney animation and Hollywood films, function as one of these apparatuses that potentially prescribe ideologies beneficial to groups in power, which work as a vehicle to articulate other individuals’ subjectivities as well. Exploiting the system of media representations by the stereotyping, exclusion, and degrading of “other” people and cultures, the white male subject can pervade the narrative of”nonnal” perceptions. Simultaneously, these dominant perceptions and stereotypes can also be subverted by media representations, through exaggeration of stereotyped images or the overturning of presumed roles in society. Amid increasing cultural globalization coupled with technological advances, the success of popular media created in Asia or by female producers has enabled previously marginal groups to become prominent, even capable of challenging Anglo-male-centered aesthetic standards. This subversion of the dominant is plausible partly because of viewers’ increasingly critical examination of previously unquestioned popular texts, and partly via the voice of academic criticism. It also stems ‘ Louis Aithusser, Lenin and Philosophy and Other Essays (London: New Left Books, 1971). 3 from the limitation of dominant meaning, since the same text can be interpreted differently by viewers from different cultural backgrounds.8 With this knowledge, a key question is how exactly narratives created in fictional reality, reflecting and constructing our worldly reality, corroborate the (re)articulation of “differences,” in the process of constructing selfhood vis-à-vis otherness. Answers to this question should aid in better understanding the complexities of identity politics and power dynamics that are reflected in popular media, based on the premise that identity is not an autonomous configuration but defined through a socially interactive process. Various media are engaged in the issue of identity politics. Film, particularly animated film, offers a contested site for identity formation, by means of its techniques to create “reality,” and its form of expression—story telling—which provides wide audiences with the resources for narrative-creation that can foster collective identities, for persons and groups attempt to relate to other people or integrate ideas partly taken from media in order to articulate their own identities. For this reason, this study is concerned with a better understanding of the mechanisms linking intended meaning in animated texts and articulation of cultural identities. Animation has long been associated with Disney, yet for the last twenty to thirty years, other studios in North America and Asia have emerged on the global scene. Anime, Japanese animation, has become a particularly strong rival to Disney, and has emerged as a potential challenge to dominant Western aesthetics and ideologies. In order to explicate different aspects of identity articulation through anime, I analyze specific works by 8 See Stuart Hall, “Presentation and Media.” Lecture at The University of Westminster, videotaped by Sut Jhally (The Meida Education Foundation, 1997); len Mg, Watching Dallas (London: Methuen, 1985); David Morley, The Nationwide Audience: Structure and Decoding (London: British Film Institute, 1980); Tamar Liebes & Elihu Katz, The Export ofMeaning: Cross-Cultural Reading ofDallas (Cambridge: Polity Press, 1993). 4 Miyazaki Hayao, who consciously responds to trends in Western animation, and compare these works with those of Walt Disney. Both producers are renowned in the global market, and present different narrative and visual representations that can either reinforce or manipulate viewers’ preconceived notions of cultural identities. In order to lay the foundation of my study, Chapter 1 maps out a theoretical framework to provide a deeper understanding of the construction of “selfhood” and “otherness,” with attention to issues of genderization and racialization involved in media representations. Discussions in this chapter focus on works that analyze representations of the Orient, and the notions of “Asiaxmess,” or more specifically, “yellowness.” Also cited are classical postcolonial works, such as those of Edward Said and Frantz Fanon,9 specifically tying their arguments to popular visual culture. Although Said’s concept of Orientalism may seem somewhat dated for describing contemporary circumstances, it provides an important starting point for approaching the structure of fantasy and power dynamics in the creation of animation. The discussion of self/other further incorporates a postcolonial feminist perspective to introduce the gendered representation of race and racialized representation of gender. Theories discussed in the following chapter explicate the ways that people use narratives in the process of articulating their own subjectivities. These allow us to speculate that media narratives would have a significant effect on the way viewers/readers understand themselves and others. This provides a vital tool for discussions in later chapters. In addition, the integration of a phenomenological perspective on the animation viewing experience provides a more comprehensive understanding of the interrelation Said, Orientalism. Also see Frantz Fanon, Black Skin, White Masks (New York: Grove Press, 1967). 5 between animators, text and viewer. This view derives from Vivian Sobchack’s idea that one’s subjectivity is constructed not necessarily through the unconscious but rather in a conscious, self-reflective manner through film experience. Among various film works, animation is particularly important in the discussion of identity politics, though it has rarely been taken seriously, and is often written off as only meant for children and therefore too transparent to be studied in a scholarly way. This view is rooted in a close association of animation with the traditional notion of “childhood” in the West as a sphere dissociated from politics. On the contrary, however, the notion of “childhood” is itself a socio-political construct, and therefore even children’s media can be heavily influenced by the intentions of cultural producers and authorities. Hence, whether it is touted as targeting children or not, animation should be understood as a medium of expression that projects adults’ political, economic and moral concerns, while playing with the notion of “childhood.”0As Henry Giroux describes, animation is “a sphere where entertainment, advocacy, and pleasure meet to construct conceptions of what it means to be a child occupying a combination of gender, racial, and class positions.”11 This suggests that animation is a form of ideologically-loaded text that influences and is influenced by people’s worldviews, and that therefore it is often associated with cultural imperialism or cultural resistance. The idea of animation as an ideological apparatus that reinforces 10 characterize animation as a “medium” rather than a genre, because of its distinctive characteristics in terms ofcodes, grammer, and ways ofgenerating messages, as described by Paul Wells in Understanding Animation (London: Routledge, 1998); Thomas Lamarre in “From Animation to Anime: Drawing Movements and Moving Drawings,” in Japan Forum 14: 2 (2002); and Joanna Bouldin in “Bodacious Bodies and the Voluptuous Gaze: A Phenomenology ofAnimation Spectatorship,” in Animation Journal 8:2 (Spring 2000). I will explain the distinction between medium and genre, as well as between animation and anime as different media in Chapter 2. Henry Giroux, in “Animating Youth: the Disnification of Children’s Culture,” says this in regard to children’s culture in general, but the statement is applied to animation because of its association with children’s culture. (see this article at http://www.gseis.ucla.edu/courses/ed253a/GfrouxlGfroux2.html) (accessed on September 20, 2006) Likewise, consideration of children’s culture as an adult institution and as a means of pursuing adult politics is discussed intensively in Stephen Kline’s “The Making of Children’s Culture” in The Children Culture Reader, ed. Henry Jenkins (New York: New York University Press, 1998). 6 dominant perceptions has been addressed in a multitude of critical analyses of Disney animation since Dorfman and Mattelart’s How to Read Donald Duck in 1975, which claimed that Disney’s animation industry manifests the dissemination of American ethnocentric ideology.’2 Chapter 2 first discusses more specific characteristics of animation which facilitate its function as an ideological apparatus: animation’s myth-making and its morphotic nature, both ofwhich contribute to the articulation of cultural identities. As Dorfman and Mattelart, as well as others suggest, with its narrative and visual representations, Disney’s myth-making has contributed significantly to maintaining unequal power relationships between Anglo-America and the rest of the world. In addition, meanings and perceptions provided through animation narratives also potentially influence the global audience both in front of and away from the screen, through the synergetic business model which, initiated by Disney, extends animated fantasy to such products as stationery, T-shirts and mugs. Through this breakdown of the divisions between entertainment and material consumption, Disney has contributed to disseminating pleasure as well as ideologies through the animation industry. Another characteristic that makes animation a more effective vehicle for ideology production lies in its form of expression—its “morphotic” quality that is clearly distinct from that of live-action films. This quality essentially distances the animated world from physical reality, which challenges perceived views of space and time, creating a 12 Ariel Dorfman and Armand Mattelart, How to Read Donald Duck: Imperial1st Ideology in the Disney Comic, trans. David Kunzle (New York: International General, 1975). I acknowledge that there are many other aspects to animation beyond its function as an ideological conveyor, and others have examined this cultural form in different lights. However, in this dissertation my discussion of animation focuses on its function as a vehicle that is capable of transmitting ideologies to a significant degree, ideologies that potentially influence viewers’ perceptions of the world around them. 7 “metaphysical reality,”3and thus allows creators to express their ideas and intentions more flexibly than through live-action films or conventional photography. The flexibility allows creators to project their intentions effectively, and translates to a greater potential to destabilize ideological orthodoxies. This makes it possible to practice either manner of media representation: reinforcing dominant ideologies or subverting them—myth-making or demythologizing. On the basis of these observations, the chapter then moves to discussions of the characteristics and development of anime, which shares the abovementioned qualities of animation, but shows differences in its role as a vehicle for cultural identity configuration. The historical trajectory of anime is outlined, including technological developments influenced by Western sources and other art forms from different cultures, which have been appropriated into the Japanese context, showing the hybridized nature of anime.14 In the process of its development, anime has been often positioned in relation to its Western counterparts, particularly Disney productions, in terms of representations, aesthetics, or position in the global market. While Disney’s animation studio has faltered lately, anime has emerged on the global stage with remarkable success to rival the Disney Empire. The potential of anime’s success was anticipated as early as 1953 by Imamura Taihei, a leading Japanese motion picture critic: The animated cartoon has made little progress except in America, but the popularity of Disney films.. ..gives reason to hope that there will be a world-wide development in the field of animation.... Whether we like it or not, traditional art must be the foundation of a truly Japanese animated ‘ Thomas Hoffer identifies live-action film as presenting physical reality, and animation as metaphysical reality in Animation: A Reference Guide (Westport: Greenwood Press, 1981), p. 3. 14jlm A. Lent, “Introduction,” in illustrating Asia: Comics, Humor, Magazines and Picture Bookr, ed. John A Lent (Honolulu: University of Hawai’I Press, 2001), p. 5. 8 cartoon. . . . It has been pointed out by S. M. Eisenstein that ancient Japanese art has characteristics closely related to those of the animated cartoon and employs similar methods.15 Japan’s first animation was released in 1917, but the industry really began to come into its own with the establishment of Toei Animation Studio in 1956, followed by Japan’s first feature length color animation: Hakujaden (Panda and the Magic Serpent) in 1958,16 and since the 1980s anime has been one of Japan’s most important cultural exports. In this study, anime is understood to mean more than simply “Japanese animation,” referring specifically to Japanese animations that have been distributed to theatres and TV stations worldwide, especially since the 1 980s and 1 990s. Anime has provided a significant influence on the global cultural arena in artistic, economic, and political terms. It manifests the complexities of Japan, particularly in relation to the West and other Asian countries in the midst of globalization, and therefore it is a major site for identity articulation. These aspects indicate that anime needs to be studied as a medium distinct from animation. Some critics even distinguish anime from a similar term, Japanimation, which was mainly used to refer to earlier Japanese animation that was exported abroad until around the 1 970s) As mentioned above, because of similarities and differences between them, Japanese animation has often been viewed as influenced by, contrasted with, or resistant to its Western counterpart. Walt Disney was born at the right moment to explore the potential 15 Imamura Taihei, “Japanese Art and the Animated Cartoon,” trans. Fuyuichi Tsuruoka, in The Quarterly of Film Radio and Television 7:2 (1953), p. 217. This article is to appear as chapter in Imamura’s Manga eiga-ron (Theory of Animated Film) (Tokyo: Iwanami, 1992). 16Hakujaden produced by Yabushita Yasushi, was the inspiration for the well-known Japanese animator Miyazaki Hayao to become an animator. This is one ofthe first works of Japanese animation exported abroad. See Miyazaki Hayao, Shuppatsuten (Starting Point) (Tokyo: Studio Ghibli, 1996), p. 44. This anime is inspired by a Chinese folktale where a young Chinese boy falls in love with a beautiful girl who possesses strange and mysterious powers. It is therefore interesting to note that early anime was afready representing the Asian “other” fifty years ago. ‘‘ See Otsuka Eiji and Osawa Nobuaki, Japanimëshon wa nazeyabureruka (Why Japanimation Will Fail) (Tokyo: Kadokawa shoten, 2005), p. 8. 9 ofmedia technologies and business models, as well as to expand the genre ofanimation, and he essentially laid the groundwork for his followers, including the two biggest anime creators in Japan: Tezuka Osamu (1928—89) and Miyazaki Hayao (1941—). In particular, anime works by Miyazaki, sometimes referred to as the “Walt Disney of Japan,” provide intriguing insights because of their similarities and differences with those of Disney.’8 Miyazaki’s animated films have been critically renowned since the mid 198Os, and serve as an alternative to Disney in the world of animation, as well as providing a new subgenre distinguished from other types of anime (such as cyberpunk science fiction, mecha anime, and so on). The popularity of Miyazaki’ s anime has been phenomenal both inside and outside Japan, as demonstrated by his receiving the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film in 2003, followed by the Golden Lion Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2005. What is perhaps the most marked aspect ofMiyazaki’s recent works, besides their popularity, is their sense of ambiguity that serves as a resource for viewers’ identity work, or their particular configuration of “self’ and “other,” especially in representations of gender and ethnicity. A close examination ofMiyazaki’s works therefore demonstrates how anime can subvert the dominant Western discourse, specifically the Orientalist worldview, which has been and still is influencing ways that anime is produced and how it aids in forming cultural identities. While there have been more and more studies in the field of anime recently, many of them analyze it as a product, providing descriptions of genres of anime, or the overall characteristics of this medium. While these are useful, such analyses are not sufficient to understand the mechanism of identity construction 18 It should be noted that the focus of my analyses is animated films, not TV animation. Also, I am focusing here on animated products aimed at and marketed to children. Therefore, animations such as The Simpsons and South Park produced in North America will not be discussed in my study. 10 through representation in anime. There has not been much close analysis of the texts of specific anime, certainly not to the extent that Disney animations have been studied. While there are a number ofanimation studios and directors in both Japan and North America, as well as a variety of subgenres, the present dissertation focuses on a particular group ofworks produced by Miyazaki Hayao and Walt Disney (through Walt’s successors), in order to explicate how Miyazaki influences the way his studio creates “identity” in its animated works, as well as the linkage between identities circulated in anime narratives and the articulation of cultural identities.’9 Auteurs such as Miyazaki and Disney have the role of privileged storyteller, thereby making this linkage particularly effective. In this respect, both Miyazaki and Disney set out to produce an “animated folklore” using cinematic animation as the primary form, in order to provide the viewer with resources for articulating cultural identities: stories that explore explicitly what it means to be “American” in Disney’s and “Japanese” in Miyazaki’s productions. For this purpose, among a great range of styles, techniques, and subgenres, my study examines animated features that employ saga storytelling, because this subgenre explicitly manifests cultural identities through narrative and visual representations. My analyses look specifically at animated films produced from the 1 980s to the early 2000s, a period of intensive cultural globalization that has brought about difficulty in defining cultural/group identity. They attempt to show how representations of”othemess” (in gender and ethnicity) have changed or remained the same in Disney’s animated folklore since Dorfman and Mattelart’s study in the 1970s, and how Miyazaki’s work in the same subgenre contributes 19 While acknowledging that the Disney animations examined in the following chapters were produced in the 1990s under the supervision ofMichael Eisner, who holds different political visions from Walt Disney, I argue that there exist strong continuities between the early animated works of Disney and their successors of the last decade. 11 to the construction of”otherness.” Disney animations have certainly developed a more empowering representation of”otherness,” for example, by using sarcasm that potentially challenges dominant ideologies or by using different cultures as the subject of narrative. My analyses also attempt to show how “otherness” is represented by Miyazaki’s animated folklore as well. In order to lay bare the complex mechanisms of cultural identity articulation, I closely analyze specific animated films from both Disney and Miyazaki in an attempt to answer the question of how representations in animated fantasy of this subgenre contribute to the construction of notions of “self’ and “other.” The animation texts analyzed in the case studies are ones that demonstrate gendered/sexualized or racialized “otherness”: Disney’s Aladdin, Mulan and Pocahontas, and Miyazaki’s Nausicaa ofthe Valley ofthe Wind Porco Rosso, Princess Mononoke, and Spirited Away, all of which are globally distributed. I also take into account the historical and social aspects of their production, as well as critiques and reviews of these films, which also contribute to the discourse of the fantasy world. My analysis is also specifically concerned with two kinds of cultural identities: gender and ethnicity/nationality. I build my argument upon existing theories and studies on the construction of “self’ and “other,” with approaches from feminist film theory, postcolonial theory and cultural studies.2° These theories share the premise that “self’ and 20 My sources include psychoanalytic analyses such as Laura Mulvey’s “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema” Screen 26: 3 (1975); Mary Ann Doane’s “Dark Continents: Epistemologies of Racial and Sexual Difference in Psychoanalysis and the Cinema,” in Femmes Fatales (New York: Routledge, 1991); Ann Kaplan’s Women & Film: Both Sides ofthe Camera (London and New York: Routledge, 1983); postcolonial and cultural studies such as Edward Said’s Orientalism (Harmondswarth: Penguin, 1978); bell hooks’ “Representing Whiteness in the Black Imagination,” in Cultural Studies, eds. Lawrence Grossberg, Cary Nelson, and Paula A. Treichler (New York: Routledge, 1992); Trinh T. Minh-ha’s Woman, Native, Other: Writing Postcoloniality and Feminism (Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1989); Rey Chow’s Writing Diaspora (Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1993); Richard Dyer’s 12 “other” are constantly shifting concepts, and that the construction of “otherness” involves “the complex processes and channels through which representations flow in different directions,”2’which includes both physical and psychological aspects of human consciousness. In Chapter 3 I introduce the philosophies of fantasy creation and worldviews of Miyazaki Hayao and other popular anime directors, comparing them with those of Walt Disney and his Disney Corporation. Knowing how these globally recognized animation directors see the world will help better understand their representations of “difference” and “otherness” in the texts that will be discussed in the subsequent case study chapters. Following the discussion of the directors’ views of animation, in Chapters 4, 5, and 6 I analyze specific animation texts, along with their production contexts. These chapters examine in greater detail how “otherness” is constructed by Disney and Miyazaki animations in different contexts, particularly focusing on the genderization and racialization of the “other.” Chapter 4 is concerned with analysis of the Saidian Orientalist representation of the “Oriental other” constructed by Disney’s Aladdin (1992), in comparison with how the East constructs the “West” or “occidentalizes” it, by analyzing Miyazaki’s Nausicaä ofthe Valley ofthe Wind (1984) and Porco Rosso (1992). In Chapter 5, I focus on how the “Other” is constructed within a country by playing with its national history. For this purpose, I examine Disney’s Pocahontas (1995) and Miyazaki’s Princess Mononoke (1997). In Chapter 6, I provide insights into the construction of “Asia” by both the West and Japan. The chapter demonstrates a Western (re)construction of the Eastern The Matter ofImages: Essays on Representations (London: Routledge, 1993); and Stuart Hall’s “New Ethnicities,” in Stuart Hall: Critical Dialogues in Cultural Studies, eds. David Morley and Kuan-Hsing Chen (London and New York: Routledge, 1996). 21 Elizabeth Hallam & Brian V. Street, Cultural Encounters: Representing ‘otherness’ (London and New York: Routledge, 2000), p. 6. 13 “Other” in Disney’s Mulan (1998) (which supposedly attempts to defy Orientalist stereotypes but ends up re-inscribing them), and juxtaposes this with an examination of Miyazaki’s SpiritedAway (2001), which reveals the Orient “othering” another “Orient.” I analyze Spirited Away not only as subverting the Orientalist discourse, but also as a manifestation of a hybridized and ambiguous space, which destabilizes the concept of “identity” itself much more obviously than other works by Miyazaki. In addition, all the protagonists but Chihiro (Spirited Away) in these works are categorized as “princesses,”22 albeit with significantly different depictions of their “princess-ness.” It is neither my intention to demonize Walt Disney or Disney animation, as many critics have, nor to judge Miyazaki’s works entirely in a positive light. Instead of simply polarizing Disney and Miyazaki’s animations based on differences between them, the goal of this study is to enrich our understanding of how these auteurs are creating narratives that frame collective identities. Although I acknowledge that viewers do not necessarily identify with the identities produced, I also integrate theorists who have analyzed the ways that people use narratives in the process ofunderstanding their identities, in order to suggest how animation fantasy can influence the way viewers understand themselves, their world, and their others. My analysis is thus based on the premise that meanings or tropes in media texts reflect creators’ intentions, but at the same time they are produced and interpreted in social discourse. Mulan in animation is not strictly a princess, but she is included as one of the “Disney Princesses,” which include Ariel, Aurora, Belle, Cinderella, Jasmine, Mulan, Pocahontas, and Snow White (Disney Princess Official Website at http://disney.go.com/princess/htmlImain_iframe.html) (accessed on March 16, 2005). 14 Chapter 1: Identity Articulation in Media Fantasy Representation does not occur after an event, but it is part 0/the event. Reality does not exist outside the process ofrepresentation. —Stuart Hall, “Presentation and Media” there is no doubt that imaginative geography and history help the mind to intensfy its own sense ofitselfby dramatizing the distance and dIfference between what is close to it and what isfar away.2 —Edward Said, Orientalism The above quotes by Stuart Hall and Edward Said suggest that media representations provide a powerful imaginary space that offers resources for creating “reality,” a space that projects images that may work toward articulating cultural identities—identities structured around notions of “self’ and “other.” This chapter outlines the theoretical framework of my work: how people use visual and narrative representations in the process of understanding their own identities and others, contributing to the articulation of cultural identities; and how those media representations are often influenced by dominant ideologies and may sometimes subvert those dominant ideologies. It should be stressed that this dissertation identifies film viewers as being subjected to the text, while also acknowledging the possibility of viewers consciously acting to build their own perceptions and identity articulation through the viewing experience, and assumes that this idea is universally applicable. While the relationship between representation and national/cultural/ethnic/gender identity has been studied extensively in the context of live-action film, in the field of animation studies this issue has not been studied adequately, except for some studies on 1 Stuart Hall, “Representation and the Media.” 2 Said, Orientalism, p. 55. 15 the works of major U.S. studios such as the Walt Disney Company. Moreover, on the issue of racial representation in particular, many film studies attempt to analyze white people’s perceptions of non-white races as depicted in Hollywood film; few studies, however, discuss how non-whites represent whites, or how a non-white race represents and perceives itself or other non-white races. Even among studies of racial representations, (East) Asians (the “yellow”) have been given much less attention— whether as depicted in film or as creators of filmic depictions—than blacks or whites. And in the subfield of animated films, the scholarly neglect of (East) Asians is even more evident. Another purpose of this chapter is to lay out previous theoretizations of the ways sex/gender is intertwined with ethnicity/race/nationality in media representations, and how these complex mechanisms of representations affect articulation of identity. In this dissertation I take a postcolonial and feminist critical stance, so it is necessary to first lay out the relevant critical tools in posteolonial and feminist studies and the connections between them. This project proceeds from the assumption that narratives—including the fantasy narratives of animation—influence the way that the consumers of those narratives see the world, even if we do not fully understand yet the mechanisms behind that influence. I am far from alone in this assumption, and will trace in the following sections some of the previous scholarship that has theorized the mechanisms of media influence on consumers. Film scholar Herald Stadler gives a pithy description of the close relationship between reality and fantasy, stating that 16 “perception, imagination, fantasy, dreams, and memory are simply different modes of experience, all of which constitute a sense of reality.”3 This suggests that in the postindustrial, postmodem context, we live in a world where the boundary between the real and the fictional has virtually disappeared. Even if viewers know that things they see on the screen are not directly connected with their real lives, these things “induce some emotions in the subject and thus constitute a part of the subject’s life experience.”4 As a consequence, a sense of personal or group identity is no longer conceived of as based solely on genetics and/or childhood influences, but instead it is believed that aspects of identity are articulated significantly, and continue to be articulated throughout life, to a significant extent, by the fictional “realities” that people consume. 1.1. Identity Articulation through Media Narratives: reinforcing the dominant view 1.1.1. The subject as susceptible to the ideological apparatus of visual representation The practice of reinforcing dominant ideologies through media is discussed in Bill Nichols’ study of the ideological function of visual media, focusing on classical narrative film. He explains how the ideologies disseminated through film shape the viewers as subjects. Taking Louis Althusser’s concept of”interpellation”—the self as called into Herald Stadler, “Film as Experience: Phenomenological Concepts in Cinema and Television Studies,” in Quarterly Review ofFilm and Video 12: 3 (1990), p. 46. 4Miroslaw Filiciak, “Hyperidentities: Postmodem Identity Patterns in Massively Multiplayer Online Role- Playing Games,” in The Video Game: Theory Reader eds. Mark J. P. Wolf and Bernard Perron (New York: Routledge, 2003), p. 96-98. Filiciak, along with other postmodernists, such as Jean Baudrillard, stresses the fluidity of postmodern individual identity, by using the term, “hyperidentity.” 17 being as a subject by ideological institutions—Nichols uses the term “self-as-subject,”5 arguing that the fabrication of visual representations “subjects” us to a specific way of seeing, by masking the conditions that underlie the surface appearance. The sense of “self-as-subject,” according to Nichols, is often shaped by the visual codes that the dominant discourse provides for viewers. Nichols goes on to argue that “[sjince images bear an analogous or iconic relationship to their referent, it is easy to confuse the realms of the image and the physical world by treating the image as a transparent window.”6 Although it would be too simplistic to believe that viewers are completely trapped by these images, Nichols’ argument partly explains why it can be difficult for viewers to distance themselves from what is on the screen: because of its visual proximity to their real lives. Nichols’ view of the influence of images on viewers is rather obvious, but what is less obvious about the power of fantasy is that even if images do not precisely mirror our material reality exactly, they can affect viewers to a similar extent, if not more. The power and effectiveness of these fictional realities are emphasized by Michael Riffaterre’s concept of “fictional truth.”7 Riffaterre argues that fiction seems true because it is fictional, and therefore can be more meamngful to a reader than a direct imitation of reality. That is, truth in fiction is predicated on “a verisimilitude, a system of representations that appears to reflect a reality external to the text, but only because it conforms to [the rules of] grammar” of representation, which establishes narrative truth.8 It follows that the “reality” or “verisimilitude” in media fantasy does not necessarily Bill Nichols, Ideology & the Image (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1981), p. 29. p. 21. Riffaterre, Fictional Truth (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1990). Riffaterre, p. xiii-xiv. 18 require verification against our worldly reality, and that it can be powerful enough to leave the viewer susceptible to ideological messages, whether they reinforce the dominant view or challenge it.9 Riffaterre’ s view of the system of “reality” in fiction is an important aspect to be considered in examining the animated world, which has its own visual grammar different from that of live-action film, but still conforms closely enough to the visual grammar to which viewers are accustomed to give a convincing sense of narrative truth. I will discuss how the narrative grammar of animation is used in later chapters with reference to specific animated works. It can be concluded from both Nichols’ and Riffaterre’s arguments that image- makers play a key role in influencing people’s perceptual habits, by disseminating and reiterating particular visual codes and systems of signification. As people learn to read particular visual codes and signification systems, they become familiar with them, and come to expect them. Considering that every visual code or signification system embodies particular ideologies, and that people who benefit from dominant ideologies are likely to be those who are in the position of power to create and disseminate images, it is reasonable to assume that ideologies carried through widely and repeatedly circulated images would be largely dominant ones, and are capable of influencing people’s worldviews or perceptual habits. This idea is strengthened by the correlation between perception, recognition, and pleasure. According to Nichols, the reason that we are continually drawn to the codes that have formed our habits of perception lies in a sense of “recognition,” an identification with things that we have previously encountered. Moreover, we derive pleasure from idea also concurs with Louis Aithusser’s concept of media as an ideological apparatus, or a process of establishing a consensus in a (naturalized) power structure. 19 recognizing these familiar codes, and this process contributes to a sense of stability in our relationship to the world. Thus, the sense of familiarity that is built upon learned codes brings us-as-viewers pleasure, and as long as we-as-viewers agree to position ourselves as subjects, according to the implicit definitions of the dominant ideologies, our viewing pleasure continues because the perceptual codes we have learned turn sensory impressions into organized and meaningful concepts. 10 It is hard to imagine that viewers of films would seek to disrupt their viewing pleasure in the midst of pleasure to analyze a film’s sources and consequences. Since codes and conventions for signification tend to be influenced by dominant ideologies, as mentioned above, viewers’ pleasure of recognition potentially makes them susceptible to these ideologies, which may subsequently obscure their own active role in perception. This is what Nichols calls “the grand deceit of ideology,” a system that “fixes us in an imaginary.., relationship to the real conditions of existence.”11 In this respect, as viewers we are free, but may be free to be “subjected” to/by ideologies. Following this viewpoint, it can be argued that media representation may confine and exploit viewers’ perceptions to a significant extent.12 This aspect of Nichols’ view echoes Roland Barthes’ notion of “myth,” or the secondary “connotative” meaning created by images and signs, which masks antithesis such that the dominant power and its perceptions can significantly influence our way of 10 acknowledge that accepting the dominant or intended reading is not the only way that viewers can obtain pleasure from media texts, and certainly, the dissemination of ideological messages is not the only function of media such as film. Nonetheless, my dissertation focuses on the ideological aspect of the media, and on the importance of understanding mechanisms by which “intended audiences” subjected to media potentially articulate cultural identities, in order to figure out how these identities can be also subverted. “Nichols, p. 42. 12 This does not mean that I accept the idea that viewers’ perceptions are entirely controlled by media products and trapped in their representations, as the viewers are subjected to them. However, in order to examine the subversive power of media representations, we need to understand perceptions subjected to the dominant view, and how dominant ideologies operate through media texts. 20 viewing the world.13 In this sense, a “myth” is analogous to an ideology that promotes the interests of the dominant groups. According to Barthes, no image/representation is free of attendant “myths,” and therefore we can see how visual representations might have a powerful and complex influence on media consumers in the process of understanding their own identities. To sum up: media representations, which may seem neutral, are significantly loaded with ideologies that are often supported by those who created these representations, and their viewers are subjected to/by those representations because they can derive the pleasure of recognition from them effectively if they consent to view them from the position implicitly defined as “subject” by the dominant.’4 1.1.2. Construction of the racial “Other”: Edward Said The meaning-production system of Barthes’ “myth-making” is also taken up by Edward Said in explication of the way “race” is represented or articulated through media. Said’s notion of “Orientalism” describes Western representation of the racialized East as “mythic discourse” which ignores or obscures the West’s own origins as well as those of the “Orient” it represents.’5 In the discourse of Orientalism, media texts created in the 13 Roland Barthes, Mythologies (New York: Hill and Wang, 1972). To explain this structure of “myth,” Barthes uses a picture on the cover of a French magazine of a black African soldier saluting the French flag. Barthes argues that this image promotes an idea of racial harmony in France, such that even the formerly colonized subjects feel French patriotism. But this “myth” of French racial harmony and colonial success covers over the remaining schisms and tensions between races and between the former colonizer and colonized in France. 14 do not mean to deny the possibility of viewers conceiving their own critical interpretations when viewing film. It is certain that some viewers do “read against the grain” of the ideologies put forward implicitly by the text. The point of the arguments here is that such critical viewing requires conscious effort and may be hard to sustain even by those who intend to remain resistant to the text’s implicit positioning of viewers. 15 Said, Orientalism, p. 321. In this dissertation I will at times use the word “Oriental” to refer to the people of Asia. “Oriental” is often taken to refer to East Asians—Chinese, Japanese, and Koreans—but because Said’s original defmition of “Orientalism” referred primarily to European depictions of the Near and Middle East and North Africa, it could be argued that “Oriental” applies to anyone living anywhere on the Asian continent. My reason for using the outdated and somewhat pejorative terms “Orient” and “Oriental” is 21 West draw on connotative meanings that are associated with its fantasized perception of the East. One of the chief perceptions associated with Orientalism is organized around a binary relationship—the West is figured as rational, knowledgeable, modem (and masculine), and the East as emotional, ignorant (or, in a positive spin, as possessing ancient “wisdom” rather than Western science), not modernized (and feminine). Through the paradigmatic figure of the veiled woman, who came to stand for “the Orient” in the cultural products Said analyzes, the East is also figured as enigmatic and unknowable— except by those Westerners (“Orientalists”) who have lived there or studied it. In the classic discourse of Orientalism, even those people who live in the “Orient” cannot fully know themselves or their culture until it is “rationally” explained to them by the Orientalist. Said’s Orientalism is provocative in theorizing the concept of racial “otherness” as it is influenced by media representations, particularly those in novels, paintings, and in academic monographs, and in showing how the construction of the racialized East was really for the purpose of sustaining the hegemony of Western discourse. Said’s conceptualization of the Orientalist view thus underscores the power dynamics involved in the discursive construction of the Western “Self’ and the (Middle) Eastern “Other.” His view is relevant to the contemporary relationship between America and Asia, and may even hold important insights that can be transferred to the consideration of other unequal power relations.’6 precisely to underscore the fact that I am talking about depictions of or concepts about Asians that were created in the West, but have also influenced Asian people’s own self-identities, as I discuss further below. 16 In the years since Orientalism first appeared, Said’s basic arguments have been refined, updated, and enriched by a number of scholarly responses, several of which I will refer to in later chapters where I talk about specific textual issues involving Orientalism. The simple overview here is intended to lay out only the basic ideas from which my arguments proceed. 22 Among Said’s three types of Orientalism—academic, imaginative and historical— it is the imaginative definition that is most closely tied to the way cultural identities are articulated in media fantasies, which may affect the way the people who consume those fantasies understand themselves and others. In this regard, Said argues that media spaces, which may offer distorted images of peoples and cultures, serve as imaginative geographies and histories, underlining the epistemological distinction between the Oriental “other” and the Occidental “self.” Said states that: “[w]e must not forget that the Orientalist’s presence is enabled by the Orient’s effective absence,” or by the Orientalist remaining outside the Orient.17 In this discourse, the “Orient” is a Western creation, which is built upon the desire and fear of the West toward the “enigmatic” East. The creation of the Western image of the Oriental “Other” amounts to a manifestation of Western dominance over access to representation and the ideology embedded in it, which subsequently limits the autonomy of the represented object (the Orient in this case). One facet of Orientalism, therefore, holds that “the Orient” is an unenlightened entity which can improve only by practicing a Western-value-based worldview. While some scholars may critique Said’s notion of Orientalism as outdated or too specific in region—as mentioned above, he concentrates on the nineteenth and twentieth century European view of the Middle East, the Arab world, and Islam—I argue that it is still entirely pertinent in the age of globalization, where people are still often positioned as either “Westerners” or “Easterners.” (As we will see in later chapters, Japanese filmmakers and cultural critics certainly believe that Orientalism continues as an important aspect of global discourse—both popular and academic—and their own creative and scholarly work is predicated on that belief.) ‘ Said, Orientalism, p. 208 and p. 222. 23 It is also important to emphasize that Said neither intends to claim the existence of the/a real Orient, nor does he suggest that the Orient can be understood only by the Orient. Rather, he highlights the idea of “the Orient” as an engendered entity, one which is maintained by both the West and the Orient itself.’8 In this respect, he attributes part of the triumph of Orientalism to the system of global consumerism, in which the Orient is captured in Western popular culture markets. Among his examples are “Arabs,” who have come to regard themselves as “Arabs”-as-portrayed-in-Hollywood-films.’9The fact that Orientalism is a product both of Western Orientalizing practices and the Orient’s self Orientalizing practices suggests the complexity of current relationships between the West and Asia. Self-Orientalizing aids in the “colonization of the imagination,”20in which the “other” ultimately is deprived of any expectation of having control over its own subjectivity through fantasies. In addition, the imaginary “Orient” may bring people in the West a sense of “freedom,” as a means of escape from their own reality. Stressing this idea in the context of nineteenth and twentieth century colonialism, V.G. Kiernian explains the exotic fascination of Oriental fantasy in the West as follows: to Western fantasy this Orient was one of freedom, where man could expand beyond all common limits, with the unlimited power that Napoleon Said, Orientalism, p. 322. 19 In Orientalism, Said points out Orientalizing through myths made in the Orient itsell which is happening among Japanese, Indians, and other Orientals. (See p. 322) Also, in the “Afterword” of Orientalism, he emphasizes that Orientalism did not end with the end of institutionalized colonialism, but continues up to the present (1994, when his book was published) in new modes and forms that echo old colonialist practices. (See p. 348). 20 Hagedom states: “Colonization of the imagination is a two-way street. And being enshrined on that pedestal as someone’s Pearl of the Oriental fantasy doesn’t seem so demeaning, at first; who wouldn’t want to be worshipped? Perhaps that’s why Asian women are the ultimate wet dream in most Hollywood movies; it’s no secret how well we’ve been taught to play the role; to take care of our men.” (see, “Asian Women in Film: No Joy, No Luck,” in Ms. (Jan/Feb. 1994), pp. 77-78. 24 dreamed of there, unlimited luxury, a palace and princess, magic and adventure; all those inordinate things that orderly modem man had to renounce 21 Just as Said argues that Orientalism has continued beyond the time of institutionalized colonialism, I would argue that Kieman’s point also remains valid in the postcolonial context. (We will see examples to support this idea in the case study chapters later in the dissertation.) Said’s exposition of the complex interrelation among power, knowledge, and imagination (pleasure) revealed in Orientalist discourse, as well as his vision of the “Other” as “alter ego” that aids in separating “them” from “us,” are foundations for discussion of the ways that Self/Other conceptualizations operate in the process of cultural (and other) identity articulations in animated fantasies, and I will therefore return to his ideas in later chapters. 1.1.3. The politics of vision and the articulation of “Self” and “Other” Nichols contends that fantasy created through visual media brings forth the consistency of “self-as-subject,” which “compels us as subjects to seek positive identification with, or antagonistic opposition to, the other.”22 In this context, the establishment of “self’/”other” binaries necessitates a discussion of vision. Nichols draws on Jacques Lacan’s concept of the “Mirror Stage”—the (mis)recognition of se1f, which describes the subject’s setting of an imaginary boundary between self and other—in order to provide a theoretical understanding of how visual media contribute to identity 21 Victor Gordon Kieman, The Lords ofHuman Kind: Black Man, Yellow Man, and White Man in an Age of Empire (Boston: Little Brown Co., 1969), p. 131. 22 Nichols, p. 32. 25 formation.23 For Nichols, the relationship between images on the screen and the viewer parallels the way the “Mirror-Stage” operates, in the sense that both show the necessity of an Other in the (mis)recognition of the Self. That is, the “self’ is not an autonomously existing entity, but is socially constructed in relation to others as well as visual signs around it. The concept of the Mirror-Stage is useful in examining how the imaginary “Self’ and “Other” play a role in the fictional world of film (including animation) for viewers’ identity work. Based on the concept of Orientalism and the Lacanian notion of the imaginary (or misconception of) “self’ and “other,” hereafter I use “Other”/”Self’ and “other”/”self’ differently, in the context of gender and racial identity articulations. I use “Other” and “Self’ to refer to the imaginary or symbolic entities that are conceptualized or stereotyped in the subject’s mind, specific images with which the subject mistakenly yet firmly identifies, in order to articulate its own subjectivity. Thus, the “Other” in the racial context, for example, suggests singularity: each race (or ethnicity) is designated as having its attributes as the “Other.” In contrast, the “other” and the “self’ are grounded in real life, but because the concept of “identity” itself is socially constructed, I place these terms in quotation marks. It is therefore appropriate to say that after one’s experience of the “other,” s/he establishes the “Other.” Sharalyn Orbaugh affirms the significance of the mechanism of vision—how we are seen by others—as a major source in the construction of subjectivity. She draws on 23 Jacques Lacan, “Some Reflections on the Ego,” in International Journal ofPsychoanalysis 34 (1953), pp. 11-17. In the “Mirror-Stage,” an infant establishes the “imaginary self’ (the ego) in responding to an external image of its body reflected in a mirror (or through responding to the image of its primary caregiver). Since the image of the unified body that the infant mis-recognizes as “self’ does not correspond to its actual physical body, this image serves as an ideal “i.” it is important to note that although this model of construction of the “self’ is conceived by Lacan as a permanent characteristic of the individual, it is reasonable to think that the ego keeps being re-formed through his or her adult life, through the encounters that occur in normal social relations. 26 Lacan’s concept of the “gaze”—a discursively articulated vision that should be distinguished from a “look,” because the former refers to an act of vision that is powerful and defines its object.24 In other words, the “gaze” always generates and reflects unequal power relations between its subject and object (for example, in the context of genderization and racialization). On the contrary, a “look” is “not powerful, is associated with time and mortality, and is only minimally capable of defining or reif’ing its object.”25 In the context of visual media, “the gaze” is similar to a camera in film, exerting a strong power that can define and penetrate its object, which cannot access “an alternate epistemic configuration.”26 This distinction between “gazing” and “looking” plays an important role in my discussions of the relationship between vision and power dynamics among different races or genders in later case studies chapters. With regard to the link between the logic of visuality and power relations, Rey Chow provides useful insight into “the technologies of visuality” that she claims place “subjects” (spectators) and “objects” (spectacles) in uneven positions due to hierarchically distributed energy between the two. She argues that, with the development of modem technologies such as film that expand our concept of vision beyond the physical dimension, the visual realm reveals an “epistemological mechanism” that magnifies social difference, particularly differences of class, gender, and race.27 Thus, in this context, “the spectacle” refers to a person or people, who are depicted as “helpless.” In other words, where film (technology) is inseparable from the perception of the spectacle, the mechanism of visuality contributes considerably to the formation of the power hierarchy 24 Sharalyn Orbaugh, Japanese Fiction ofthe Allied Occupation (Leiden: Brill, 2007), p. 70. 25 Ibid. 26Orbau Japanese Fiction ofthe Allied Occupation, p. 75. pp. 50-60. 27 between an onlooker (as the “self’) and the spectacle (the “other”)—such as women, the third world and so on—which leads to the perception of the “Other.” What makes film technology influential is that it can emphasize the “automatized” body of the “other” who is subjected to exploitation exercised by the dominant group. According to Chow, the “aesthetic” power of the spectacle (or the “automatized other”) is accentuated based on the degree of its awkwardness or helplessness projected on the screen, and this also aids in demarcating the “self’ from the “other.” This logic of visuality therefore works as a foundation for the West’s construction of its “Other,” by unequally placing the former as spectator and the spectacle: the non-Western “other” functions in film as a source of “the spectacle” for the consumption and entertainment of the Western “subject.” Film is the major site that manifests this mechanism of visuality and the operation of the selfYother binary explicitly and repetitively, until it permeates the viewer’s unconscious mind. The case study chapters that come later in this study examine how the visual paradigms such as those described above are practiced through comical depictions of Asian figures and cultures in films such as Disney’s Mulan. 1.1.4. Stereotyping: a strategy for creating raced and gendered “others” Chow’s idea of the “other” as spectacle can be understood through the concrete example of the heavy stereotyping of marginal groups and cultures that are still featured in many mainstream films. Walter Lippmann, who coined the term “stereotype,” emphasizes its ideological implications and its function of demarcating “self’ and “other,” for the explicit purpose of strengthening the self s sense of comfort and stability. He describes the term as follows: 28 A pattern of stereotypes is not neutral... It is not merely a short cut.... It is the guarantee of our self-respect; it is the projection upon the world of our own sense of our own value, our own position and our own rights. The stereotypes are, therefore, highly charged with the feelings that are attached to them. They are the fortress of our tradition, and behind its defenses we can continue to feel ourselves safe in the position we occupy.28 Based on Lippmann’s definition, the motive behind stereotyping lies in a dichotomous view of “our” value, which needs to be demarcated and protected from others outside “our” group or our society. This viewpoint concurs with Julia Kristeva’s concept of “abjection,” which refers to the social and psychical logic that conceptualizes the “self’! “other” separation. According to Kristeva’ s concept of “abjection,” subjective and group identities are constituted by excluding anything that threatens one’s personal or the group’s boundaries.29 The process of abjection typically indicates a repression or rejection of “otherness” for the purpose of group formation, based on factors such as race, ethnicity, age, and gender. Hence, a discussion of the role of stereotypes needs to extend Lippmann’s definition and to point out that the problem is not necessarily the existence of stereotypes per Se, but resides in who controls them and what interests they serve for whom.3° 1.1.5. The gendering/sexualizing of race and the construction of “yellowness” As many scholars argue, we cannot talk about the racialized “Other” in visual narrative without referring to the issue of how gender or sexuality is represented, because race and gender/sex are frequently intertwined. It is, for example, crucial to look at the 28 Walter Lippmann, Public Opinion (New York: Macmillan, 1956), p. 96. 29Julia Kristeva, Powers ofHorror: An Essay ofAbjection (New York: Columbia University Press, 1982). 30Richard Dyer mentions this point in The Matter ofImages. 29 interplay of race and gender/sexuality in discussing the way Asia and Asians are typically figured: despite the recent economic power of some parts of Asia, the region and its people are still often “feminized” in relation to the “masculine” West through media. In his study of Asian-American film, Jun Xing argues that “sexual aggression against white women” by non-white (male) characters signifies a threat posed to the white victim by non-white races, and serves as a strategy to emphasize racial “otherness,” and secure white subjectivity.3’In the history of the American film industry, the sexualization of race was institutionalized when the Motion Picture Production Code, which prohibited the filming of interracial sex or marital scenes, was implemented from 1934 to the middle of the 1950s. This was certainly based on the racist views of interracial relationships as a threat or as “unclean.” What is striking is the fact that, despite this code, “white males [were] shown to easily transgress interracial sexual prohibitions on-screen,”32which turns the body of non-white (women) into a sexual object. This is a typical example of the sexualization of non-white races through media representation. Similarly, the depiction of non-white males also contributes to accentuating racial “otherness.” In this regard, Xing argues that the dominant regimes of Hollywood films have corroborated the essentialization of the racial identity of Asian Americans. Representations of Asians as the “yellow” in mainstream films have not been studied as much as the mainstream representations of the “black,”33 though representations of “yellowness” and “blackness” share many aspects. ‘ Jun Xing, Asian American Through the Lens: History Representations and Identity (Walnut Creek: Altamira Press, 1998). 32Xing, P. 76. The case of black male characters has been extensively studied. For example, Gail Dines addresses the image of black men as demonized “others,” or outsiders to the “normal” realm of white masculinity in Hollywood films. Using films such as King Kong, which depicts a sexually obsessed black man—a “black menace”—who, lacking human qualities, has a voracious appetite for a white woman, Dines demonstrates 30 Xing’s observation of the discourse of Hollywood master-narratives reveals that people from any part of Asia are represented as “Orientals” according to a transhistorical set of fixed racial categories. In this sense, “Asian American” is not a natural or pre-given identity, but a political invention for the benefit of the hegemonic discourse, in which mainstream films co-opt Asian Americans through the “institutional racism” that privileges white subjectivity.34 Xing’s categorization of representations of Asians in Hollywood into three formulaic archetypes is worth citing here: 1) the yellow peril formula, 2) Madame Butterfly narratives, and 3) the Charlie Chan genre.35 Xing explains each of these three categories. The “yellow peril formula” represents Asians as the aggressive or canny “other.” For instance, they are represented as sexually aggressive figures against white women, in roles such as gangsters and rapists. Xing states that a hypersexualized Asian (male) image has become a “metaphor for the racial threat posed to Western culture by the ‘other’.”36 This formula was more prevalent in the 193 Os and 40s, when the rapid modernization of several East Asian nations threatened “white” economic and political hegemony, but more recently, too, a significant number of Hollywood films, such as Year ofThe Dragon (1985), Gung Ho (1985), and Rising Sun (1993), have made use of images and tropes that recall the “yellow peril” pattern of representation. that a political or social threat by other races is always synonymous with a sexual threat. The sexual overpresence of the black significantly marks racial difference, and reinforces a binary opposition between the non-white “other” and the white “self.” See Gail Dines, “King Kong and the White Woman: Hustler Magazine and the Demonization of Black Masculinity,” in Gender, Race and Class in Media: A Text Reader, eds. Gail Dane et al. (London: Sage, 2003). “ In this regard, Xing argues that through a long-standing practice of “role segregation” in Hollywood film, Asians are placed as sidekicks, and Caucasians play major Asian roles, using “racist cosmetology” such as “yellow facing” to produce thefr exaggerated Asian features. See Xing, p. 35. Xing, pp. 54-63. 36Xing, p. 55. 31 “Madame Butterfly” narratives manifest an archetype of Oriental femininity, which underpins Orientalist discourse. In these narratives Asian women’s bodies are fetishized for the purpose of sexual seduction. “Madame Butterfly” narratives emphasize the devotion of Asian women to white men, who in turn downplay or deny the women’s subjectivity. Based on the original Madame Butterfly story, narratives of this type have long contributed to the conceptualization of Japan as “feminine” (represented by the lovely young Butterfly) in relation to the United States, which is represented as masculine and white through association with Pinkerton. Furthermore, the image of Asians as the feminine “Other” is reinforced by the third category, the “Charlie Chan type” or what Xing calls “cinematic castration,” which uses the representation of emasculated Asian males to perpetuate a vision of Western masculinity. In every case these archetypes are mobilized with the intention of implicitly ensuring white male American subjectivity. Xing’s argument resonates with other critical studies on Orientalism in visual media from the 1980s and 1990s, such as Darrel Hamamoto’s Monitored Peril: Asian Americans and the Politics ofTV Representation, which investigates the symbolic subordination of Asian Americans in U.S. media.37 These studies underscore the notion of a white gaze that dehumanizes the Orientals who do not have the ability to claim their own subjeetivities or a means for doing it. The effectiveness of the construction of a consistent vision of “yellowness” is also seen in the fact that, despite changes in historical and social circumstances over the past seventy years, Japan has been consistently represented as a peril or a silent victim in Hollywood films. Darrel Hamamoto, Monitored Peril: Asian Americans and the Politics ofTV Representation (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1994). 32 In particular, the image of Japan as a peril has been constantly fed by historical events throughout the twentieth century—its victory in the Russo-Japan War in 1905, the surprise attack at Pearl Harbor, and the dramatic economic growth that made the country competitive with the United States from the 1960s onward. These historical events are continuously linked to the present. For instance, the sense of fear toward Japan generated by white Americans has been hinted at in recent Hollywood films such as Kill Bill (2003). It is intriguing that while “yellow” Asians are represented as peril, they are at the same time feminized, whether they are female or male. In this sense, both Asian men and women discursively play a “female role” in relation to the white “masculine” West. The construction of “yellowness” in media manifests the West’s complex attitude toward the East Asian “Other,” which is a mix of fear and desire. These observations also demonstrate that while people and cultural products have been traveling intensively across national boundaries in the age of globalization, the image industry ceaselessly exerts ideological power, which encourages the continued demarcation of “self’ and “other.” 1.2. The Subversive Power of Media Representations Where there is power, there is resistance, andyet, or rather consequently, this resistance is never in a position ofexterioriry in relation to power. —Michel Foucault38 The previous section of this chapter demonstrates how media can create an “imaginary reality,” often closely linked to dominant ideologies, which intended viewers use for their cultural, ethnic/racial, and gender identity articulation. Some postcolonial 38 Michel Foucault, The History ofSexuality: An Introduction, trans. Robert Hurley (New York: Vintage Books, 1990), p. 95. 33 scholars deny the possibility of the subaltern’s access to a means of representation to articulate its own subjectivity: the subaltern cannot speak.39 But if dominant media representations and the ideologies attached to them are so powerful, how can one conceptualize the subversion of those representations, or the expression of alternative understandings of cultural, ethnic, racial or gender identity? 1.2.1. Subversion by the “other”: power and resistance in liminal space Let me emphasize that in this study the word “identities” does not refer to something given or fixed, but instead refers to “the names we give to the different ways we are positioned by, and position ourselves within, the narratives of the past.”4° This view not only reveals the power of media representation to reinforce dominant ideologies or stereotypical images of the “other,” but also indicates the potential to subvert those very same images. This viewpoint is partly based on Antonio Gramsci’s concept of “hegemony.” Unlike Aithusser’s view of ideology, which does not assume the existence of ideologies in conflict with the dominant one, Gramsci’s hegemony presupposes the co existence ofvarious ideologies where marginal views could also emerge. Coupled with Michel Foucault’s quote above, this suggests that the hegemonic view is never stable, and is always contested, because it constantly faces a battle against subordinate forces that emerge within the same discourse. It is naïve to assume that the socio-politically constructed “other” holds a permanently fixed position. In the same line of thought, in Culture and Imperialism Said Specifically, Gayatri C. Spivak’s “Can the Subaltern Speak?” in Marxism and the Interpretation of Culture, eds. Cary Nelson and Larry Grossberg (Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1988), pp. 271-313. Those who believe in the possibility of resistance against the dominant include Michel Foucault and Gilles Deleuze. 40 Stuart Hall, “Cultural Identity and Cinematic Representation,” in Framework 36 (1989), p. 69. 34 also acknowledges the rise of oppositional indigenous voices among the literatures of former colonies, while identifying Western fiction as a weapon of domination.4’He claims that media provide a potential tool for cultural resistance, a tool that can challenge the West, and be a means of resurrecting local literature and languages to (re)articulate their identities of these former colonies.42 This sheds light on a potentially subversive mechanism of media representation, a mechanism that highlights conflicting ideologies. The idea of a stable dominant discourse can be undermined by different interpretations of media representations. This section seeks theoretical explanations of how cultural identities articulated in the dominant discourse may also be re-articulated or de-articulated. It further introduces a potential subversive space, where the “other” may emerge to give rise to a counter-hegemonic discourse through media representations. (1) The Reversed Gaze The first section of this chapter discusses the politics of vision, which plays a significant role in fixing the position of the white “self’ and non-white “other.” In the case of whites and blacks, this “visual” relationship perpetuates a false concept of white subjectivity in relation to black “others” who seemingly cannot “look” or assert their subjectivity. Bell hooks identifies three misconceptions created among whites in white supremacist society: 1) whites are invisible to blacks because of whites’ control over the gaze, and therefore blacks are unable to cultivate their subjectivity, so that 2) blacks become invisible to whites, because it is safer to avoid being seen, except in the limited 41 Edward Said, Culture and Imperialism (New York: Vintage Books, 1994). 42 Said’s argument for cultural resistance among the previous colonies, or the “other,” correlates to Antonio Gramsci’s concept of “hegemony,” which refers to conflicts between different ideologies. 35 role of a pair of hands on a serving tray; and 3) whiteness is perceived by blacks in the way whites want to appear: as good.43 Questioning this (mis)conception of the positionality of white and black, hooks points out that while there have been a number of studies of the white’s view ofblacks in North American discourse, there has been little interest in representations of whiteness in the black imagination, representations which may countervail stereotypical perceptions of blacks. Hooks goes on to argue that blacks have access to an active look at whites as a target of imitation; moreover, contrary to the white belief that they are perceived by blacks as personifying goodness, whiteness is seen as an epitome of fear and terror rather than goodness. She contends that blacks, by calling on an alternate collective memory, potentially draw on an alternative, black subject position, different from the one that is endorsed by the dominant system. Hook’s explanation of the way collective memory works can be seen as a practice of Foucault’s notion of “counter-memory” as a site of resistance.44 By highlighting marginalized memory, hooks questions the seemingly stable memory of white supremacy and its subjectivity, which has prevailed through daily practices and fantasies over time. If we accept hooks’ proposition that the dominant discourse sustained by prevailing memories can be de-hegemonized, then we could argue that media representations may function as a vehicle for dismantling these memories, so that it becomes possible for the “other” to assert subjectivity. This shift in the notion of memory, as well as recognition of the subordinate’s agency in possessing a reversed gaze, acts to challenge white (mis)conceptions. This mechanism may operate similarly in relationships hooks, “Representing Whiteness in the Black Imagination,” p. 340. Michel Foucault, Language, Counter-Memory, Practice (New York: Cornell University Press, 1977). 36 between whites and other races, although most studies on this issue heretofore have focused on black/white relations. For instance, an analysis of whiteness in the yellow person’s imagination can also destabilize the image of whites as civilized saviors who enlighten the yellow “other” if we bring in a “counter-memory” that constitutes a new relationship between yellows and whites—an alternative to the hegemonic collective memory. The non-white’s imagination of its white “Other” through visual media will be pursued more specifically in the case study chapters. (2) Strategic essentialism: the “other’s” articulation of identity Another theoretical explanation of how the dominant discourse may be challenged in the process of identity articulation draws on the concept of “strategic essentialism” introduced by Gayatri Spivak. Essentialism/essentializing normally refers to an act similar to stereotyping: labeling a nation or people (or any other group) as being “essentially” comprised of a specific set of characteristics, thus ignoring variation within the group as well as changes in a group’s characteristics over time. Essentializing the “other” is a common tool of dominant discourse. But Spivak has proposed “strategic essentialism” as a tool of the oppressed. “Strategic essentialism” refers to the practice of a group’s members defining themselves in postivist and generalizing terms.45 As Spivak maintains, this strategy may work as a powerful political tool for “others” to have control over narratives about their own identities, because, unlike regular essentialism, it allows disempowered groups to define their essential attributes, rather than having them defined by more powerful others. The disempowered groups who make use of “strategic Gayatri C. Spivak, “Subaltern Studies: Deconstructing Historiography,” in Selected Subaltern Studies, eds. Ranajit Guha and Gayatri Spivak (New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988), pp. 13-14. 37 essentialism” consciously construct and articulate the identity they think most useful for political purposes—this is what makes it “strategic essentialism” rather than just self- essentialism, which is also a common practice among both dominant and marginal groups, often to serve to the dominant. While Spivak focuses on feminist debates about the gendered subject, this concept is also useful in discussing the formation of the racialized subject as well. Simply pointing out that racial identities are articulated by Orientalist or white-centered views does not undermine the foundation of the dominant power. When marginal groups use strategic essentialism, however, new terms are added to the discussion, possibly leading to changes in the way the dominant groups conceptualize the marginal. Despite its failure to address differences within the group,46 strategic essentialism provides a potential for marginalized groups to access an expressive tool—even if only temporarily—to claim a collective identity. Similar to the notion of “counter-memory,” this concept names one possible approach that allows the “other” to take charge of articulating their own alternative narrative of identity. Using this concept in the field of film, Xing provides an example of strategic essentialism on the part of “Asian Americans” during the 1 960s’ civil rights movement. According to him, the strategic development of this ethnic label, based on (somewhat) shared historical experiences, was in order to create an important device—a recognizable group identity—to elicit and protect the political interests of diverse groups who embrace an “Asian American” identity against the white hegemony. Xing identifies the existence of an Asian American aesthetic in flimmaking, which is characterized by the incorporation Indeed, Xing acknowledges limitations of this strategy using “Asian American,” and the difficulty of actually accomplishing solidarity or meaningful identification among diverse groups. 38 of “materials collected from their communities in the United States, from Asia, and even the Asian diaspora,” instead of relying on “white norms and practices.”47 This strategy allows Asian American filmmakers to counteract dominant white, androcentric representations, and to articulate an identity for their own benefit. More specifically, Xing asserts that one of the stylistic elements of film with which Asian American filmmakers can assert their departure from white norms is the use of a non-linear narrative structure, which formally and conceptually challenges the Western worldview and the idea of stable subjectivity. In Western thought, the chronological, unidirectional flow of time is a critical notion, logically leading to the labeling of “others” as backward. This concept is reflected in the narrative structure of film. Linear narrative is seen in many (probably most) American mainstream films, typically beginning with equilibrium, followed by the introduction of opposing forces and disruptive events, and returning to a new (and usually “better”) equilibrium at the end.48 In contrast, some Asian American films that Xing presents utilize unique structures, with no solution, open-ended conclusions, or temporal ambiguity.49 This aspect of film construction is further discussed—particularly in the field of animation—in later chapters. As an example of strategic essentialism conceptually practiced by a racial “other,” Japan has asserted its “unique” national identity at various times in the modern period (from roughly 1850 to the present), in relation to both an imaginary “West” and an 47Xing, p. 81. 48 The term “equilibrium” is based on Tzvetan Todorov’s literary theory of “equilibrium.” He identifies five stages of conventional narrative structure: 1) a state of equilibrium, 2) a disruption of the equilibrium by some action, 3) a recognition of the disruption, 4) an attempt to repair the disruption, and 5) a reinstatement of equilibrium. (See Tzvetan Todorov, “The Grammar of Narrative,” in The Poetics ofProse, trans. Richard Howard (New York: Comel University Press, 1977, p. 111). See, Xing, p. 48. 39 imaginary “Asia,”5° In other words, Japan has continued to articulate its collective identity by Orientalizing itself vis-à-vis the West, as well as Orientalizing other parts of Asia. For example, after the Meiji Emperor was restored to power as the result of a brief civil war in the 1860s, the Japanese people were persuaded to support the nation’s rapid modernization through slogans such as datsua nyuo (escape from Asia, enter the West). Throughout the Meiji period Japan presented an image of itself to the outside world that stressed its similarity to the already modernized, “white” West, as opposed to its “backward” Asian neighbors. This strategically essentialist self-positioning succeeded to a large extent, culminating in the Japanese people being declared “honorary Aryans” by Germany and South Africa in the years leading up to World War 11.51 Others among the already modernized nations were harder to convince, however. After fighting on the side of the victor nations in World War I, in 1920 Japan was invited to join the League ofNations as a founding member, seemingly indicating Japan’s achievement of the status of”fiilly modern nation.” When the Japanese delegate proposed a statement of basic racial equality for the founding charter, however, the other member states refused to consider it. Whiteness and superiority were still inextricably linked in the Anglo-European discourse of modernity. It is not surprising, therefore, to recall that Japan also employed another, opposite strategy of essentialism in the first half of the 20th century, characterized by the “daitöa kyoeiken” (Greater East Co-prosperity Sphere). This was an appeal to the rest of Asia to ° Here I describe Japan as the “other” in the sense that Japan has been struggling with obtaining recognition of its subjectivity over history, due to its non-white race. 51 See John W. Downer, Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1999). 40 join with Japan as one large and powerful group, united by a common “Asian” cultural background. This pan-Asian rhetoric was strategically used to essentialize “Asianness” in opposition to the West, in order to invoke a united front against the West. Bound up in this complicated, seif-essentializing rhetoric is Japan’s anomalous position in modem history, as perhaps the only nation to have intensively experienced being both colonizer and colonized. Japan’s experience as colonizer is obvious: from the establishment of its first imperial colony, Taiwan, in 1895, until the end of World War Two, Japan aggressively and successfully colonized significant areas of China, the Korean peninsula, Indonesia, the South Sea Islands, and other parts of Asia. Japan’s position as colonized is less clear, but also undeniable. Beginning in the Meiji era, when Japan rapidly adopted a wide range of Western institutions and discourses in order to avoid being colonized itself (as China and other Asian nations already were), the country experienced what we might call “cultural colonization.” While this may have been “voluntary” in the sense that it was a policy decision of Meiji intellectuals and government officials, it was coerced in the sense that acceptance of this cultural colonization was the only option for maintaining some level of sovereignty. Then, after the defeat of the Axis Powers at the end of World War Two, Japan was literally occupied by a coalition of Western forces (dominated by the policies of the United States) during the seven-year Occupation, 1945-1952. Even after the end of the Occupation, Japan has maintained “unequal treaties” (one of the hallmarks of the nineteenth century colonialism) with the U.S. in terms of providing bases for the American military.52 52 For more explanation about Japan’s position as colonized and colonizer, see Orbaugh, Japanese Fiction of the Allied Occupation, pp. 76-77. 41 Moreover, because of the absolute power wielded by the Occupation forces, and with some influence from the subsequent presence of significant numbers of American military personnel on Japanese soil, we can again argue that Japan has “voluntarily” (but actually with little choice) adopted many American (and more broadly Western) hegemonic practices and values. Certainly Japan has existed from at least the nineteenth century until the present as a part of the West’s (especially the U.S.’s) imagined “Orient.” Contemporary Japan uses a strategy similar to the one pursued during World War II, and this system is well explained by Köichi Iwabuchi, who describes it as “the complicity between Western Orientalism and Japan’s self-Orientalism [which] effectively works only when Japanese cultural power in Asia is subsumed under Japan’s cultural subordination to the West.”53 Differently put, Japan’s attempts to articulate its own narratives of identity using the tactics of strategic essentialism have operated in an environment where the West plays the role of the modernized “Other,” and “Asia” embodies Japan’s past of backwardness and tradition.54After the defeat in World War II in particular, when Japan was forced to shift its position from colonizer to colonized under American cultural and political domination, the strategy of essentializing the rest of “Asia” as backward helped to stabilize Japan’s postwar identity. While this has often been a strategy that demeans and discursively oppresses other Asian nations for Japan’s benefit, it has sometimes resulted in a challenge to Western essentialized visions of Asia (as we shall see in subsequent chapters). Kôichi Iwabuchi, Re-centering Globalization: Popular Culture and Japanese Transnationalism (Durham: Duke University Press, 2002), PP. 7-8. 54However, Iwabuchi questions the appropriateness of using the “Japan-Asia-the West” triad model from the 1990s onward, because of the dramatic development in Asia, which has led to the emergence of several “fully modernized” (rather than backward) nations. 42 (3) The carnival mode of representation Mikhail Bakhtin’s philosophical project also argues for the case of the “other,” which sheds light on cultural resistance by means of visual media. In particular, his concept of “carnival” explains that resistance against authority is realized by the physicality of obscenity and transgression that marks the festival mode.55 In other words, “carnival” signifies a liminal space that, though provisional, brings about an inversion in the hegemonic social system. The liminal space created through media representation may therefore be disordered and liberating, where one can experience having his or her subject position (temporarily) overturned. The practice of the “carnival” mode in the field of visual media is introduced in John Fisk’s study of American sitcoms, such as Married ...with Children and The Simpsons.56 These texts are carnivalesque in that they destabilize dominant social norms and identity categories by mocking assumed authority. In these shows, patriarchal gender structures are undermined either by exaggerating female sexuality, or by representing emasculated male characters. Fisk contends that in Married.., with Children Peggy’s exaggerated acts “expose to mocking laughter the patriarchal control over feminine bodies and behavior.”57 In this way, the media text subverts the “normal” hierarchy of gendered subject positioning. Similarly, media representations may also function as a canivalesque space for cultural resistance by the racial “other” against racist assumptions though there have not been substantial studies on this subject. This perhaps means that the racial hierarchy is Mikhail Bakhtin, Comics: Ideology, Power & Critics (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1989). John Fisk, “Audiencing: A Cultural Studies Approach to Watching Television,” in Poetics 21(1992), p. 348. 57Ibid. 43 harder to overturn, or that dominant social narratives about the racial body are more resistant to deconstruction through media representations. One is hard pressed to find visual exaggeration of a non-white body to mock white supremacy in film. It is rather more common to see a strategy of “passing,” by which non-whites act as “white” to be accepted by the dominant system instead of resisting it. It may follow that in the racial domain, the concept of “carnival” may be harder to implement through transgressive visual representation (or exaggeration), unlike observed in Married ... with Children in the gender domain. The concept of “carnival” does not imply a drastic or permanent social change, but only a temporary revel, which still offers social “others” a sense of empowerment. It is, on the other hand, also considered a way for the authority to keep subordinate groups under control and to maintain the status quo, by allowing them to “let off steam” for a limited duration of time, which then makes them more willing to return to their normal subordination. In this sense, both strategic essentialism and carnivalesque modes of representation can be potentially problematic, because of the possibility that in the end they just reinforce the hegemonic discourse. (4) Hybridity: an “in-between” space for resistance Concepts of strategic essentialism and the reversed gaze are both subversive in the sense that they reverse existing hierarchies. However, they do not deconstruct the idea of categorization itself. In this respect, Xing suggests that being obsessed with creating positive images of those considered “other” is not necessarily an adequate counter hegemonic approach to representation, because it may in turn essentialize identity categorizations such as East and West. Homi Bhabha’s concept of “hybridity,” however, 44 possibly provides a way out of the binary system and essentialized categorizations. Bhabha attempts to complicate identity categorization and move beyond simple pigeonholing. Bhabha’ s “hybridity” derives from his concept of “mimicry”—an act of imitation and appropriation of the colonizer’s culture by the colonized—the result of which is that the latter creates a third culture that is similar to but still distinctive from the colonizer’s. This process indicates that, by being forced to imitate the colonizer, the colonized “other” consequently becomes a threat to the former as its “double”—a “subject of difference that is almost the same, but not quite”58—which then disturbs colonial discourse and helps reclaim the voices and identities devalued by the colonizer. Hence, the practice of “mimicry” exposes the ambivalent and unstable nature of colonial rule; while the difference erased by mimicry works to suppress the subjectivity of the colonial subject, it also allows the colonial subject to occupy “a ‘partial’ presence” within the dominant discourse,59and this may empower the “other” to create an alternative culture and identity. Thus, Bhabha describes this condition of mimicry as “the sign of the inappropriate,” through which “a difference or recalcitrance which coheres the dominant strategic function of colonial power, eventually poses “an immanent threat to both ‘normalized’ knowledges and disciplinary powers.”6°Based on this concept, it is not so much the fixed identities of the (colonialist) “self’ and the (colonized) “other” as the disruptive distance or “difference” between them that maintains the hegemonic cultural power, as well as establishing the position of the “other” as a threat. 58 Homi Bhabha, The Location ofCulture (London: Routledge, 1994), p. 86. 59 60id. 45 The ambivalence inherent to the dominant culture, which is revealed by the concept of mimicry, allows us to posit the possibility that “other” cultures may “contaminate” the dominant discourse, in what Bhabha describes as a liminal space of “hybridization.” In the practice of “hybridization,” the “other” capitalizes on the “difference” from the dominant culture, and undermines the concept of a singular, unified identity. For instance, people who are born of parents of different races inhabit in- between categories, or a hybridized space. This condition of hybridity undermines the concept of binary oppositions in identity categorizations, such as “self” and “other,” white and non-white, and East and West. In contemporary society we recognize many people who transgress presumed categories, such as transsexuals, diasporic people or people of mixed race. This kind of hybridized or “in-between” identity/location provides the marginalized “other” with a space for cultural resistance, through reforming the dominant discourse. This also underscores the contingency of postmodern cultural subjectivity characterized as “temporality of indeterminate and undecidable”—an arbitrary closure of “self’ and “other.”6’ Thus, creating an “in-between” space through media—where the “other,” appropriating the dominant cultural text, establishes a third culture—would not only subvert the dominant cultural narrative, but would also deconstruct the view of identity categories as stable and transparent. Bhabha’ s theorization of subjectivity provides an optimistic vision of cultural resistance through media representations, by which the racial or gendered “other” emerges as a subject. 61 Homi Bhabha, “The Postcolonial and the Postmodem: the Question of Agency,” in The Cultural Studies Reader, ed. Simon During (London: Routledge, 1993), p. 202. 46 While Bhabha’s “mimicry” and “hybridity” are concerned with the relationship between the colonizer and the colonial subject, they can also explain Japan’s identity in relation to American hegemony in the political and cultural domains. Particularly, applying these concepts in the context of visual media representations, the “other’s” strategies may play with existing cultural assumptions and stereotypes through the text, and challenge the dominant discourse. Discussions in later chapters employ this concept to examine Miyazaki Hayao’s work as a form of Disney’s (the West’s) “double” which is intentionally “almost the same, but not quite.” (5) The tactic The production of a “third culture” derived from within the dominant culture is also suggested by Michel de Certeau’ s concept of the “tactic,”62which refers to the subordinate appropriating elements of the dominant discourse to integrate into his or her own practice. De Certeau’s concept resembles Bhabha’s “hybridization,” in that both shed light on the agency of the subordinate who appropriates the culture of authority to disturb it, and suggests that media texts might provide one context in which marginalized groups could set their own agenda. These ideas highlight the potential subjectivity of “others” who are often considered incapable of controlling narratives that define their own identities, the subjectivity that enables “others” to utilize media representations, or other forms of expression. Miyazaki, for example, may be considered to be one of the “others” (as a non- Western director) who has been exposed to Western literature as well as Disney 62Michel de Certeau, The Practice ofEveryday Life (Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1984), pp. xvi-xvii. 47 animations since childhood, and his auteuric creativity through media texts now provides an alternative narrative for viewers to articulate their cultural identities. 1.3. Conscious Perception and the Embodied Experience of Visual Media Lastly, to provide a different perspective on the limits of the ideological influence of mainstream films on identity articulation, it may be worth briefly discussing the viewer’s conscious participation in building perception, in order to avoid the deterministic view of the text as an apparatus that single-handedly controls the viewing experience. Despite this dissertation’s heavy focus on texts, I do not mean to present the viewer as a passive victim. Some film analyses (e.g. some psychoanalytic analyses) assume that the structure of the text determines the viewer’s consciousness, and results in the saturating of his/her unconscious with ideologies through the text. Differing from this view, my project takes into account the idea that watching film is a form of viewers’ conscious action of understanding themselves. The film experience should be regarded as a sense-making circuit consisting of the text, the producers and the viewer, rather than simply a matter of the consumption of the text by the viewer. While active audience theory has been discussed by different scholars,63 this section introduces a phenomenological perspective, which understands knowledge as deriving from consciousness. Maurice Merleau-Ponty’ s concept of “perception” supports the idea of viewers’ conscious involvement in building their worldviews through media representation.64 Merleau-Ponty assumes that we actively create meanings from the world through a unity 63 Such studies include studies based on surveys, such as David Morley’s Nationwide Audience: Structure and Decoding (mentioned in Introduction), Stuart Hall’s Encoding and Decoding in the Television Discourse (Birmingham: Center for Contemporary Cultural Studies, 1973). 64 Merleau-Ponty, The Phenomenology ofPerception. 48 of subject-object, rather than simply through a given discourse. In his view, “perception” is formed through our embodied experience, and therefore the self is understood as a conscious being. In other words, it is the structure of the subject’s conscious experience that creates understanding of ourselves and others, though this does not necessarily mean dismissing the unconscious. Merleau-Ponty’s “perception” thus undercuts the assumption of the subject’s absolute susceptibility to ideological systems. Based on this notion of “perception,” Vivian Sobchack’s examination of the phenomenon of vision, incorporating a semiotic phenomenological approach, brings to light the possibility of human choice and expressive freedom in the film experience along with historical and cultural constraints (or specificity). Her approach is premised on the idea that “the structures of being determine the structures of language,”65in contrast to a Lacanian psychoanalytic approach, which assumes that the latter determines the former. This perspective on cinema spectatorship serves as an intriguing, comprehensive, conceptual angle to theorize how subjectivity is potentially informed through the (animated) film viewing experience. In The Address ofthe Eye: A Phenomenology ofFilm Experience, Sobchack explicates the nature of the film experience as a set of intersubjective relations among the text, producers, and the viewer, and also describes film viewing as “performative” vision.66 This concept of “performative” vision conjures up the idea that the human body is an expressive space as well as a medium to perceive the world. In other words, as we watch the projection of other people’s (producers’) ways of seeing on the screen, we too express our perceptive experience. This view, as well as identifying subjectivity 65 Vivian Sobchack, The Address ofthe Eye: A Phenomenology ofFilm Experience (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1992), p. 100. 66 49 formation as based on an intersubjective production of meaning, also destabilizes the binary relationship between object and subject, and recognizes “dialogue” in the viewing context. In this respect, the film experience is “an act of seeing that makes itself seen,” because a film organizes and presents the producers’ (or director’s, camera person’s, or writer’s) vision of the world through a set of visual signs that is seen by the viewer. It is therefore an embodied act that makes watching film “reflexively felt and understood,”67 and provides both the producers and viewers with a space where they articulate their own perception and identities. Sobchack’s account of film experience may also be applied to animation, which should be likewise acknowledged as a site that allows the viewer to access the world of others, and through which the viewer dialectically constructs his or her subjectivity. In this regard, Wendy Hsu’s study is inspiring, putting forward the idea of”performative” viewing of anime (Japanese animation). As a non-Japanese, Hsu examines the spectatorship of this transnational media text. Her observation rests on Sobchack’s view of film watching as an embodied experience in specific social and cultural contexts, and embraces the idea of active spectatorship.68 Similar to Sobchack’ s perspective, Hsu’ s “performative” mode of viewing emphasizes a self-reflective process of viewer perception, through recognition of what is familiar and unfamiliar (uncanny) to one’s cultural home: a reflexive dialogue between the viewer and the text. As Hsu contends, citing Susan Napier, watching animation (anime in particular) gives rise to “a heightened self-consciousness” pp. 3-4. 68 Wendy Hsu, “Misreading the Random: A Translational Reading of the Japanese Anime Cowboy Bebop.” Unpublished MA thesis (University of Virginia, 2004). While Hsu’s research addressed only a TV anime, the same logic works with theatrical animated works. 50 among American fans,69 through the defamiliarization evoked by the text. If animation itself is considered as creating “another world,” this reflexivity could potentially operate among Japanese viewers of anime as well. Moreover, Hsu’s observation suggests that the anime viewer “performs,” while acting and reacting to what is happening on the screen. This indicates that the viewer’s subjectivity is articulated by his or her conscious interaction with the world (of “others”) projected on the screen, not only by the viewer’s reception of text at the unconscious level. It also highlights the self-other dialogue that is centered upon neither the subject (the viewer self) nor the object (the text), but the space in-between. The activeness of animation spectatorship, more so than live-action film, is encapsulated by the term “migrant gaze”70—a reflexive viewing of the text, which allows the viewer’s gaze at the text to reflect back on his or her self. The above conceptualizations emphasize the idea of articulating subjectivity through the film experience as a conscious and participatory action. It is also suggested, coupled with Sobchack’s view, that dialogic film viewing may produce a perception that differs from that established by presumed coding that could gain access to the viewer’s unconscious. In the contemporary globalizing, mass-mediated world characterized by rampant cultural boundary crossing, fantasy is central in identity politics. This chapter has mapped out a theoretical framework regarding mechanisms of identity (de)articulation through fantasy, mainly the fantasy created by/in film. Later chapters examine a particular genre 69 Susan Napier, Animefrom Akira to Howl s Moving Castle: Experiencing Contemporaiy Japanese Animation (New York: Palgrave, 2005), p. 242. 70 Hsu, p. 30. About a migrant’s gaze, also see Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, Destination Culture: Tourism, Museums, and Heritage (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995). 51 of film: animation. Animated fantasy plays a significant role in articulating individual and collective identities, and operates similarly with live-action film in some aspects and differently in others. The theoretical discussions in this chapter are offered as methodological tools for analyzing specific animated texts. This dissertation does not involve audience analysis based on interviews or surveys. While I acknowledge the value of such direct methods of researching audience response, research based on interviews with sample audience members is always susceptible to being skewed in economic, cultural, or other terms, which can drastically limit its value. What I would like to pursue in the chapters that follow, without falling into a deterministic view of texts, is an explanation of the linkage between creators’ intention, text, and intended viewers, a linkage that potentially brings about a significant degree of influence on the production of cultural identities. 52 Chapter 2: Studies of Animation and Anime Animation is an intriguing medium of expression through which to investigate the relationship between media representations and the articulation of cultural identities, not simply because of the scarcity of previous research on this medium, but also because of its unique nature. Thus, while animation shares many qualities with live-action films, it is important to study animation independently. In this chapter I sketch out the development of animation in the West that influenced animation production in Asia, particularly in Japan (in terms both of techniques and narratives/text). I also introduce the medium’s “morphotic” and “myth-making” characteristics, which facilitate the conveying of creators’ ideas and accelerate the function of animation as an ideological apparatus. I focus on particular characteristics rather than providing an all-inclusive observation of this medium. Because of its long-term status as a leading player that laid the foundation in the industry, and its innovation of genres, styles, and business models, I pay particular attention to Disney animation as a model of animation in the West (particularly the U.S.) in this and the following chapter. Based on these observations, my core discussion evolves around the development and characteristics of anime which make it a distinctive medium, and which are influenced by the West and Asia, as well as in turn iiifluencing them. I also discuss and demonstrate some similarities and differences in issues of gender and racial/national representations in both Western animation and anime, as these are significant factors in articulating viewers’ cultural identities. 53 It is also imperative to note here that some define animation as a genre of film instead of a medium, considering a “medium” as a “technical form” or physical transmission device by which the means of communication are actualized (i.e., radio, TV, books, photographs, and films). However, in this dissertation I characterize animation as a “medium,” using the term in a broad sense that refers to a means to convey messages, which is similar to the way that acting and facial expressions may also be considered to be media of expression. I also define animation broadly in the sense that it encompasses multiple modes of delivery, such as film, TV, and video games. That is, I consider a medium as “an intermediate agency that enables communication to take place,” and that transmits codes to convey messages.’ Animation has its own grammar, codes, and techniques to convey messages, which differ significantly from those of live-action films, as well as other media. (As Paul Wells points out, for example, movements of animation are not directly recorded in the conventional photographic sense, unlike live-action film.) The view of animation as a distinctive medium of expression is also suggested by Jayne Pilling, who recognizes animation as “a medium that spans a far wider range of films than that of cartoons only for children.”2 Others who see animation in the same light include Paul Wells, John A. Walker and Sarah Chaplin, and Charles Solomon. Likewise, I identify anime as a “medium,” not a genre of animation, since anime, rather than being limited by its theme, encompasses various genres. As Susan Napier and other anime critics such as Christopher Bolton and Thomas Lamarre emphasize, anime ‘In this regard, see Key Concepts in Communication and Cultural Studies, eds. Tim O’Sullivan, et al. (London: Routledge, 1994), pp. 176-77. 2 Pilling, “Introduction,” in A Reader in Animation Studies, ed. Jayne Pilling (London: John Libbey & Company Pty Ltd. 1997), p. ix. Also see Wells in Understanding Animation, p. 6, John A. Walker and Sarah Chaplin in Visual Culture: An Introduction (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1997), p. 33; Charles Solomon in “Animation: Notes on a Definition,” in The Art ofthe Animated Image: An Anthology, ed. Charles Solomon (Los Angeles: American Film Institute, 1987), p. 12. 54 creates a distinctive aesthetic world that works with “distinctive visual elements” that are combined with “an array of generic, thematic, and philosophical structures” and different sets of codes.3 Therefore, it should not be studied simply as a category of animation. 2.1. The Development of Animation and Some of Its Characteristics 2.1.1. Definition of animation Paul Wells states that “the animated film has the capacity to redefme the orthodoxies of live-action narratives and images, and address the human condition with as much authority and insight as any live-action film.”4 This not only indicates that animation and live-action film share an equal level of sophistication, but also underlines the significant differences between the two forms of media. Before moving to more complex discussions of animation, it is imperative to defme this medium. Wells defines animation as follows: To animate, and the related words, animation, animated and animator, all derive from the [L]atin verb, animare, which means ‘to give life to,’ and within the context of the animated film, this largely means the artificial creation of the illusion of movement in inanimate lines and forms.5 Similarly, Norman McLaren, an eminent British animator, describes animation as “the art of manipulating the invisible interstices between frames” to create a narrative.6 These Susan Napier, Anime from Akira to Howl s Moving Castle: Experiencing Contemporary Japanese Animation (New York: Palgrave, 2005), P. 10. Also, see Christopher A. Bolton, “From Wooden Cyborgs to Celluloid Souls: Mechanical Bodies in Anime and Japanese Puppet Theater,” in Positions 10: 3 (2002), p. 737. “Wells, Understanding Animation (London: Routledge, 1998), p. 4. Wells, Understanding Animation, p. 10. 6 Solomon, “Animation: Notes on a Definition,” p. 11. Scholars and film critics in Japan also understand a general technical definition of the medium in the same way. See Tsugata Nobuyuki, Animeshon-gaku nyãmon (An Introduction to Study of Animation) (Tokyo: Heibon-sha, 2005); Imamura Taihei, Manga eiga ron (Theory of Animated Film) (Tokyo: Iwanami, 1992), p. 16. 55 defmitions suggest that the creators of animation can manipulate reality according to their intentions, producing through animation what Wells calls a “subjective reality.”7 The creation of illusion in animation is done conventionally in a two-dimensional space, which is distinguished from the fictional world of live-action film that entails a higher degree of conformity with the laws of physics.8 The two-dimensionality of animation allows an illusionary world to be illustrated more effectively than in three- dimensional live-action films, because of animation’s greater distance from physical reality. Animation allows creators to flexibly manipulate the existing assumptions of “reality” in order to project their own ideas. Donald Crafton describes animators’ relation to their texts as “self-figuration,”9highlighting the animators’ injection of themselves into their texts, more so than in any other type of film. Wells strongly believes that flexibility is one of the major features that distinguish animation from live-action film.’0Even granting the increasing overlap between animation and live-action film due to technological advancement (e.g. computer graphics and editing devices), he argues that animation remains relatively more flexible than live-action. Wells calls animation’s freedom of depiction and flexibility “morphotic.” It is because of the morphotic nature of animated images, Wells argues, that animation can subvert our Wells, Understanding Animation, p. 27.8 Paul Wells, Animation: Genre and Authorship (London: Wallflower, 2002), p. 15. In recent years animators have experimented with techniques that produce a sense of three-dimensionality, in computer- generated films such as Shrek (2001). None of the films I address in this study is in this mode, however, and, in any case, even apparently “three-dimensional” animation is distanced from physical reality in the sense that what it depicts never had a material, three-dimensional existence in the “real world.” Crafton, Before Mickey: The Animated Film 1896-1928 (Cambridge: The MIT Press, 1982), p. 11. ‘°This point is affirmed by other scholars as well. See Philip Kelly Denslow, “What is animation and who needs to know?” in A Reader in Animation Studies, pp. 1-4; Solomon, p. 9. 56 accepted notion of reality and challenge the orthodox understanding of our existence and surroundings.11 In addition, in terms of the persuasive power of the “reality” created by media, different media affect viewers and elicit involvement in the meaning-making process to different degrees. In this regard, Marshall MeLuhan categorizes media into “hot” and “cool,” based on the degree of the viewer’s engagement with that media’s texts. A “hot” medium, such as live-action film, explicitly presents a significant amount of information (through raw materials), so that it does not require much work on the part of viewers to make sense of it. In contrast, “cool” media, such as comics and animation, are composed of simplified signs, which entail a more active role for viewers in meaning-making.’2It can be argued that the more actively viewers are involved in the interpretation process, the less likely it is that they will be affected by the ideological messages embedded in the text. In this sense, I would argue that animation, as a medium that requires the viewer’s active participation in meaning making, has a greater potential to challenge stereotypes than live- action film; and that is a strong motivation to study the ideological messages in animated works. Based on the above observations, in this dissertation, I define animation as a medium that generates an illusionary “reality” that reflects creators’ woridviews, and through which creators provide narratives and tropes for viewers to articulate cultural (national, gender, racial) identities. The animated world is therefore a socially and culturally constructed one, reflecting both creators’ backgrounds and the discourses in See Wells, Understanding Animation. 12 Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media: the Extetisiotis ofMan. (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1964). 57 which they are situated. It is a sphere that should not be mistaken for an innocent form of production, but should be recognized as one of the sites for identity struggle. 2.1.2. The development of animation in the West Twenty-five thousand years ago, in the caves of southwestern Europe, Cro Magnon man made astounding drawings of the animals he hunted. His representations are not only accurate and beautifully drawn, but many seem to have an inner life combined with a suggestion of movement. Since that time, we have been inundated with artists’ attempts to shape something in clay or stone or paint that has a life of its own.13 — Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston Human beings have always had an urge to create representations of non-living things that seem animate. This urge was concretely materialized in the form of the flipbook in the sixteenth century, which operated based on the persistence of vision, a fundamental cognitive mechanism on which contemporary animation also relies.’4 It is unfortunate that, despite its invention prior to live-action film production, animation has been overshadowed in the research, theory and criticism of visual media. The history of animation has paralleled the development of visual technologies in the West: moving images, film technologies, sound, and color. In France, Emile Reynaud invented the praxinoscope in 1876, based on a previous moving-image toy, the zoetrope, which was invented by British mathematician Wiliam George Homer in 1834. The praxinoscope allowed the viewer to watch moving images projected in a mirror. Reynaud gradually improved the technology of his machine, and eventually in 1982 introduced the ‘ Franic Thomas and Ollie Johnston, The illusion ofLife: Disney Animation (New York: Walt Disney Production, 1981), p. 13. 14 Imamura, Eiga mangaron, p. 7. According to Imamura and Wells, the theory of persistence of vision, which explains how hwnans perceive movement, had emerged as early as 65 B.C.E. 58 Theater Optique, wherein he sequentially projected images from hand-painted glass plates, each of which was a little different from the next, producing an effect of continuous movement. As an early type of animation, this technique is also considered to be a big step toward the current concept of film-making more generally. These inventions were incorporated in Thomas Alva Edison’s invention of the kinetoscope in 1891, which was followed by the Lumiere Brothers’ cinematographe (essentially the modem film projector) in 1895 in France.’5 The first book specializing in animation was Animated Cartoons, published in London in 1920, just about ten years after the invention of conventional film animation.’6 The Disney Studio later made animation prominent in visual culture, but nonetheless the medium has experienced decades of relative critical neglect. As the twentieth century progressed, animation began to appear in an increasingly wide range of venues—from films, computer games, web sites, and TV commercials to ATM bank machine screens. Against this background, the previously marginalized medium of animation began to be acknowledged in cultural, economic, and political spheres, and began to draw attention in academic circles as well. After World War II, animation began to be treated as a distinctive medium by organized scholarly bodies, such as the International Association of Animated Film (founded in 1960), the Society for Animation Studies (SAS, founded in 1989), and Women in Animation (founded in 1993), and the study of animation has increasingly grown to be a recognized research field. In addition, the success of animated feature films such as Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, Wallace & Gromit, and Akira, along with the ‘ See Wells, Understanding Animation; Tsugata, Animation-gaku. 16 This book contains the explanation of visual technologies that contributed to the invention of animation and of the technical description of the production process. See Tsugata, Animation-gaku, p. 109. 59 increasing popularity of animation among adult audiences, started bringing more scholarly attention to the medium.17 Yet, while film studies have significantly developed since the 1960s in various aspects, animation studies—including the medium’s history, theory and criticism—have remained marginal, because of the conventional belief that animation is a transparent and “innocent” form of entertainment for children. This view has been perpetuated alongside the concept of “innocent childhood” in North American society, which has been taken for granted in part due to the pervasiveness of the aesthetic of Disney animation since 1928.18 These conceptualizations mask the fact that “innocent childhood” is a fairly recent social construct which allows the dominant discourse to permeate society, supported by adult producers’ and authorities’ interests rather than children’s preferences or needs. In recent years the view of animation as an “innocent” cultural form has begun to be questioned, and in this study I emphasize that this medium should be understood as a manifestation of political and ideological conflicts. Eric Smoodin provides a useful understanding of the way that “norms” that are founded on dominant ideologies are constructed through Hollywood cartoons and 17 See Jayne Pilling’s emphasis on a recognition of animation as a field of study in her “Introduction” to A Reader in Animation Studies, ed. Jayne Pilling (London: John Libbey & Company Pty Ltd. 1997), pp. ix-xii; Eric Smoodin, Animating Culture: Hollywood Cartoons from the Sound Era (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1993), p. l.A Reader in Animation maps out the diversity of contemporary animation studies. In the introductory chapter Jayne Pilling lists the main disciplines in which papers have been presented at SAS conferences in the 1 990s, including cultural studies, sociology, film history, and feminist studies. Along with this variety of disciplines, the recent topics dealt with are also certainly diverse, ranging from ethnicity and diversity, the globalization of animation in the industrial context, modes of production, and canon formations, to gender theory. The book encompasses a variety of topics; however, the fact that this “international” scholarly organization and yet it focuses mainly on studies of European and American animated works indicates room for further progress in this field of study. See Pilling, “Introduction,” pp. xiv-xv. ‘ With regard to the concept (or the myth) of “innocent childhood,” see Neil Postman’s Disappearing Childhood (New York: Vintage Books, 1982). There is a fme line between “innocent childhood” and “children as hope for the future,” and I will discuss Miyazaki Hayao’s view’s on children as audience in Chapter 3. 60 government involvement in the industry from 1928 to l96O.’ From his analysis, he concludes that cultural products act to impose norms and regulations on viewers through their production and consumption. Lynn Spigel verifies this view, emphasizing the commodification and politicization of childhood, and identifying children’s media as a vehicle for colonizing the world through image-making that represents American jingoisms.2°Julianne Burton-Carvajal concurs: [p]recisely because of their assumed innocence and innocuousness, their inherent ability.., to defy all conventions of realistic representation, animated cartoons offer up a fascinating zone within which to examine how a dominant culture constructs its subordinates.21 All of these critics underscore the constructed “innocence” of animation, which potentially allows the dominant ideas to insinuate into the viewer’s mind conveniently and effectively. Many studies have been done on Disney animation, including Walt Disney as an auteur, the studio’s history, its political impact, and so on.22 To many people, “animation” is synonymous with Disney, and largely for this reason, other animated works (non Disney productions) inside or outside the United States have been significantly neglected,23despite their increasing growth and the significant roles that they play. See Smoodin, Animating Culture, and also studies on Disney as a key player in the construction of dominant ideologies can go back at least as early as Richard Schickel’s The Disney Version: The Times, Art, and Commerce of Walt Disney (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1968). 20L)’rm Spigel, “Innocence Abroad: The Geopolitics of Childhood in Postwar Kid Strips,” in Kid’s Media Culture, ed. Marsha Kinder (Durham: Duke University Press, 1999). 21 Julianne Burton-Carvajal, “Surprise Package: Looking southward with Disney,” in Disney Discourse: Producing the Magic Kingdom, ed. Eric Smoodin (New York: Routledge, 1994), p. 139.22 Studies on Disney animations include: Paul Wells, Animation and America (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2002); Smoodin, Animating Culture; articles in Disney Discourse, ed. Eric Smoodin; and From Mouse to Mermaid: The Politics ofFilm, Gender and Culture, eds. Elizabeth Bell, Lynda Haas, Laura Sells (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1995). 23 This is not to say that there are no studies of animation outside the Disney Studios. Significant works in this field include: Paul Wells, “Animation: Forms and Meanings”, in An Introduction to Film Studies ed. Jill 61 2.1.3. Animation as a myth-making tool Some scholars argue that one of the main reasons that animation travels with little difficulty across national boundaries lies in its low level of “cultural discount,” or its “culturally odorless” quality.24 “Culturally odorless” refers to products whose cultural specificity and distinctiveness are negligible, so that they can be easily accepted by a global audience. This view of animation is reinforced by well-known film critic Sergei Eisenstein’s naïve yet influential vision of the medium as ideologically neutral because of its engagement with only the “surface of the phenomenon.” In Eisenstein’s view, the animated form itself resists “looking beneath to the origins, at the reasons and causes, at the conditions and pre-conditions.”25 He seems in turn to emphasize the apparent pleasure (form/style) of the animated media text over its implications (content/message). These observations have a certain truth; however, they neglect the complexity of animated texts, failing to take into account the messages embedded in and generated around specific animated narratives: it is important to remember that animation is a content-based medium, which, as Wells suggests, “can carry important meanings and engage with social issues.”26 In other words, animation, composed of both visual and narrative textual elements, is a communication vehicle, purveying narratives or giving instructions. Although animation embraces various functions, its storytelling or narrative Nelmes (London and New York: Routledge, 2003); Wells, Understanding Animation; Wells, Animation: Genre andAuthorship (London: Wallflower Press, 2002); Jayne Pilling, A Reader in Animation Studies; and Maureen Furniss, Art in Motion: Animation Aesthetics (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1998). 24 The term “cultural discount” is mentioned in Stuart McFadyen, Cohn Hoskins, and Adam Finn, Global Television and Film: An Introduction to the Economics ofthe Business (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1997), pp. 32-33; “Culturally odorless” is mentioned in Iwabuchi, p. 27.25 Sergei Eisenstein, Eisenstein on Disney ed. Jay Leyda (Calcutta: Seagull Books, 1986), p. 23. 26Wells Understanding Animation, p. 4. This idea is verified by his brief discussion of a scene from The Blackboard Jungle (1955). In the film, there is a scene where a teacher uses an animation to get delinquent boys engaged in his class, and the animation inspires them to raise questions about the images on the screen. 62 creation is one of the main characteristics of this medium. Thus, through the viewing of animated texts, viewers are acquiring or exchanging ideas or ideologies with the texts’ creators, and through the production and consumption process, narratives pertaining to national, gender, or class identities can be established—a process of myth-making—in both producing and recipient countries. As discussed in Chapter 1, consumers also assist in the production of meanings and narratives when viewing animation. I discuss the elements of narrative creation in animated film which aid in maintaining dominant ideologies below. (1) Linear narrativization One of the strategies for creating myths that tie to identity politics and our perception of the world is linear narrativization. Linear narrative refers to a plot that proceeds from beginning to end without deviation, whose organization is preconceived to allow writers to guide the reader/viewer to their prescribed reading.27 This narrative style assumes that readers gain pleasure not from having a choice of how to read, but from being led. Animated texts in the West often adhere to a linear narrative structure28:a typical problem-solution-happy ending/moralization plot from one of Disney’s “princess stories” (from the classic Snow White (1937) and Cinderella (1950) to the more recent Mulan (1998)), for example. This can reinforce dominant ideologies regarding gender 27 For a more detailed explanation of linear narrative, see Jennifer Fraser, Visualizing a Hypertext Narrative (Ottawa: Carleton University, 1999), p.’7, and also Hayden White, “The Value ofNarrativity in the Representation of Reality,” in Critical Inquiry 7: 1 (1980), pp. 5-27.28 This point is suggested in studies such as Jack Zipes, “Breaking the Disney Spell,” in From Mouse to Mermaid: The Politics ofFilm, Gender, and Culture, eds. Elizabeth Bell, Lynda Hans, Laura Sells (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1995), and Henry A. Giroux, “Memory and Pedagogy in the ‘Wonderful World of Disney’: Beyond the Politics of Innocence,” in From Mouse to Mermaid: The Politics ofFilm, Gender, and Culture, eds. Elizabeth Bell, Lynda Haas, Laura Sells (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1995). 63 and/or racial identities: such narratives allow little scope for imagining alternate interpretations or alternate gender identity articulations. Linear narrativization also operates to create a narrative coherence between different media or between fantasy and reality, which even allows for adding “conventional plots to inherently plotless materials.”29 In the case of Disney’s project, for example, linear narrativization helps to establish a narrative coherence between the animated film or TV show, theme parks, and merchandise: the Wonderful World of Disney. In this World, the viewing of an animation may be followed by a visit to one of several theme parks, where visitors are guided in a programmed direction. The purchase of synergetic merchandise completes the “Disney narrative.” In other words, a narrative coherence maintained by images and plot, as well as products in daily life, suppresses possible (mis)readings of a text, and subsequently contributes to the uniform perception of issues around us, such as identity politics or the view of “self’ and “other.” Linear narratives make viewers susceptible and subservient to those in a position of power in society, through ideologies that are produced, reproduced, and internalized in the viewer’s mind. (2) Escapism: Sugar-coating unpleasant reality Components such as linear narrativization often work to conceal the cruel aspects and realities of historical events, sanitizing and simplifying cultural problems such as racism. This approach is related to a desire for escapism, an important element for pleasure in the fantasy world. According to Tim O’Sullivan, escapism is a “process which 29 M. Johnson, “Disney World as Structure and Symbol: Re-Creation of the American Experience,” Journal ofPopular Culture 15: 1(1981), p. 162. 64 enables the individual to withdraw from unpleasant or threatening situations by recourse to preferred symbolic or imaginative states.”3° The narrative simplification pertaining to conflicting histories or perceptions of “enemies” practiced by Disney animations explicitly creates an ideal, simplistic space for escapism, and instead establishes the “friendly neighbor of the U.S. Latin America” (Three Caballeros, 1944) or “the devious Middle East” (Aladdin, 1992), for example. Disney narratives representing specific cultures or peoples, such as Pocahontas (1995) and Mulan (1998), tend to wipe out complex politics and unpleasant realities to guide viewers to a “make-believe” world where everything is peaceful and transparent. Henry Giroux stresses this aspect of Disney narratives, describing them as vehicles for rationalizing the authoritarian, normalizing tendencies of dominant culture.31 With this strategy, histories of oppression such as colonialism or inter-cultural, racial or sexual conflicts can be effectively purged. In this respect, Disney animation does not necessarily offer the audience realistic ways of living in society, but often provides only the compensatory pleasures of a fantasy world. The implications of this will be discussed more closely in the next chapter. (3) Essentialist representation: gender and raciallnational identities According to Said, the myth of the “Other” is constructed by “imaginative geography and history,” which “help the mind to intensify its own sense of itself by dramatizing the distance and difference between what is close to it and what is far 30Key Concepts in Communication and Cultural Studies, eds. Tim O’Sullivan, et al. (London: Routledge, 1994), p. 106. 31 Giroux, “Memory and Pedagogy in the ‘Wonderful World of Disney,” p. 46. 65 away.”32 The same argument can be made about animated fantasy, which is capable of creating an “imaginative geography and history” through the dramatization of “distance and difference.” To make myths that “dramatize the distance” between “self’ and “other” is to over-emphasize or to essentialize the difference between the two. Articulating the essentialist mode in which the Western (post)colonial discourse of the “Other” operates through the sexualization of race in live-action films, Ella Shohat notes: The gender and colonial discursive intersection is revealed in the ways that Hollywood exploited the Orient, Africa, and Latin America as a pretext for eroticized images, especially from 1934 through the mid-fifties when the restrictive production code forbade depicting “scenes of passion” in all but the most puerile terms Exoticising and eroticizing the Third World allowed the imperial imaginary to play out its own fantasies of sexual domination.33 Stereotypical representations of races have often been seen in animation in the United States and other Western countries, providing a sense of security to white subjectivity.34 The racial/ethnic representations in many Hollywood animations (such as those produced by Disney, the Fleischer Brothers Studio, Warner Bros., and MGM) provide good examples of the type of myth-making that resorts to the essentialization of certain groups. This mode of representation of the Orient is manifested in, for example, Disney’s Aladdin, which is closely investigated in Chapter 4. Similarly, in Chapter 6, I discuss at length the national, racial and gender images that constitute Disney’s Mulan (1998), which at first glance appears to challenge gender and ethnic stereotypes, but actually reinforces them in a variety of ways. 32 Said, Orientalism, p. 55. Ella Shohat, “Gender and the Culture of Empire: Toward a Feminist Ethnography of the Cinema,” in Quarterly Review ofFilm and Video 13:1-3 (1991), pp. 68-69. This is not to suggest that non-white nations do not also produce stereotyped or essentialized depictions of race or ethnicity. Racial representation strategies practiced by non-white “others” are discussed in Chapter 1 and Chapter 5. 66 It is important to note that, according to studies of Hollywood animations, a significant number of animated narratives continuously redefme the way in which gender and race/ethnicity are represented, and this becomes especially noticeable in times of national identity crises or conflicts in foreign affairs.35 A specific example is introduced by Wells, who examines American animated works that present Nazi Germany and Japan during the Second World War, in which antagonistic codes are used to portray “other” races, in order to establish American national narratives of heroism and to secure “masculine identity.”36 In other words, dominant modes of representation continually shift in the socio-political context. In the age of globalization, decolonization and the de centralization in the world system have heightened identity crises and a sense of insecurity and anxiety within the power center, resulting, in some cases, in new instances of raciaL/ethnic or gender stereotyping. As we have seen in Chapter 1, it is a mistake to believe that power relationships of dominance and oppression are simple, or that they are necessarily stable over time. Nonetheless, inequality between nations or between racial/ethnic groups within nations remains surprisingly persistent, resulting in long-term unbalance in the ways or degrees to which some groups may be represented in discourse. Since the l940s, increasing public resistance to stereotyping in the United States has put pressure on filmmakers to address See Burton-Carvajal, and Smoodin’s, Animating Culture. 36 To illustrate the racial representation in animation, Wells uses one episode of the Superman series, “Jungle Drums” (1943), in which an Allied spy plane is shot down by Nazis, as well as briefly mentioning “Bugs Bunny Nips the Nips” (1944, Warner Bros.), in which Bugs fights against very stereotypically depicted Japanese soldiers, demonstrating violence and antagonism towards the Japanese. (See Wells, Understanding Animation, pp. 193-95). In this Bugs Bunny episode, Japanese soldiers have buckteeth and speak language (or mere noise) that is not Japanese, and act violently in a barbaric manner with swords. A Japanese woman with kimono (Bugs Bunny in disguise) is depicted as seductive and manipulative. Also, in Animating Culture Smoodin discusses “mythologised stereotypical American values” brought into play through representations of Mickey Mouse’s masculine characteristics. (See, pp. 64-67). Both studies indicate how closely gendered representations intersect with racial or national narratives in animated texts, particularly in the 1 930s and the 1 940s. 67 the issue of unequal representation in film of African Americans, Hispanics, and women, to name just a few examples. Despite the pressure brought by interest groups, which has resulted in diminished racist imagery, “positive images did not increase” until the 1970s, as Maureen Furniss points out.37 Essentialized representations of gender are also plentiful in North American animation. Wells points out the existence of a male-dominant code of representation in Disney productions, as well as in animated versions of Superman (1941, the Fleischer Brothers Studio) and Popeye (1932, the Fleischer Brothers Studio). This, Wells explains, derives from the fact that the animation industry in the West is overall “pathologically male, run by men in the spirit of expressing the interests of men, creating patriarchal hierarchies in major studios.”38 In these works, male characters are defined by their physical actions, whereas female characters are defined by signifiers of conventional “feminine” appearance (Mickey Mouse vs. Minnie Mouse; Popeye vs. Olive Oyl) and portrayed as “difference,” in comparison to their male counterparts. This emphasis on “difference” serves to reinforce the polarization of the gender binary. According to Wells, these depictions of female characters accelerate the infantalizing or sexualizing of women. In this respect, the animated body is a crucial site for the (re)inscribing of masculinity and femininity, in the ways that gender (and/or race) is embodied through characters’ appearance, behaviors, or physical movements. Since the 1980s, the academic world has been more and more critical of essentialist aspects of Disney animations, largely because of their problematic representations of certain groups of people and cultures. The issue of representation is an Fumiss, p. 232. 38 Wells, Understanding Animation, p. 187. Although I do not address this issue in detail in this study, Japanese animation studios are similarly male-dominated and patriarchal. 68 issue of power politics, and therefore, the discussion of animation texts in relation to cultural identity articulation should address the question of who represents whom and with what intention, which is the main focus in my case studies in later chapters. 2.1.4. Subversive characteristics of animation: examples in the West (1) The deconstruction of myths of “gender identity” Wells regards animation as a potential tool to be used to resist the patriarchal discourse of media representations, which cannot be accomplished as easily through live- action film. He states that: [i]f men, in general, have used animation to echo and extend the premises and concerns of men in live-action film-making, then women have used animation to create a specific feminine aesthetic which resists the inherently masculine language of the live-action arena, and the most dominant codes of orthodox hyper-realist animation which also use its vocabulary.39 In his study, Wells reveals in the works of several female animators a “feminine aesthetic” which deconstructs the concept of masculinity that has been privileged in many live-action films and in orthodox Disney animation. According to him, the feminine aesthetic has the following attributes: 1) Women’s animation recognizes the shift from the representation of woman as object, to the representation of woman as subject. This seeks to move away from traditions in which women are merely erotic spectacles or of marginal narrational interest. 2) The feminine aesthetic mistrusts language, perceiving it as the agent of masculine expression, preferring to express itself in predominantly visual terms, using a variety of forms, and reclaiming and revising various traditions. 3) In order to construct a feminine aesthetic, it is necessary to abandon conservative forms, and create radical texts which may demand greater participation from the viewing audience. Wells, Understanding Animation, p. 198. 69 4) The feminine aesthetic seeks to reveal a woman’s relationship to her own body; her interaction with men and other women; her perception of her private and public role; her social and political identity within the domestic and professional space, as determined by law; and also, the relationship between female sexuality, desire, and creativity.40 Defined by these characteristics, the “feminine aesthetic” in animation is a key element of subversive visual and narrative representations, which work either to expose the instability of gender identity categorizations or to create representations that transform the female “other” into the female-as-subject. (This account of the feminine aesthetic and its potential leaves open the question of whether male animators can also employ it to make subversive animation texts.) Furthermore, animation’s nature of being free from physical laws, a logical consequence of its two-dimensionality, also aids in challenging dominant or presumed codes of depiction, a process that Thomas Lamarre describes as “metamorphosis”41—a rejection of fixed forms of expression or a resistance to realistic illustration. That is, the mutability presented through the animated body constantly in flux effectively illustrates the instability of identities (such as gender and race), and this mutable body can therefore deconstruct essentialist categorizations. Animation characters are effective in this respect, because their bodies can morph into a different sex or even a different species, unlike live 40As an example of the “feminine aesthetic” in animation, Wells introduces the work of animator Faith Hubley, who employs subjective expression, and eliminates the hard-cel and the hard line in order to challenge a male-dominated orthodox animation style and the phallocentric aspects of the language of animation. Similar practices can be seen in the work of other animators, such as Joanna Quinn’s Girl’s Night Out (1986). Wells’ list also includes Emily Hubley, who addresses sexual confusion, rape, pregnancy and social alienation in The Emergence ofEunice (1980), Alison Dc Vere, who addresses how a woman becomes more conscious of herself as a woman by interrogating the roles that have been imposed upon her in The Black Dog (1987). See Wells, Understanding Animation, p. 199-200. Thomas Lamarre, “From Animation to Anime: Drawing Movements and Moving Drawings,” p. 338. Eisenstein also expresses this characteristic of animation with the term “plasmaticness,” the mutability of images that rejects fixed forms of expression. Although plasmaticness, a resistance to realistic illustration, is a characteristic of animation in general, the concept of realism in animation is relative. For example, Disney animations after Silly Symphonies focused more on verisimilitude in characters. See Eisenstein on Disney. 70 action characters who, generally speaking, can change their gender only through changes in their outer appearance (costume, hair, behavior). In this way, playing with the sex/gender of the morphotic animated body allows “viewers to both identify with.. .different kinds of bodies, and create [a] space for polymorphously perverse spectatorial experiences.”42 This means that viewers can relatively easily experience identities other than their biological sex by means of the animated body, and that these animated bodies also draw viewers’ attention to the constructed-ness of identity categorizations, such as race or gender/sex, which we usually take for granted. Joanna Bouldin draws on one of the Loony Tunes episodes in which Bugs Bunny performs in “drag” to illustrate this point. In this episode, Bugs changes not just superficially, but fully: his body changes shape to become entirely feminine, something that would be impossible for a live actor. This mutability of sex/gender is accepted by the viewer as plausible because, although animation is highly imaginary, the animated body still resonates with our image of a real physical body. With Bugs Bunny, changes in actual body shape allow the character to perform in a way that live-actors could not, to potentially subvert conventions of gender representation. Examples of live actors enacting gender changes include Robin Williams in Mrs. Doubfire (1993) and Dustin Hoffman in Tootsie (1982), where the real bodies of the actors can be covered in ways that make them look like women, but their bodies’ real shapes do not change. Unlike Bugs Bunny, for example, the waist size of male actors in drag cannot be reduced to enhance the illusion of femininity. As Bouldin argues, the animated body offers the viewer a liminal space where he or she transcends corporeality, and at the same time the relatively “realistic” depictions of people in animation make it 42 Bouldin, “Bodacious Bodies and the Voluptuous Gaze,” p. 63. 71 possible for real people to identify with the animated characters. “Identity,” in the case of the animated body is, therefore, contingent on continuous (re)articulation. Observing this process in the context of animated narratives may make the notion of constructed-ness of gender identity—even in real life—more compelling. From these observations, it can be argued that the stereotypical representations of the race/ethnicity or gender of characters’ bodies in orthodox animation such as Disney’s works tend to confine viewers’ corporeal experience of animation. On the other hand, the representation of subversive corporeal performances by animated bodies may help in emancipating marginalized subjects in society: by watching bodies mutate, those in marginal groups may be encouraged to think about the constructed nature of typically assumed identity categories. At the same time, the recognition of this nature may make those in dominant groups more accepting of “others” that they formerly ignored or despised. Although these subversive narratives often tend to target niche markets, they have been increasing in number. Animated works that disturb gender/sexual identity categorization include Girls Night Out (1987), in which a scantily-clad, muscle-bound stripper’s naked body positions female viewers as capable of using the gaze for their own voyeuristic pleasure—a reverse of the way that female bodies are typically fragmented and eroticized for gaze of male viewers in the dominant media discourse. (2) The destabilization of the concept of “racial/ethnic identity” The abovementioned approach, by which “femininity” and “masculinity” are re defmed, may also be relevant to the question of racial representation.43 However, while a number of animated works highlight the constructed nature of gender identity, the racial See Wells, Understanding Animation, p. 188. 72 body seems to remain more often stereotypically depicted. Nor have there been many studies that identify Western animated works that challenge an essentialist view of racial identities by means of the animated body. This may be because, compared to gender and sexuality, the representation of race is more difficult to overturn through characters’ bodies. Or it may be that racial “others” have so far used animation less often as a vehicle to expose and subvert conventions of racial stereotyping. It must be noted that discussions of representation in animation have been focused on Western animated works, particularly those created by Disney. Wells’ studies also concentrate heavily on North American and European animated works. A better understanding of mechanisms that link representations in animated texts and potential articulation of cultural identities entails the theoretical exploration of works from Asia— Japan in particular—to which I turn next. 2.2. What is Anime? Only it [animej can counterbalance the hegemony of American animation in Asia and the world, showing that globalization of popular culture does not necessarily imply homogenization or Americanization.’ —Wai-Ming Ng In the field of animation, the United States (Disney in particular) has dominated the global market. However, the phenomenon of this one-way flow from the United States to peripheral countries began to change from the late 1980s and 1990s, and that change included the tremendous growth of Japanese animation, as Wai-Ming Ng’s quote (above) suggests. This recent change in the animation industry scene may be interpreted Wai-Ming Ng, “Japanese Animation in Singapore: An Historical and Comparative Study,” in Animation Journal 9 (2001), p. 47. 73 as a sign of increasing resistance to American cultural hegemony. Supporting this view, Wells describes “a whole range of animation from across the six continents” as “the fullest example of the appeal of animation to express personal, socio-cultural and national concerns that bear no relation to the American context at all.”45 This suggests that the “resistance” to American hegemony was not necessarily intentional—it is just that more countries have the means and the desire to produce animation, and thus North American products automatically become less central. As a result of this, these countries are given a means through which they may countervail the hegemony. This statement indicates that in an age of globalization, animation produced in previously (or currently) marginalized countries plays a significant role in (re)establishing national identity through the imaginary, and in turn undercutting American-centered ideologies and aesthetics. Anime (contemporary Japanese animation) is a national cultural form that has grown increasingly popular—both at home and abroad—since the 1 980s and 1 990s. Anime frequently evokes Japan’s problematic national identity in relation to the concept of “otherness,” which, as we shall see, is often intertwined with issues of gender and sexuality. 2.2.1. The history of anime and anime research The term anime in this study refers not to the entire slate of animation made in Japan from the first animated cartoon in 1917,46 but to contemporary animation produced Wells, Animation: Genre and Authorshiv, p. 3 46Japan’s first animated film shown at a theater was made by Shimokawa Bokoten. This short-length animation was made by drawing with ink directly on the film stock. See Yamaguchi Yasuo, Nihon no anime zenshi (The Entire History of Japanese Anime) (Tokyo: Ten Books, 2004), pp. 44-46. 74 after the 1960s and 1970s. The history of anime therefore spans only the last thirty to forty years. It was not until after the Second World War that Japan started to be recognized as a significant animated film production center. Film critic Imamura Taihei designates 1958, when Japan’s first feature-length color animation Hakujaden (The Legend ofthe White Serpent) was produced, as the moment when Japanese animation reached an acceptable level of achievement.47 Hakujaden was produced by the first large-scale animation studio, TOei Doga (Toei Motion Picture). The early 1960s was time of rapid economic growth for Japan, and this allowed many families to purchase television sets for their homes. Soon TV animated cartoons targeting children sparked a boom in Japan’s animation industry. Animation at that time was known as “manga eiga” (comic book film) or “terebi manga” (TV comic book) in Japan.48 It was from the late 1 970s and early 1 980s that anime began to cater to older age groups, and this became a major characteristic of contemporary anime. This is also when anime started to become recognized worldwide as one of the most appealing visual media of Japan. The 1980s and the 1990s witnessed the global anime boom, a phenomenon that has shown steady growth for the last few decades. What is especially noteworthy during this period is the fact that anime began to demonstrate a distinctive “Japaneseness,” or what Susan Pointon calls “uncompromising ‘othemess” manifested in its narrative and ‘ Imamura, Manga eigaron, p. 204.48 As I discuss later in this chapter, there is a close relationship between anime and manga, with developments in manga usually preceding those in anime. 75 visual styles.49 This distinguishes anime works from animations made in the 1960s and the 1 970s, which avoided reflecting specificities of Japanese culture or customs. As for research on anime, the first animation study in Japan began in 1934, about fifteen years after Animated Cartoons was published in London, yet there was no monograph published on animation in Japan until Imamura Taihei’s Manga Eiga ron (The Theory ofAnimated Film) in 1941. This book discusses expressive methods characteristic to Japanese animation, especially those drawn from manga (Japanese comic books) and from Japanese arts and music. Even in the 1950s, the majority of books on animation were nothing more than impressionistic studies of specific animated works. It was only gradually that critics learned how to review animation by reading European or American critical essays. From the 1960s to the 1970s, we witness development in the publication of critical essays and studies of animation, yet these studies mostly deal with animation made in the United States. It was not until the late 1970s and 1980s that a significant number of critical essays and books specializing in anime appeared.5° 2.2.2. Characteristics and types of anilne (1) Anime as a distinctive medium Tsugata Nobuyuki defines anime as characterized by the following three main features: 1) the use of cel animation, 2) the use of cost effective strategies (i.e. fewer pictures for the depiction of a scene), called limited animation, and 3) a tendency to have stories not simply of good vs evil, but of complicated human relationships and Susan Pointon, “Transcultural Orgasm as Apocalypse: Urotsukidöji: The Legend of the Overfiend,” in Wide Angle 19: 3 (1997), p. 45. ° The first magazine specializing in anime was OUT, published in 1977 followed by Animage published in 1987, Animec in 1978, The Anime in 1979, My Anime in 1979, Animedia in 1981, and New Type in 1985. (See Tsugata, Animeshon-gaku, pp. 109-111.) 76 worldviews.5’With regard to the visual aesthetics of anime, world-renowned contemporary artist Murakami Takashi argues that anime draws its distinctive visual style from an aesthetic he calls “superfiat,” an aesthetic that characterizes traditional art, and continues to be prevalent in a variety of contemporary visual forms. Murakami goes so far as to call the superfiat aesthetic “the DNA that formed Japanese culture.”52 As the name suggests, superfiat refers to a cultural preference for two-dimensional visual presentations, rather than the rounded, three-dimensional, depth-filled presentation that results from the one-point perspectivalism championed in Western visual art after the Renaissance. In anime, one typical evocation of the superfiat aesthetic is the use of a single, static, flat-looking background scene, against which the main characters move. While some film historians link this technique with the low budgets and high-pressure production schedules of early TV anime, others argue along with Murakami that this visual characteristic expresses a Japanese cultural preference for two-dimensional, flat visual presentations.53 But, as Tsugata suggests above, the definition of anime should not only refer to stylistic aspects. As Lamarre comments, “to reduce the complexity of anime is to ignore the complexity ofJapan.”54 By the same token, Susan Napier states that “[tb define anime simply as ‘Japanese cartoons’ gives no sense of the depth and variety that make up the medium.”55 Both statements emphasize the need to differentiate “anime” from 51 Tsugata Nobuyuki, Nihon animëshon no chikara (The Power of Japanese Animation) (Tokyo: NTT Shuppan, 2004), P. 21.52 Murakanii Takashi, “A Theory of Super Flat Japanese Art,” in Superfiat ed. Murakami Takashi (Tokyo: MADRA Publishing, 2000), p. 25. No translator listed. L.amarre, p. 338. Lamarre, p. 336. 55Napier, p. 6. 77 animation made in other countries, and the importance of examining anime as a distinctive medium. One of the major features that distinguishes anime from any other medium as well as from its American counterparts is its wide range of genres or themes—from romance, comedy, tragedy, adventure, and science fiction, to pornography—making it possible for virtually everyone, from young children to the elderly, to find anime that appeal to their tastes.56 This originates in the similar diversity of manga, on which anime are often based.57 According to Napier, another point that distinguishes anime from animation is its function as both a globalizing and a localizing force, reflecting Japan’s problematic identity in relation to the world.58 That is, anime as a distinctive cultural form maintains its Japanese roots; while hybridization or reciprocal influences of other (Asian and Western) cultures on anime seem to be very much a part of the development of both its narrative forms and techniques, they would not lead to a total convergence. Napier goes on to investigate Japan’s national identity configuration through anime as a national 56Napier, pp. 30-34. She further categorizes anime into three main modes of expression—apocalyptic, festival (carnival), and elegiac—which go beyond any nation-specific site and elucidate issues common among a global audience. The apocalyptic mode of anime, characterized by works such as Evangelion (TV anime, 1995, by Anno Hideaki), expresses social pessimism. The festival mode, similar to Milchail Bakhtin’s concept of “carnival,” demonstrates the privileging of transgression and carnivalesque themes and narrative structures. This mode includes works such as Ranma 1/2 (TV anime, 1989-1992, by Mochizuki Tomomitsu) and Urusei Yatsura (1’V anime, 1981-1986, by Oshii Mamoru & Yamazaki Kazuo), both of which exempli1j a festive transgression of gender and sexuality. The elegiac mode refers to lamentation and melancholy mixed with nostalgia, which links with the long lyric tradition in premodern Japanese culture, celebrating the beauty of transience. Napier points out that these modes are familiar to audiences around the world, but outside Japan are more usually found in the fields of literature or live-action films, rather than animation. Also see Frederik Schodt’s Manga! Manga! The World ofJapanese Comics (New York: Kodansha International, 1986). A large percentage of narratives that are made into anime begin as manga. The most typical process is for a manga series that has proved popular to be made into a TV anime series, and then sometimes to be repackaged into feature-length animated or sometimes even live-action films. Many popular narratives in Japan exist simultaneously as on-going serialized manga, on-going serialized TV anime, and annually released animated feature films. 58Napier, p. 27. 78 cultural form, drawing on Mitsuhiro Yoshimoto’s question about the relationship between the global circulation of images and regional boundaries: does anime reinforce national specificity, or are globally circulated images simply subsumed by globalization, effectively losing all national specificity? I will return later to the relationship between national identities and the characteristics—both form and content—of anime. (2) Anime as a national cultural form Like its Western counterpart, anime is a storytelling medium, and its narratives provide viewers with resources for their identity articulation. This section discusses the “Japaneseness” of anime, and the ways its cultural specificity (or the lack thereof) influences the kinds of messages provided by creators about gendered, racial, or national identities. The view of anime as both a global and a local force is related to the creation of national narrative, and is also associated with what “anime” signifies in the global arena. As Tsugata mentions, the term anime has been used outside Japan since around the 1990s.5 This indicates that phenomena originating outside Japan contribute to the perception of anime, as well as to the image of Japan itself: anime is now an international concept and an international product, a complex phenomenon that should not be viewed as emerging from or existing within a purely Japanese context. Some critics argue, however, that anime’s popularity abroad should not necessarily be celebrated. For instance, Darrel Hamamoto attributes anime’s overseas popularity to Tsugata, Nihon animëshon no chikara, p. 21. 79 “Asiaphilia,” a kind of fetishism for Asia that is just another side of “Asiaphobia.”6°A verification of this argument would require close investigation of who represents whose identity for what purpose, as well as examining how things are represented in anime, all of which may contribute to understanding the contemporary construction of the image of Japan. While such an examination is beyond the scope of this chapter, later chapters will contribute to a verification of Hamamoto’s thesis. Hamamoto’s view of anime becomes compelling when we look at the discourse that links anime to “Japaneseness,” closely tied to cultural nationalism, where positioning anime as a unique or “different” medium from animation creates an image of Japan as a powerful “Other” to the Western world. This image is eagerly promoted by the Japanese government as a tactic to survive in a time of rampant globalization, especially after the “bursting” of Japan’s bubble economy in the 1990s. The use of anime as a national policy has become evident in the last five years, in government strategy papers.61 One of the most representative cases is the launch of the Tokyo International Anime Fair in 2002, chaired by Ishihara Shintarö, the governor of Tokyo Prefecture. The executive committee of the event remarked in The Japan Times that this fair was “started to publicize Japan’s animation to the rest of the world and promote the animation industry in Tokyo.”62 Ishihara is introduced in the article as a ferocious nationalist who stresses the superior 60Darrel Hamamoto, “Introduction: On Asian American Film and Criticism,” in Countervisions: Asian American Film Criticism, eds. Darrel Hamamoto and Sandra Liu (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2000), p. 11. 61 Another governmental strategy for promoting anime as a national force can be seen in the new Education Ministry’s curriculum guidelines implemented in 2002. In the new guidelines, “visual media,” such as manga and anime, was introduced as a new subject in arts for improving students’ ability in the area of visual communication, which is seen as necessary for the purpose of “internationalization” (kokusaika), a goal the government has been emphasizing for the past fifteen years. See Otsuka and Osawa, pp. 193-4; also, the current curriculum guidelines by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. 62Anemi Nakamura, “Curtain Rises on Tokyo International Anime Fair,” in The Japan Times, March 17, 2006: Weekend Scene 1. 80 “essence” of Japan, and, combined with the executive’s comment above, we get a glimpse of the government’s political intention to generate Japan’s national identity in relation to its “others.” Phenomena such as this highlight the close link between anime and cultural, economic (trade revenue), and political (cultural nationalism) domains. Ishihara claims that “Japanese are inherently skilled at visual expression and detailed work,” and suggests that anime can work to push “Japan to stand up to the United States and assert its intrinsic superiority,”63explicitly highlighting his intention of positioning Japan in relation to the United States. Thus, while encouraging anime to appeal to a global audience, Ishihara’s view of”kokusaika” (internationalization) generates a polarization between Japan and the United States (the “West”), and assumes that Japan is recognized and demarcated only in opposition to, or based on recognition by, the United States. In this respect, anime as a cultural product contributes to Marilyn Ivy’s description of Japan’s “internationalization”—paradoxically a nationalistic project— which aims at “domestication of the foreign and dissemination of Japanese culture throughout the world.”64 In the meantime, this project is criticized by some who do not believe that the success of anime abroad can be attributed to Japan’s powerfhl “authentic” traditions. Manga critics Otsuka Eiji and Osawa Nobuaki, finding it dangerous to view anime as a reflection of “Japaneseness,” make the rather radical claim that anime is a mere 63 Virginia Hefferman, “The Award for Best Satanic Rabbit Goes...,” in The New York Times, April 2, 2006: Television 1. 64Marily Ivy, Discourses ofthe Vanishing: Modernity, Phantasm, Japan (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995), p. 3. It should be noted, however, that the government’s policies on anime do not necessarily agree with those of actual creators of this medium. For example, an article in The New York Times on 2006’s Tokyo International Anime Fair mentions the attitude of anime creators, such as Sato Dai, who are indifferent to or critical of the government’s use of anime for Japan’s global expansion. (See HefTerman, “The Award for Best Satanic Rabbit Goes...”) 81 transformation or extension of Disney animation, and has no real Japanese roots.65 According to this perspective, it is not the Japanese aesthetic values embedded in anime that have been appreciated by a global audience, but rather the American aesthetic values in them. Taking a different tack, animator Takahata Isao repudiates the idea of anime as having purely Western origins, and insists that it has roots in twelfth-century Japanese picture scrolls.66 Both observations are compelling to a certain degree; however, the origins of anime are too complex to attribute to a single source. As I will discuss further, all cultural forms are always already hybrid. (3) Anime as text: issues of representation It is imperative, as mentioned above, to examine anime as a textual product capable of representing ideologically different kinds of narratives: those that reinforce dominant ideologies (in a manner similar to the Disney narratives mentioned above); and those that subvert dominant ideologies. Potential subversiveness can be observed in many anime products, effected mainly through parodic or otherwise “twisted” representations of gender/sex/sexuality, race, and nation. This is where this medium makes a great contrast to the ideologically “reassuring” tone of Hollywood or Disney conventions; as mentioned above, Napier calls anime a medium of”de-assurance.”67As she further argues, anime is the perfect vehicle to portray “the shifting nature of identity in a constantly changing society.”68 In other words, a significant number of anime texts are equipped to potentially 65 Otsuka and Osawa, p. 8, p. 176. Similarly, Iwabuchi argues that what other Asian recipient countries experience through Japanese products like anime is “a highly materialistic Japanese version of the American original.” See Iwabuchi, p. 35. Takahata Isao, Jüni-seiki no animëshon (Animation of the Twelfth Century) (Tokyo: Tokuma shoten, 1999), p. 54. 67Napier, p. 33. 68 Napier, p. 12. 82 destabilize the presumed concept of identity itself—especially in terms of the fixed categorization of racial/ethnic/national, and gender/sexual identities. 2.2.3. Anime and the (re)articulation of nationaLlracial identity Animation in general, and anime in particular, has embodied a greater potential for portraying “alternative” identities than many other nations that produce animation, partly because of Japan’s post-colonial positionality. Cultural categorization becomes blurred in the anime space. Napier contends that anime’s distinctiveness prevents it from being “subsumed into global culture,”69but she also stresses the existence of “non-Japanesque,” non-culturally specific features of anime which typically appear in the science fiction genre. Anime characterized by a lack of cultural specificity is described by some critics with the term “mukokuseki” (statelessness),7°which refers to the context-free space created within some anime, and is sometimes applied as well as to animators who seem unable to find national or etimic roots (furusato) for themselves. According to Napier, the stateless fantasy space of this type ofanime provides viewers with an experience of “postethnic identities.”7’Napier’ s concept of the “statelessness” of anime is applied mainly to the science fiction genre, because the setting of this genre is often in future cities that are impossible to identify as any specific nation or culture. I would like to add another aspect to Napier’s “postethnic” 69Napier, p.23. 70Napier, p. 24. Kusanagi Satoshi is another critic who has commented on the “non-Japanesque” features of some anime, although he discusses primarily examples of Japanese animations in the 1 960s (e.g. Mad Monster Party (1967), Little Drummer Boy (1968)), which were supposedly “co-productions” with an American company (Rankin-Bass Production) but practically Japanese animation studios worked under the American company’s control in the production process. See Kusanagi Satoshi, America de nihon no anime wa dOmiraretekitaka? (How has Japanese Anime been Seen in America?) (Tokyo: Tokuma shoten), pp. 90- 97. 71 Napier, p. 26. 83 nature of anime: culture boundary-crossing and hybridization of culture, which also make it impossible for viewers—both Japanese and non-Japanese—to locate the anime text within a specific culture or nation.72 That is, what makes anime stateless is also how “race” is represented. In this respect, anime (of this kind) destabilizes the concept of cultural identity itself, although, as discussed later, anime’s statelessness also reveals a dark side that can draw on the opposite effect—creating an essentialist view of identity— through an Orientalist perspective. Napier’s vision of stateless anime also reminds us of Köichi Iwabuchi’s description of anime as a “culturally odorless” Japanese export, which therefore travels well, along with consumer electronics and computer games. I agree with Iwabuchi’s idea of anime as “odorless,” containing minimal bodily and racial specificities of Japan, to the extent that many anime, especially visually, depict people whose race/ethnicity is hard to identify. However, it is questionable to apply this idea to all anime works without analyzing messages pertaining to cultural identities in different genres of anime texts. While Iwabuchi’s study explicates the relationship between cultural globalization and national identity formation through media products, he neither elaborates what constitutes the “cultural odor” of contemporary Japan, nor provides insights into the messages potentially generated in actual anime texts. Since there are certainly many anime that present distinctively Japanese referents, it is crucial to examine actual texts in order to discuss how anime relates to the issue of cultural identity. For example, in Sailor Moon, the protagonist has a Japanese name in the original Japanese version—a name that is a cultural reference that only makes sense to those who know Japanese culture, Tsukino Usagi—-and clearly goes to a Japanese high school, wearing a typical-looking uniform as worn by many Japanese high school girls. But because she seems to have blond hair and generically Caucasian features, she is easily accepted outside Japan as being “white.” Many Western viewers are shocked when told that she is Japanese and lives in Japan. At the same time, Japanese viewers are so accustomed to seeing characters who are clearly meant to be Japanese depicted with blond or red or even green hair, and non-Asian facial features, that they have no trouble accepting that Sailor Moon is Japanese despite her appearance. 84 Another reason for the need for close textual analyses is the fact that “statelessness” is more complicated than merely the absence of ethnic/national boundaries. That is, while some aspects of “stateless” anime may offer a “postethnic” experience, as Napier proposes, other aspects may simultaneously re-inscribe national/cultural boundaries. Ueno Toshiya and Oshii Mamoru stress this side of the statelessness of anime, which they believe gives rise to a phenomenon known as “techno-Orientalism”73—another way of Orientalizing or othering Japan. The term “techno-Orientalism” was initially used by David Morley and Kevin Robins to explain that: [t]he association of technology and Japaneseness now serves to reinforce the image of a culture that is cold, impersonal and machine-like, an authoritarian culture lacking emotional connection to the rest of the world.74 Oshii and Ueno apply this concept of “techno-Orientalism” to the reception of anime outside Japan, arguing that a number of works in the science fiction genre, such as Akira, Ghost in the Shell; Innocence; and Evangelion, are understood by non-Japanese viewers to depict Japan as a technological wonderland, or, more negatively, to depict Japanese people as emotionless Japanoid automata. Ghost in the Shell and Innocence, in particular, are not only set in context-free futuristic cities, but also present most of their characters as humanoid or cyborg (for instance, scenes showing the expressionless face of a human- looking character whose stomach is cut open to reveal machinery inside). While non- Japanese viewers may ostensibly celebrate Japan’s technological progress, the discourse The concept of “techno-Orientalism” was introduced by David Morley and Kevin Robins in Spaces of Identity (London & New York: Routledge, 1995), p. 169. Ueno applies this concept mainly to anime. See Toshiya Ueno, “Japanimation and Techno-Orientalism,” in The Uncanny: Experiments in Cyborg Culture, ed. Bruce Grenville (Vancouver: Arsenal Pulp Press, 2002), pp. 227-29. David Morley and Kevin Robins, p. 169. 85 of techno-Orientalism actually serves to “other” Japan and the Japanese, so that the West may construct a view of itself as embodying the (positive) qualities that Japan lacks. A further significant point in Oshii and Ueno’s argument is that techno Orientalism operates as a mirror stage, wherein the West not only constructs a fantasized Japan for its own purposes of self-definition, but the Japanese also misunderstand themselves and begin to believe in the fantasy.75 In other words, as in the case of classic (Saidian) Orientalism, those produced as “Japanoid Other” in techno-Orientalist readings of anime—the Japanese—may begin to understand themselves through that definition, leading in turn to further self-Orientalizing. In this respect, Japan, even after its dramatic modernization and technological development, is still caught in the Orientalist mirror through both the Western Orientalization of Japan and Japan’s self-Orientalization based on the Western definition. This should not be misunderstood as an argument for the existence of a “real” Japan, but rather indicates again that how the Japanese identify themselves depends on the West’s perception of Japan. In opposition to the critics who see anime as creating a non-Japanese fantasy space are many others (discussed in detail below and in later chapters) who see anime as reflecting a distinctive Japaneseness, and the existence of the disagreement between these two groups manifests Japan’s ambiguous and problematic national identity. Due to many and complex factors involved in cultural identity formation sketched above, it is necessary to unpack the mechanisms of the articulation of cultural identities through this medium. This is accomplished by close examination of specific ways that national/ethnic identity is represented in specific anime narrative texts. This is a large part of my focus in later chapters. 75Ueno, “Japanimation and Techno-Orientalism,” p. 229. 86 2.2.4. The role of the “shUjo” in gender/sexual identity articulation and its evolution The issue of the (mis)representation of gender, often linked with representations of specific nationalities or races/ethnicities, has been studied considerably in the context of Disney animation, but anime has not yet been analyzed much in this light. As introduced earlier in this chapter, the normative (mythologized) concepts of gender/sex can be interestingly subverted through visual representations that involve physical metamorphoses, which are more easily and effectively accomplished in animation than in any other visual medium. Physical metamorphosis is taken to the limit in the representation of characters’ bodies in anime such as Ranma % (manga: 1987-1996; TV: 1987-1996; film: 1991). The protagonist in this narrative, a boy named Ranma, is cursed when he falls into a magical spring in China. Thereafter, whenever his body is touched by cold water he transforms into a female, and whenever his body is touched by warm water, he turns back into a male. (His father, suffering from a similar curse, changes into a panda bear when touched by cold water, and reverts to human shape with warm water.) Ranma’s constant transformations between male and female are sometimes inadvertent and embarrassing, and sometimes intentional, as Ranma uses his transformative abilities to further his own ends, such as spying on the girls in whom he is romantically interested. This anime poses a challenge to normative concepts of sex/gender in a number of ways (while also reinscribing some aspects of those normative concepts). For one thing, Ranma is frequently made to realize the ways in which girls are treated differently from boys solely because of social convention, rather than because of character or abilities. Viewers are therefore forced to consider the ramifications of their own embodiments in ways they might not otherwise have done, and to imagine what 87 alternative embodiments would be like. The target audience for (female manga artist) Takahashi Rumiko’s original Ranma 1/2 manga was young adolescents, from about eight to thirteen years old. Both in Japan and abroad, however, the anime version of this narrative was particularly popular among boys, despite (or because of) the fact that it provides ideological “de-assurance” rather than Disney-esque reassurance regarding the stability and normalcy of sex/gender identities and social roles.76 There have been many popular Japanese manga and anime narratives that similarly challenged the monolithic nature of sex and social/cultural gender through characters’ bodies, such as Tezuka Osamu’s Ribon no kishi (Princess Knight, manga serialized in 1954-1968; TV anime in 1967), discussed below, Yamauchi Naomi’s Za Chenji (The Change, manga serialized from 1986), Sutoppu!! Hibari-kun (Stop!! Hibari, manga serialized from 1981, also made into a TV anime series), Naka Tomoko’s Guriin bOi II (Green Boy II, manga serialized from 1990), as well as countless others.77 Another characteristic of gender representation in anime can be observed in a shift in (re)presentations of the “shöjo” (literally, a young girl), corresponding to shifts in social expectations and perceptions over time. According to the SanseidO Japanese Dictionary, “shojo” are defined as young girls from around ten to sixteen or seventeen years old; however, this term signifies far more than its literal definition. “ShOjo” is a cultural construct. It emerged in the early twentieth century along with the establishment of girls’ boarding schools, magazines and other media targeted explicitly at girls, and other 76 scholar Robin Wood calls the dominant tone of most Hollywood films a cinema of “reassurance.” Robin Wood, “Papering the Cracks: Fantasy and Ideology in the Regan Era,” in Movies and Mass Culture, ed. John Belton (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1996), p. 206; Also for more on the liminality seen for instance in the transgender theme of Ranma 1/2, see Napier, Animefrom Akira to Howl’s Moving Castle, p. 13 and p. 33. more information about the exact nature of the sex/gender subversion in each of these narratives, see Yukari Fujimoto, “Transgender: Female Hermaphrodites and Male Androgynies,” trans. Linda Flores and Kazumi Nagaike in The US.-Japan Women Journal 27 (2004), pp. 76-117. 88 innovations, almost all of which were for the purpose of producing “good wives and wise mothers” for the benefit of the state. In other words, the idea of”shöjo” was originally conceptualized as part of a constellation of efforts to confine female sexuality and to emphasize the conservative gender demarcation between “feminine” and “masculine.” The “shöjo” culture created at that time reflected a new understanding of the typical life stages for females, simultaneously recognizing and giving rise to “a period in life when a female was neither naïve child nor sexually active woman.”78 In contemporary society, “shöjo” symbolizes “a state of being that is socially unanchored, free of responsibility and self-absorbed—the opposite of the ideal Japanese adult.”79 Thus, the term “shöjo” has mutated over time to reflect current social expectations. Coupled with the dramatic growth of Japanese popular culture and consumerism since the 1980s, the image of the “shojo” presented through media representations has been used to associate women with “emptiness,”80or to eroticize them as the object of male sexual desire. This image of the “shöjo” symbolizes as an innocent, pure, but passive and “toy-like being.”8’ Such representations are constructed within a phallocentric discourse, and feature images of “shOjo” who cannot speak for themselves and make no claims to true subjectivity. 78 Sharalyn Orbaugh, “Shöjo,” in Encyclopedia ofContemporary Japanese Culture, ed. Sandra Buckley (London and New York: Routledge, 2002), pp. 458-59. About the birth of the “shojo,” see Horikiri Naoto, “Onna wa dokyo, shOjo wa aikyO” (Courage for Women, Charm for Girls), in Shöjoron (Theory of Shojo), eds. Honda Masuko et al. (Tokyo: Aoyumisha, 1991), P. 109. For more on the development of the concept of”shojo,” see Sharalyn Orbaugh, “Busty Battlin Babes: the Evolution of the Shojo in 1990s Visual Culture,” in Gender and Power in the Japanese Visual Field, eds. Norman Bryson, Maribeth Graybill and Joshua Mostow (Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2003), pp. 200-228. Orbaugh, “ShOjo,” in Encyclopedia ofContemporary Japanese Culture, pp. 458-59. 80hn W. Treat, “Yoshimoto Banana Writes Home: The ShOjo in Japanese Popular Culture,” in Contemporary Japan and Popular Culture, ed. John W. Treat (Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 1996), p.301. 81 This phrase is used by Shibusawa Tatsuhiko, and which is quoted by lizawa KOtaro’s article, “Shashin, shöjo, korekushon” (Photos, ShOjo, Collection), in Shöjoron, pp. 40-41. 89 Hence, the concept of the “shOjo” draws on the established notion of girlhood in which she transitions into a woman who meets the patriarchal social expectation of “a good wife and wise mother”—a notion that continues to have force even today. Yet, at the same time, postwar popular visual media such as manga and anime play with the concept of the “shöjo” through unusual visual and narrative representations, deconstructing the patriarchal perception of gender/sexual identity and providing resources for alternative identity articulation models. What follows sketches out the evolution of one subversive stream of anime from the 1 960s to the 1 990s, which uses depictions of”shOjo” or “shöjo-ness” to gradually alter traditional gender models. Deeper discussions of the depictions of”shôjo” and their implications for the way girls (and boys) form a gender identity partly through their consumption of popular culture can be found in later chapters. Anime intended specifically for girls, known as “shojo anime,” originated in the late 1960s and 1970s. In its early years shöjo anime was created mostly by men, and despite some tinkering with traditional gender rules, it generally presented gender according to patriarchal models. Even in Tezuka Osamu’s playful Ribbon no kishi (Ribbon Knight), in which the shOjo protagonist dresses as a boy, fights to defend her kingdom, and has both a female and male “heart,” the narrative ends with the protagonist giving up her male persona to enjoy happiness in the traditional role of wife and mother. From about the 1 980s, and especially as more women became active as writers of the manga on which many anime are based, the representation of the “shöjo” began to change dramatically, playing a key role in the subversion of conventional concepts of gender/sexual identity. This change is indicative of conscious attempts to deconstruct the patriarchal, heteronormative discourse of gender/sex through popular visual texts. 90 (1) The 1960s and the 1970s: Carnival 1- the birth of female heroes82 Educated, middle-class daughters of Japan’s upwardly mobile urban families initiated what many Japanese women describe as the “radical” or “revolutionary” phase of the women’s movement from 1970 to 1977. .women’s groups in this period analyzed the inadequacy of Marxist analysis for feminist revolution, published critiques of the “myth of motherhood,” and published radical essays.83 In 1966, the first girls’ anime, Mahötsukai Sally (Little Witch Sally), debuted on Japanese TV. Until then, the protagonists in anime had always been male, and female viewers had no choice but to identify with the passive female figures who were always secondary to the main narrative, or to identify with the active male protagonists, if they wished to access power. In the 1960s and 70s, female heroes increasingly appeared on screen, especially in the form of magical girls—the aforementioned Mahötsukai Sally, followed by Himitsu no Akko-chan (Little Secret Girl Akko) in 1969, and Ma]okko Megu (Witch Meg) in 1974. !j-9--- 9— jjcT) -y— -9— ‘-y She is a charming princess riding on a magic broom. Sally Sally, Once she says a magic word, love and hope emerge Sally Sally, little witch Sally (from the theme song of Little Witch Sally in 1966, my translation) - ‘1u -UlW’-) Z)’) t)’- 7A Princess Cinderella has appeared. Who is she? She is a little secret girl, Akko. (from the theme song ofLittle Secret Girl Akko in 1969, my translation) 82 use the term “carnival,” borrowing Bakhtin’s concept, to signify the early hints of subversiveness shown by some female heroes. 83 Sharon Sievers, “Women in China, Japan, and Korea,” in Women in Asia: Restoring Women to History, eds. Barbara N. Ramusack and Sharon Sievers (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1999), p. 230. 91 øt2Q)< ;L1 Lt 9iQ) L51L<C’ My breasts make anything I want possible. Without make-up, you are crazy for me. My tears can make boys instantly crazy for me. (from the theme song of Witch Meg in 1974, my translation) Eleven-year-old Sally and fifteen-year-old Meg are princesses in magical kingdoms who, by order of their fathers, descend to the human world where they not only learn about magic but also gain maturity through human interactions in daily life. While there are slight differences in the scenarios of Sally, Akko, and Meg, the magic that the protagonists use in each is inherently or accidentally given, and they can solve problems with their magic, just as simply as Sally’s theme song implies: “once she says the magic words, love and hope emerge.” These three girls show how “shojo” can be protagonists— at least as long as they have charm and magical power, as implied in the lyrics of each theme song. The image of “shOjo” represented by these girls still adheres to conventional gender categorizations. In terms of both narrative and visual depictions, Sally, Akko, and Meg exhibit the epitome of traditional femininity, as quintessentially represented in the “Cinderella” story. For instance, all of them have big starry eyes and girlishly innocent voices, and care about how they look to others. The depiction of Meg’s body, particularly her breasts and frequently shown underwear, present her as a sexualized object. At the same time, the theme song (Meg says: “My breasts make anything I want possible”) indicates her intention of accessing power through her sexuality, not just through her magic. While this could be interpreted as a young woman proactively using male desire to promote her own goals, and therefore could be seen as (third-wave) feminist, it could just 92 as readily be argued that Meg is simply representative of the trend of presenting sexualized female bodies to be consumed by a male gaze—whether it is the gaze of the creators, the characters on the screen, or the viewers.84 Moreover, within each narrative, the father exists as the absolute authority who keeps the magical girls under control. Hence, the magical girls in this phase generally articulate a passive image of the “shöjo,” still constrained within the phallocentric code of sexuality and patriarchal social systems. (2) The 1980s: Carnival 2— the birth of androgynous female warriors By the 1980s, many universities and colleges in Japan were offering courses in Women’s Studies, resulting in a boom in published academic research on women as well.85 At the same time, gender representation in anime underwent a significant change with the emergence of the “flying shOjo heroes” found in many of the films of Miyazaki Hayao. Miyazaki’s shojo heroes attest to the fact that girls can become not only protagonists but also warriors who fight for justice on a large scale, and they do so without inherited magical power. This type of shöjo protagonist is exemplified by “princess” NausicaA in Miyazaki’s Nausicaä ofthe Valley ofthe Wind (manga serialized in 1982- 1994, animated film in 1984) and “princess” San (in Princess Mononoke, 1997), with their adeptness at piloting flying machines (in the case of the former) and ruthlessness in killing enemies (in both works). They signify a new image of “shojo” that embodies conventional “masculine” attributes. 84 This view is taken from Christian Metz, The Imaginaty Signifier: Psychoanalysis and the Cinema (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1982). He identifies three sources which form these looks in cinema, which are mainly male’s: the instrument projecting the images (creators), the characters who shape part of the imagery, and spectators who watch the images. 85 Mioko Fujieda and Kumiko Fujimura-Fanselow, “Women’s Studies: An Overview,” in Japanese women: New Feminist Perspectives on the Past, Present, andFuture, eds. Kwniko Fujimura-Fanselow and Atsuko Kameda (New York: The Feminist Press, 1995), pp. 155-73. 93 Moreover, some critics see the way these female heroes are depicted as asexual and/or androgynous: their bodies are far from being depicted as objects of sexual desire,86 and their primary charm does not arise from their “femininity,” unlike the magical girls in the previous phase. For example, Kiki (in Kiki ‘s Delivery Service) can be seen as a young female figure who is free from “sexual darkness”; Kiki’s power and her ability to fly are acquired through perseverance and increasing self-confidence, and the notion of girls’ power as magic that has to be hidden is defamiliarized and demystified. I will discuss Miyazaki’s depiction of shojo protagonists at greater length in subsequent chapters. (3) The 1990s onward: Carnival 3— the possibifity of sexual and heroic girls The long-legged teenager [Sailor Moon] is the first female to become a cartoon superhero in her own right--in contrast to .. .Supergirl or the female Morphin Rangers, who were copied from male stars. In Japan and all over the world, women are assuming more and more positions of power in society. They don’t want to be discriminated against as soft or gentle.. .Sailor Moon is a role model for that type of girl.87 Sailor Moon was very popular through the 1990s in both Japan and internationally. This is a story about a 14-year-old girl named Tsukino Usagi (literally Moon Rabbit; Serena in the English version); she is given magical tools and power, with which she transforms into the sailor-suited soldier called Sailor Moon, to fight evil forces with three other female “sailor scouts.” This anime, introducing a girls-only fighting team, illustrates girls’ double longing to be desired and to become powerful, which is signified by the title Bishöjo Senshi Sailor Moon (Beautiful Girl Soldier Sailor Moon). In the previous phase, Murase Hiromi, Feminizumu sabukaruchã hihyO sengen (Feminism Subculture Critic Manifesto) (Tokyo: Shunjyflsha, 2000), pp. 53-58 87T.R. Reid, “Move Over, Morphins, Sailor Moon is Coming,” in Washington Post (July 22, 1995): A16. It must be acknowledged that there are a significant number of previous female superheroes in Japanese popular culture. 94 princess NausicaA was able to become a warrior, but to do so she had to suppress her sexuality because a warrior cannot manifest a sexual body. That is, in NausicaA the association of masculinity with a heroic warrior and femininity with a passive princess is still maintained. In contrast, Sailor Moon challenges the mutual exclusiveness between masculinity and femininity, and posits a female character who can fight without giving up the liberation of her (hetero)sexuality. Some viewers of Sailor Moon might argue that she is still presented as an object of desire for the heterosexual male gaze, especially given her suggested/suggestive nakedness in the transformation sequences, and the frequent views of her underwear, and in fact, Sailor Moon figurines and other “character goods” are popular among male buyers in Japan. But other viewers would no doubt argue that the female writer who created Sailor Moon, Takeuchi Naoko, intended to present a liberated shöjo protagonist who can be both strong and have romantic/sexual love. Another radical change in gender representation can be seen in Cardcaptor Sakura (TV anime: 1996-2000; animated film: 1998). This show was created by a group of four female animators who go by the name of CLAMP. Sakura, the show’s nine-year-old girl protagonist, represents one aspect of traditional “femininity”—signified by her romantic interest in a high school boy as well as her “girlish” costumes. However, traditional models of “femininity” are constantly mocked in this show through the characterization of Tomoyo, a friend of Sakura’s, who presents exaggerated ultra-feminine body movements and over-polite speech. Cardcaptor Sakura features a more radical subversion of the “normative” gender/sexual representation through destabilizing the conventional notion of the female body as the object of male desire and the male gaze. Instead of male characters gazing lustfully at Sakura, it is Tomoyo who acts as if she were a stalker, obsessed romantically 95 and erotically with Sakura she videotapes all of Sakura’s actions, and enjoys watching Sakura on-screen afterward. Tomoyo also takes pleasure in sewing Lolita-like fantasy costumes for Sakura, and watching Sakura putting them on. In this respect, Sakura is Tomoyo’ s kisekae ningyo (dress-up doll)—the object of desire and the object of her consuming gaze. Tomoyo’ s behavior overthrows the convention of a male as the looker and the female as the looked-at. This depiction of “shöjo” destabilizes the typical male- dominant power dynamic and problematizes the mechanism of heteronormativity.88 Sailor Moon and Sakura embody the idea that female sexuality does not have to be repressed or imposed by males. Differently put, the “shöjo” as represented by these female heroes provides an alternative for female identity, an alternative that does not require girls to identify with passivity. They represent “femininities” instead of “femininity,” and play a significant role in female empowerment by undermining some aspects of the hegemonic concept of gender and sexuality. Princess Mononoke: a wild princess As discussed above, the notion of “princess” gradually changed after the 1 970s, and Princess Mononoke (1997) furthers changes into what I call a “wild princess,” a term that sounds like an oxymoron. In this film, the protagonist San—a “princess” raised by a wolf—completely contradicts the traditional (Disneyesque) notion of “princess,” and instead provides a new model of”shOjo-ness,” a girl who can become violent and even turn against others jumping from rooftop to rooftop carrying a dagger intended for her archenemy. Another challenge to a typical “princess story” is that the evident love 88 In addition, the unconventionality of this show is further highlighted by the fact that it is broadcast by NHK, which is otherwise known as the most conservative national TV station in terms of programming content. 96 between San and the male co-protagonist Ashitaka does not result in their marriage in the end; the usual “happily ever after” Disney ending. Instead, the two go off to live in separate worids—Ashitaka in the world of humans and San in the world of the forest. Chapter 5 further discusses the way gender is interestingly represented in this anime. Bubble2um Crisis Tokyo 2040: female heroes in mecha-suits In Bubblegum Crisis Tokyo 2040 (TV anime in 1998-1999, directed by Hayashi Hiroki), female characters occupy positions of power. What is novel about this anime is that the female heroes wear mecha-suits, conventionally considered symbols of “masculinity” in earlier anime.89 While the female characters in the show are older than the “shöjo” introduced above, this new model of female heroes also contributed to a significant change in female representation in anime from the 1 990s and onward. This science fiction subgenre, characterized by females in robotic suits, became markedly popular in this phase in examples such as Neon Genesis Evangelion (manga serialized from 1994 by Sadamoto Yoshiyuki, TV anime in 1995 by Gainax) and Appleseed (manga series in 1985 by Masamune Shiro, the film in 2004 directed by Aramaki Shinji). Just as in the case of Sailor Moon, it is still open to debate whether the female depictions in Bubblegum indicate women’s empowerment or disempowerment, considering that the mecha-suits and other aspects of their depiction accentuate their body lines, and therefore they may act as a sexualizing spectacle for males. Nonetheless, it is safe to say that 89Mecha-suits, typically appearing in SF and cyborg genres of anime, are human-shaped powered armor suits, which were pioneered by the Gundam series in I 970s where human pilots (typically men) in a huge robot fights interstellar battles. These suits are usually worn as vehicles or weapons by the protagonists to fight battles. In Bubblegum Crisis Tokyo 2040, unlike a robot-type seen in Gundam, mecha-suits are fitting, and worn by female protagonists. See Napier, A nimefrom Akira, p. xv, and Ueno Toshiya, Kurenai no metarusutsu (Matalsuits, the Red: Wars in Animation) (Tokyo: Kinokuniya shoten, 1998), p 15 and p. 125. 97 female heroes in this subgenre shed light on the possibility of conceptualizing women as being as powerful and technologically savvy as men. 2.3. Anime as an “Other(’s)” Cultural Form As discussed above, animation is by nature a subversive medium of expression that potentially aids in questioning essentialist identity categorizations maintained in the dominant discourse of the West. Nonetheless, white phallogocentric myths sustained by the powerful Disney Empire and others without doubt consistently prevail among a global audience. Based on the observations in this chapter, the elements that make anime distinct from animation do not lie simply in style: anime’s increasing global popularity arises also from its unraveling of time-honored archetypal Western conventions of animation aesthetics, particularly in terms of gender and national representations. I examine specific aspects of gender and national representation in later chapters, in the context of specific anime texts. Also important is the fact that anime, allegedly a hybrid of Western and Japanese (or other Asian) media forms, has become recognized as a mature cultural form in its own right, and as a medium “other” to its American counterpart, despite some similarities between them. As a cultural form that is produced in Japan, a country considered an “Other” by and to the West, anime also plays a key role in challenging the still persistent American cultural hegemony that reigns in global popular culture, in both economic and ideological terms. 98 Chapter 3: Miyazaki Hayao’s Philosophy of Animation Aesthetics My view ofanime is an imaginary space that can be achieved only by this medium, not by comics, children ‘s literature, or live-actionfilm.’ —Miyazaki Hayao While acknowledging that the meanings of media texts are bound to the socio cultural discourse of their time and place of production, it is unrealistic to study film texts as completely independent of creators (and others involved in the creative process), because directors such as Walt Disney (and his successors) and Miyazaki Hayao have significant control as auteurs throughout the creative production. Thus, if a director produces a body of texts that display a consistent style and a consistent set of themes, it is reasonable to assume that those texts reflect something about the director’s (auteur’s) woridview, which is in turn rooted in his or her experiences and beliefs from childhood on. This emphasizes the director’s agency, but does not deny the agency of the viewers. Nonetheless, my study looks at animated narratives by auteurs, which, allowing a certain level of viewer activation, demonstrate their producers’ creativity and intentions more explicitly than “a viewer-based creativity.”2 Without resorting completely to an auteur study of Miyazaki, in this chapter I will discuss his formal and narrative style, as well as the philosophical influences that underpin that style, in order to give a context to the textual analysis of the following chapters.3 ‘Miyazaki, Shuppatsuten (Starting Point) (Tokyo: Studio Ghibli, 1996), pp. 42-44. My translation.2 Torben Grodal, “Agency in Film, Filmmaking, and Reception,” in Visual Authorship: Creativity and Intentionality in Media, eds. Torben Grodal, Bente Larsen, Ibsen Throving Laursen (Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum Press, 2004), p. 23. The term “auteur” means “author.” Auteur studies, focusing on the creator of a film rather than other aspects of its production, distribution, or narrative content, was popular among film scholars in the 1 960s, and continues to be an important stream of cinema criticism. One of the key concepts of this theory relevant to my research is that a director’s film reflects his or her creative vision. 99 Miyazaki is famous for involving himself in every step of the production process to command control over the vision, working as a story-writer, animator, director, and producer for many of his works, as well as other films made by other directors under the Studio Ghibli banner. Miyazaki has often been called the Walt Disney of Japan by film critics, and both directors can be classified as globally-recognized auteurs, yet Miyazaki’s approach to fantasy and his woridview are significantly different from Disney’s.4 Miyazaki occupies an interesting position in the history of both animation and anime, not only because he introduced new aesthetics of animation that differs from both Disney and from other globally exported Japanese anime, but also because his works have given rise to a perception of animation as a mature art form, both domestically and internationally. Having received the Golden Bear Award at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2002, and the award for Best Animated Feature at the 75th Academy Awards in 2003, Miyazaki Hayao’s Sen to Chihiro no kamikakushi (Spirited Away, released 2001 in Japan, 2002 in the U.S.) brought anime to a new level of respectability internationally. In the U.S., the total box office gross of SpiritedAway topped $10,055,000. Also, according to the Internet Movie Database (IMDB), this anime is ranked number 54 among the top films from all over the world, and number one in the animated film category.5 This chapter is concerned with Miyazaki’s philosophy of animation and his worldview, as demonstrated in his work, his interviews, and inferred from information about his background. It particularly focuses on his conscious self-positioning in 4Although Walt Disney died in 1966, his legacy has been carried on up to the present by The Walt Disney Company, including Walt Disney Pictures, which makes the animated films for which Disney is most famous. The IMDB keeps a listing of the top rated 250 films, based on ratings by the registered users of the website using the methods described there. Over 1300 theatrically released films are considered. 100 opposition to Disney and also to other types of anime. A comparison of the approaches taken by Miyazaki and Disney not only identifies some distinctive characteristics of Miyazaki’s anime, but may also reflects his view of Japan in relation to its “others,” both Western and Asian. 3.1. The Foundation of Miyazaki’s Fantasy It is fascinating to speculate about how much Miyazaki’s personal background is woven into his narratives, ranging from his experience of the war to his vision of globalization. He was born in Tokyo in 1941, in the middle of what the Japanese call the Fifteen-Year War (from 1931, with Japan’s invasion of China, to 1945, the end of World War II). Between 1944 and 1946, the Miyazaki family took refuge in Tochigi Prefecture, which kept his family from becoming victims of the relentless bombings of Tokyo.6 What seems to have influenced his view of technology most is the fact that Hayao’s father, Miyazaki Katsuji, was the director of Miyazaki Airplane Company, which made rudders for the Zero fighter planes used by the Japanese troops, including the suicide corps (“kamikaze”), during the Second World War. It is not too farfetched to speculate that coming to terms with the sense of guilt over his family’s active involvement in the war led to the filmmaker positioning himself as a pacifist. He articulates his perception of the war through his anime characters, such as the mentally struggling ex-soldier in Kurenai no buta (Porco Rosso, 1992), and through his unorthodox representation of weapons of war in Nausicaa ofthe Valley ofthe Wind (Kaze no tani no Nausicaa, 1984) and the 6 By the end of World War Two, Tokyo had lost over 65% of its residential buildings to fires caused by incendiary bombs. In one night alone, March 9-10, 1945, over 2000 tons of incendiaries were dropped on the city, leaving at least 80,000 people dead and untold numbers homeless. Over the course of the war approximately one million Japanese civilians were killed, a large percentage of them in Tokyo. See Orbaugh, Japanese Fiction ofthe Allied Occupation (Leiden: Brill, 2007), pp. 29-31. 101 “production of weapons as jobs for the unfortunate” message in Mononoke hime (Princess Mononoke, 1997). These examples will be illustrated in greater detail in later chapters. From 1947 to 1955, during his elementary school days, Miyazaki’s mother was sick in bed with spinal tuberculosis. The experience of his mother’s sickness and her absence is to some extent integrated into Tonari no Totoro (My Neighbour Totoro, 1988). Set in the countryside (Saitama Prefecture, where Miyazaki lived after getting married) in 1950s Japan, this is a story of two sisters who find a way to grow up without their ailing mother, and experience a fantastic encounter with nature. These girls may embody Miyazaki’s own childhood experiences and feelings, as well as his own early adult life in Saitama. Miyazaki’s interest in the world of animation and children’s media started in the late 1950s, when he was a senior high school student. He saw Japan’s first feature-length color anime, Hakujaden (The Legend of the White Serpent) (1958) directed by Yabushita Taiji for Toei Doga,7and through it he became fascinated with the power of animation. And it was when he watched the Russian animated film Snow Queen (1957) that he finally decided to dedicate his life to animation.8 At GakushUin University, he joined the children’s literature research club.9 He graduated from the university with degrees in political science and economics, and then started working at Töei Animation in 1963. Soon after joining Töei, Miyazaki led demonstrating animators in a union dispute, and the following year he became the Chief Secretary of the company’s labor union. These events 7Hakujaden is a story of romance between a girl, who is an incarnation of a white snake, and a young boy who helped her in the past. It presents the strength of their love, which overcomes any obstacles or interference put in their path. Miyazaki fell in love with the heroine for her dedicated passion to her loved one. See Miyazaki, Shuppatsuten, p. 100.8 Though acknowledging that the story ofSnow Queen itself was quite ordinary (the lonely and powerful Snow Queen kidnaps a boy and his best female friend rescues him, despite many obstacles on her journey), Miyazaki claims to have been impressed by the characters’ passion that came through in the drawings. Many clubs at Japanese universities are very serious and require large commitments of time and effort. 102 both reflected and furthered his political conscience. (His generally critical view of materialistic capitalism is explicitly demonstrated in the themes of some of his films, such as Spirited Away.) In the following year, he helped the production team on Taiyö no oji Horusu no daiböken (The Adventures of Prince of the Sun Horusu) (1968). Around this time, Miyazaki married Ota Akemi, who was working as a key animator on The Adventures ofPrince ofthe Sun Horusu. Their first son, Gorö, was born in 1967,’° and in the following year, the Miyazakis moved to Saitama, a neighbouring prefecture of Tokyo. In 1971 Miyazaki left Töei Animation and joined Takahata Isao (his future partner at Ghibli Studio) and Otabe Yoichi at A-Production. Seven years later, Lupin III: The Castle ofthe Cagliostro (Lupan: kariostoro no shiro) the first anime Miyazaki directed, debuted on television, and was made into a theatrical feature in the following year. In 1983, Nausicaä ofthe Valley ofthe Wind was released. More than any of his previous works, Nausicaa launched him as an animator on the world stage. The year 1985 was critical for Miyazaki in achieving his current status as an animator and a director. Studio Ghibli was established with funds from Tokuma Shoten, the publishing company that released the manga version of Nausicaa ofthe Valley ofthe Wind (also by Miyazaki).” From this year onward, Miyazaki started traveling to Europe as well as within Japan in order to gather inspiration for his later works. He took a trip to Wales, for example, to prepare him to make the studio’s first film, Laputa: Castle in the 10 Miyazaki Gorô is the director of the animated film, Gedo Senki (Tales of Earthsea) (2006) by Studio Ghibli. Suzuki Toshio, the manager of Tokuma Shoten, Takahata Isao, and Miyazald are the directors of Ghubli Studio. Miyazaki chose the name “Ghibli,” which in Italian has two meanings: a wind blowing from the Sahara; and the name of a model of Italian airplane that was used during World War II. According to Suzuki, the name signifies Miyazaki’s determination: “Let’s blow a sensational wind through the Japanese animation world.” (Margaret Talbot, “The Auteur ofAnime: A Visit with the Elusive Genius Hayao Miyazald,” in The New Yorker, January 17, 2005, p. 72.). 103 Sky (Tenkã no shiro Laputa, 1986), which was seen by about 775,000 viewers in its first year alone.’2 The studio produced two feature-length anime releases in 1988: My Neighbour Totoro and Grave ofthe Fireflies (Hotaru no haka). Although the studio’s three directors (Miyazaki, Takahata, Suzuki) and others were reluctant to embrace the idea of selling ancillary merchandise along with the anime release, in reality, product spin-offs of Ghibli’s anime, especially from Totoro, brought in a significant amount of revenue for the studio and helped to cover production costs.’3 In 1989, Miyazaki’s Studio Ghibli released Kiki ‘s Delivery Service (Majo no takyabin), which became the number one box office attraction among Japanese films released that year. This not only brought in a significant amount of revenue to finance the studio’s next anime production, but also allowed the studio to expand and help with more technologically sophisticated production of animation, including digital techniques. 3.2. Miyazaki’s Aesthetics (1): what is anime to him? Miyazaki describes the function of anime as “filling in our sense of emptiness” or “substituting for what is lost” in our life.’4 One could conclude that this outlook is the result of witnessing Japan’s dramatic growth into a materially affluent nation after its defeat in the war. What Miyazaki considers to have been lost includes humans’ attachment to nature, sensitivity to the minutia of everyday life, and a willingness to understand the world around us. For this reason, Miyazaki does not appreciate the recent forays into virtual reality or video games that simply create an alternate reality to make the 12 Dani Cavallaro, The Anime Art ofHayao Miyazaki (Jefferson: McFarland & Company, 2006),p41.13 Ibid. Also, see Miyazaki, Shuppatsuten, p. 78. 14Miyi, Shuppatsuten, pp. 42-44. My translation. 104 audience oblivious to issues in the real world.’5 In Princess Mononoke, for instance, he articulates this vision through words spoken by the old shaman in the village: “kumorinaki me de misadameru naraba, aruiwa sono noroi wo tatsu michi ga mitsukaru kamoshiren” (If you look hard at the world with unclouded eyes, you might be able to lift the curse that is upon you [or you will find a way out of the problem]). This is the way in which Miyazaki hopes to encourage his audience to approach problems in the world—with eyes “unclouded” by fear or illusion. As stated in the quote at the beginning of this chapter, to Miyazaki, anime is a drama through which he communicates his woridview. In doing so, instead of reducing animation to simplistic and sanitized children’s entertainment, which, according to Miyazaki, Disney does,16 he attempts to present complex matters in a comprehensible manner. This is because, to him, “childhood” should not be a time when children are simply protected, but it should instead be a time when they are exposed to reality, so that they will be able to take on the challenges that await them later in life. This idea may originate in his own childhood, which had its share of struggles (such as his family’s involvement in the war, and the absence of his mother due to illness). Animated fantasy for children: the concept of “childhood” While some say that Miyazaki’s anime is not for children because of its complexity and depth, Miyazaki consistently stresses that his target audience is ten-year- old children, because that is the age when children start thinking about how they want the ‘ Miyazaki, Shuppatsuten, pp. 102-13. 16Miyazi Hayao often expresses his dislike of Disney’s animation. See, Kurosawa Akira, Miyazaki Hayao, Kitano Takeshi: Nihon no san ‘nm no enshutsuka (Kurosawa Akira, Miyazaki Hayao, Kitano Takeshi: Three Japanese Directors), eds. SaitO Makoto, Ikeno Jakkyu, and Takebayashi Shoko (Tokyo: Rockin’ On, 1993), p. 132-33. 105 world to be.17 In fact, many of his works are coming-of-age stories. In this respect, Miyazaki’s work resembles much of Disney’s: they are both primarily targeting child viewers. However, there is a significant difference between the two in terms of their conceptualization of “childhood,” which surfaces through their narratives and imagistic representations. Since his encounter with Hakujaden in childhood, Miyazaki has never taken popular media lightly. Instead, he contends that the role of popular media such as anime should be: to make it possible for the audience to get energy to go through reality, by letting them release repression from their daily lives and offering them a space where they can discover aspirations, innocence, and self-assurance inside themselves.18 The concept of “childhood” to Miyazaki is not associated so much with protection as with energy for survival: children’s media does not necessarily require dumbing down the text to appeal to the masses. Rather than simplifying and sanitizing the text, he attempts to create a fictional sphere anchored in reality, which is filled with the messiness and ambiguity of human nature. This fantasy is meant to encourage children to live up to challenges without falling into simplistic nihilism or escapism, despite the bleakness of some aspects of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The term “innocence” in the above quote, however, reminds us of the world of Disney. While these two studios offer a different fantasy experience to viewers, they both 17 In his book, Miyazaki states that even if he even if he were to change his target audience, his focus is always on children. See Shuppatsuten, p. 123. Also, he says that he has no intention of making animation for adult audiences, in the interview with Rockin’ On Inc. (See. Kurosawa Akira Miyazaki Hayao, Kitano Takeshi: Nihon no san ‘nm no enshutsuka, p. 116.) ‘ Miyazaki, Shuppatsuten, p. 102. My translation. 106 attempt to bring back a sense of “innocence” that seems to have been lost, and which the medium of animation can more effectively manifest than other media. This suggests that, whether animation is used as a means of escapism or as an energy source for facing reality, “innocence” or the willingness to accept things is an element that both studios value in childhood (and for life). Miyazaki’s message above is often explicit in his narratives, and is verbally articulated on the promotional poster of Princess Mononoke, reading: (Live!).” Miyazaki’s fantasy attempts to maintain a realism that deals with what it is to live—fear and joy. He lays bare this point in an interview: I would say, ‘if you don’t want to deal with life or death, don’t bring your children.’ I drew Princess Mononoke with her mouth covered in blood. It is wrong to interpret blood as a representation of terror, because blood is a proof of life...’9 In addition, the following remark encapsulates his view of fantasy for children, questioning the escapist view of fantasy: It is no use expressing groundless hope in films—having them assure a bright future. Yet this does not mean that life is not worth struggling for. Some films tend to construct “hope” in order to mask reality, especially when society is depressed... I would never think that films should always provide hope for the audience.2° Miyazaki’s approach to children’s media intends not only to inspire his audience to face a brutal reality, but also to make them realize their potential and help them release it 19Miyazaki Hayao, Kaze no kaeru basho: nausicaa kara chihiro made no kiseki (Where the Wind Returns: the Trajectory from NausicaA to Chihiro) (Tokyo: Rockin’ On Inc., 2002), P. 174. My translation. 20Kanö Seiji, “Miyazaki Hayao intabyu: eiga ga itsumo kibö wo kataranakerebaikenai nante omowanai” (Miyazaki Hayao Interview: I Do not Think Films should Talk about Hope). This interview is originally included in TECH WIN Special Issue/VIDEO DOO! Vol. 1 (October, 1997). (http://www.yk.rim.or.jp/—’rst/rabo/miyazaki/miyazaki_inter.html) (accessed on December 7, 2005) My translation. 107 through the power of fantasy. Thus, for example, Miyazaki does not see death and blood as offensive to his audience, because his educational point is to teach children of the pain and struggle which they will need to overcome in life, This view of “childhood” is also supported by Japanese clinician Yamanaka Yasuhiro, who acclaims Miyazaki’s Spirited Away as a source that may return energy back to today’s children, who lack energy and ambition, he claims, because they have been overprotected from the reality of unpleasant and complicated issues such as life and death.2’ Based on his philosophy of “realistic” fantasy, Miyazaki does not produce narratives that produce a predictable happy ending, but instead develops a protagonist who has to cope with reality, which “will be filled with eczema or AIDS patients, with the world population exploding. In this environment, we still have to go on,” because “our only choice is to keep living while making the same mistakes over and over.”22 From all these aspects it can be seen that Miyazaki’s conceptualization of “childhood” contrasts with the understanding of the term commonly embraced in contemporary North America—a phase of life that needs to be sheltered from the dark side of reality—which is manifested and maintained particularly through Walt Disney’s legacy of fantasy. Positioning himself explicitly in opposition to Disney, Miyazaki stresses this contrast: Media products should have mass appeal but, simultaneously, they should intellectually stimulate the audience. I dislike Disney animation, because the audiences leave a Disney fantasy in the same condition as when they entered it. This is an insult to the audience.23 21 Yamanaka Yasuhiro, Han to chihiro sedai no kodomotachi (Children of the Generation of Hariy and Chihfro) (Tokyo: Asahi Shuppan, 2002), PP. 3740 Miyazaki, Shuppatsuten, p. 364, and p. 519. 23 Miyazaki, Shuppatsuten, p. 102. My translation. 108 Elsewhere, Miyazaki expresses the same frustration toward the “fake” quality of humanism that is seen in “Disney-esque” animation. He similarly criticizes Tezuka Osamu, the so-called “Father of Japanese manga,” for his often-expressed admiration of Disney’s humanism. Miyazaki sees Tezuka’s enthusiasm for Disney as advocating “Eurocentric” values, and as revealing Tezuka’s sense of inferiority toward Disney and “the West.”24 Another characteristic of Miyazaki distinctive from Walt Disney is his emphasis on creating a fantasy that is not much “bigger” than everyday life—a fantasy (re)discovered in the “everyday-ness” of daily life, which he aims for through his characters and narratives. He explicates this philosophy as follows: I think that even the most trivial everyday experiences, or ..., the things we touch or what we feel, become important parts of our essential selves. As the layers of fallen leaves enrich the soil when they lose their shape, the accumulated layers of memories that we gain through experience must be enriching the essential parts of ourselves. In other words, I think that is what “imagination” is about.25 The everyday nature of Miyazaki’s fantasy effectively bridges the gap between reality and the imaginary, creating a fantasy that is neither much larger than life itself nor completely separated from reality. It is also important to point out that, given the global changes happening within our modem material civilization, Miyazaki identifies other Asian countries such as South Korea, North Korea, and China, as inevitable followers of Japan in terms of modernization; 24 See Kurosawa Akira, Miyazaki Hayao, Kitano Takeshi, p. 132. This does not mean that Miyazaki rejects all ideas from Europe or the U.S., but he has a critical view toward a simplistic humanism, binary concepts, and Eurocentrism (as well as any country’s ego-centrism). See Miya.zaki, Kaze no kaeru basho, p. 46, p. 80, p. 334. 25 Miyazaki Hayao, “A Message from the Managing Director,” in Ghibli Museum, Mitaka Catalog (Tokyo: Tokuma Memorial Cultural Foundation for Animation, 2004), pp. 246-47. No translator listed. 109 he says that they all are bound to encounter the same problems that Japan has faced and struggled with. One may argue that Miyazaki thus bravely reveals and problematizes the reality of modernization for young viewers in Japan and in other Asian countries, yet, simultaneously, his comment can be also interpreted as his nationalistic, Orientalist view of these “other” Asian countries as Japan’s “followers.” The significance of Miyazaki’s female characters An almost exclusive use of “shöjo” protagonists is one of the characteristics of Miyazaki’s work. He comments in an interview that girls are more suitable than boys to draw out human emotions, because of the assumption that the former express them more straightforwardly than the latter, and he adds that boy protagonists would be too realistic and too painful for him to deal with.26 I will examine Miyazaki’s (mis)use of “shöjo” by looking at specific works in later chapters to see how his “shojo” perform in relation to the concepts of gender and national identity; this section will provide a brief overview of the functions of the “shöjo” and other female characters in Miyazaki’s works. As explained in Chapter 2, the concept of the “shOjo” arose in modernizing Japan as part of a constellation of policies and discourses intended to confine female sexuality and to maintain the gender demarcation between “feminine” and “masculine.” From the time of its origins to the present, the concept “shöjo” has been used in a variety of ways by many different artists, politicians, cultural critics, and others, to signify various (usually negative) aspects of Japanese femininity. Discussing the signification of”shöjo” in Japanese popular culture in the 1990s, Sharalyn Orbaugh lists examples of the ways that the “shöjo” has been used to stand in for the Japanese national subject in the work of 26Miyki Shuppatsuten, p. 505. 110 cultural critics and politicians in particular.27 In the 1970s, 80s, and 90s, “shöjo” has been used to signify everything from utter passivity to sexual excess; from the most useless and parasitical of national subjects to the freest, most liberated of post-modem subjectivities; and so on. Examining the depictions of”shöjo” in manga and anime from the 1960s to the 1990s, Orbaugh emphasizes the emergence of a new type of female protagonist: a “battlin’ babe” who exhibits traits that are a hybrid of elements traditionally associated with “shojo and elements traditionally associated with “shönen” (boys and young men).28 It is suggested that, taking in Orbaugh’s argument, many of Miyazaki’s protagonists fit the definition of the “battlin’ babe.” Similarly, Susan Napier stresses the liberating aspect of Miyazaki’s “shöjo” protagonists—she views them as a vehicle for an implicit cultural resistance to Disney (or dominant Western) aesthetics and to some Japanese traditions in the realm of gender and national identity articulations.29 Napier argues that by depicting a “shöjo” that is detached from such typical associations as “femininity” and “purity,” Miyazaki defamiliarizes the mythologized image of Japanese women “as long-suffering and supportive,”30and problematizes the existing concept of gender itself. Napier also points out that Miyazaki’s frequent depiction of “flying girls” (as in Nausicaa and Kiki ‘s Delivery Service, for 27Orbau “Busty Battlin’ Babes,” p 298. The use of (young) women to signify the national subject is not unique to Japan. As Anne McClintock has observed, women are “typically constructed as the symbolic bearers of the nation but are denied any direct relation to national agency.” Anne McClintock, “No Longer in a Future Heaven,” in Dangerous Liaisons: Gende,, Nation, and Postcotonial Perspectives, eds. Anne McClintock, Aamir Mufti, and Ella Shohat (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press: 1997), p. 9028 Orbaugh, “Busty Battlin’ Babes,” pp. 295-310. 29Napier p. 33. For more on the cultural role of the “shOjo” in Japanese society, see Napier, p. 118, as well as Chapter 2 on “shojo.” 30Napier, p. 177. 111 example) also reveals his intention to exhibit empowered women, through the association of flying with liberation. Further, Miyazaki’s imagined worlds are generally governed or controlled by female characters (e.g. Lady Eboshi, who runs the iron village in Princess Mononoke; the kingdom ruled by Kushana in Nausicaa; Yubaba, who runs the batlthouse in Spirited Away; and Osono, a powerful lady who runs a house in Kiki, etc.). Male characters are often supporting figures who have less visibility or are depicted as infantile. In this sense, Miyazaki, too, like the cultural critics, artists and politicians quoted in Orbaugh’ s article, is using the figure of the girl/woman to represent Japanese society more generally. It is therefore crucial to examine the specific uses he makes of this symbolic figure. According to Napier, Miyazaki’s “shOjo” represents an active, assertive, and independent female, who embraces both “masculinity” and “femininity.”3’His narrativization of female protagonists as warriors—demonstrated by NausicaA’s and San’s violent behavior—challenges the classic ultra-feminine image of girls, and destabilizes the feminine-masculine dichotomy. Thus, Napier acclaims Miyazaki’s work for its gender fluidity. In this respect, Miyazaki’s protagonists draw on the Jungian idea that any individual carries both feminine and masculine principles, rather than thinking of them as mutually exclusive. Thomas Lamarre understands Miyazaki as playing with the notion of “shöjo” in a similar, but slightly different way. He argues that Miyazaki does not necessarily abolish gender demarcation, but instead creates a space where both boys and girls can exist autonomously without one subordinating the other.32 This view suggests a new 31 Ibid. 32 Lamarre, p. 351. 112 visualization of gender identity, which problematizes the myth of “femininity” that has been closely associated with Japan (and other modem nations as well, of course). Despite some differences, both Napier and Lamarre agree on the potential destabilization of conventional gender and sexual dynamics through Miyazaki’s fantasies. One may also identify that this destabilization of the dichotomy is not realized only by “shöjo,” but also by representations of different types of (older) females in Miyazaki’s work. Conventionally, women are associated with nature, and men with culture/civilization/technology, but Miya.zaki often represents both features within women. For instance, Kushana (Nausicaa), Eboshi (Mononoke), and Mosley (Mirai shonen Konan [Conan, The Boy in the Future], 1978) all exhibit a technophilic desire to conquer nature, whereas Nausicaä, San, and Lana (in the same films, respectively) exist close to nature. Female characters are thus used to embody various roles in Miyazaki’s work, and while some are more central than others, all have both good and bad elements; they are complexly realized personae. Moreover, his “shöjo” are empowered with or without physical beauty or “princess” status, which is contrary to Disney’s typical “pretty girls being rescued” narrative.33 It can be argued that, in contrast to both Disney’s fairy tale heroines and the stereotypical “shOjo” characters of anime since the 1 960s (with huge starry eyes, disproportionately tiny waists, and long, slim legs), who are often entrapped in Cinderella- type narratives, Miyazaki’s protagonists seize the power to combat representation of Japanese women in the dominant cultural discourse. In other words, Miyazaki’s use of ‘ Disney’s eight “princesses” (Ariel, CindereLla, Snow White, Jasmine, Pocahontas, Aurora, Belle, and Mulan) represent what a “princess” is supposed to look like in the dominant (Western) media discourse. Some of these characters are not literally princesses, but the main (if not the only) reason that they are called “princesses” is their physical beauty or prettiness, and their meeting with “princes” who form a romantic relationship with them. See http://disney.go.com/princess/htmllmainiframe.html. 113 “shôjo” protagonists functions as a potential tool to challenge the dominant Western ideologies about “femininity” in contemporary society. Yet, Orbaugh also complicates representation of female warriors, by concluding her discussion of the battling female protagonists in the 1990s manga/anime with the unsettling observation that a “shöjo” can have power only as long as she remains a virgin.34 In other words, female characters are only depicted as being strong and capable as long as they do not take claim adult sexuality—a very misogynistic representation of women. Most of Miyazaki’s “shojo” characters fit this description of virgin—strong only because they are dissociated from any sign of sex,35 and this can be interpreted as Miyazaki’s choice, inevitably resulting in depriving older women or mothers of an access to power. Nonetheless, it is fair to say that Miyazaki’s “shojo” transgress the conventional gender boundaries to the extent that they act as aggressive warriors—traditionally a “masculine” attribute. Accordingly, male-female relations in his films become unpredictable. In this sense, his narratives are “de-assuring,” and deploy a carnivalesque mode (in the Bakhtinian sense).36 Romantic relationships in his films are also not necessarily consummated with marriage or pledges of marriage. In Princess Mononoke, for example, Ashitaka and San decide in the end to live separately, each in his/her own world. For all these reasons, I would argue that Miyazaki’s “fictional truth” generally revolves around progressive, yet credible characters.37 See Orbaugh, “Busty Battlin’ Babes,” p. 318. Murase Hiromi, Feminizumu sabukaruchã hihyo sengen, pp. 53-58. 36Napier, p. 33. 37However, it must be acknowledged that there are some “non-progressive” aspects in his work. Most of his films still have a romance between the female protagonist and one of the male characters—in other words, love/romance is still considered a crucial plot element for a narrative that features a girl or girls. And all the romances are totally heteronormative. This aspect does not have to undermine everything I have argued, but 114 Miyazaki’s philosophy of anime fantasy the Ghibli Museum J 1i’- U i (Let’s Lose Our Way, Together.) —excerpt from a Ghibli Museum pamphlet Miyazaki’s fantasy narratives are also associated with fear or feelings of the uncanny, as well as a sense of ambiguity—all of which evoke curiosity rather than simple closure, the possibility of multiple interpretations and responses. This is unlike Disney’s narrative philosophy, where a policy was implemented in 1933 to discourage any elements contributing to the possibility of multiple interpretations.38The result is the promotion of narratives ruled by predetermined consequences that leave no room for the viewer’s imagination to operate. Disney’s unambiguous narrative is replicated in Disney’s theme parks, where visitors are guided from one point to another, so that at the end of the visit they establish a singular narrative which is arranged by Disney’s “imagineers.”39 The following publicity statement by Disney’s imagineers, accentuates the creation of fantasy (as definitively separate from reality). Here is the world of imagination, hopes and dreams. In this timeless land of enchantment, the age of chivafry, magic, and make-believe are reborn, and fairy tales come true. Fantasyland is dedicated to the young at heart, to it suggests that even Miyazaki is limited in his progressive-ness, and is still bound to some social conventions. 38Robe Skiar, Movie-Made America: A Cultural History ofAmerican Movies (New York: Vintage Books, 1994), p. 204. 39Regarding the linearity of Disney theme parks, David Johnson explains that to make sure that the visitors are provided with a single interpretive context for the images that contain elements of the historical, economic and social background of America, “the Disney people add conventional plots to inherently plotless materials.” See Johnson, “Disney World as Structure and Symbol,” p. 162. The word ‘imagineers,’ used officially by the Walt Disney Company, is, obviously, a conflation of the words ‘imagination’ and ‘engineers.’ This suggests the conscious and acknowledged instrumentality of the fantasies that it is the ‘imagineers” job to create and guide. 115 those who believe that when you wish upon a star, your dreams come true.40 (my emphases) —Walt Disney at the dedication of Fantasyland Miyazaki’s contrary philosophy toward fantasy is evident at the Ghibli Museum.4’ The museum’s structure and philosophy emphasizes multiple possible interpretations, reflecting the ambiguity of Miyazaki’s film narratives. There is no “correct” route to follow at the site. Instead, the museum’s catch-phrase, “Let’s lose our way together,” suggests the multiplicity of ways to enjoy the museum space. The visitors are expected to be entertained by their own creation of narrative and the mingled pleasure/fear of uncertainty. His intention is articulated more explicitly in the following “manifesto” written by Miyazaki and printed in the museum catalog Mitaka no Mon Ghibli Museum (Ghibli Museum, Mitaka). “This Is the Kind of Museum I Want to Make” A museum that is interesting and which relaxes the soul A museum where much can be discovered A museum based on a clear and consistent philosophy A museum where those seeking enjoyment can enjoy, those seeking to ponder can ponder, and those seeking to feel can feel A museum that makes you feel more enriched when you leave than when you entered! To make such a museum, the building must be Put together as if it were a film Not arrogant, magnificent, flamboyant, or suffocating Quality space where people canfeel at home, ° “Fantasyland” in Hong Kong Disneyland official site at http://park.hongkongdisneyland.com/hkdl/en US/parks/landing?name=FantasylandLandingPage. (accessed on April 25, 2005). 41 The Ghibli museum is directed and operated by Miyazaki and his associates at Studio Ghibli. While I grant that the size of the Ghibli Museum is much smaller than any Disney theme park, the purpose of the two is similar: to provide a physical space in which fans of the company’s (Ghibli’s or Disney’s) films can have a similar experience in real life. 116 The museum must be run in such a way so that Small children are treated as fthey were grown-ups The handicapped are accommodated as much as possible The staff can be confident and proud of their work Visitors are not controlled with predetermined courses and fixed directions It is suffused with ideas and new challenges so that the exhibits do not get dusty or old, and that investments are made to realize that goal This is the kind of museum I don’t want to make! A pretentious museum An arrogant museum A museum that treats its contents as if they were more important than people A museum that displays uninteresting works as if they were significant.42 Here we see clearly Miyazaki’s conscious self-positioning in opposition to Disney, particularly in phrases such as “Not .. .magnificent, flamboyant,” and “Visitors are not controlled with predetermined courses and fixed directions.” These are in sharp contrast to the structure of Disney theme parks, where, as mentioned above, visitors are literally and ideologically guided (or controlled) into going in certain directions, just as Disney films tend to feature predictable, safe plots. While one may argue that Disney’s slogans have a number of similarities with Miyazaki’ s—creating a world of “imagination,” a happy world, and a world for children—the way they are actualized differs. Disney’s theme parks stress the negation of everyday-ness and instead emphasize their power to transport visitors to a completely separate realm. Part of the technique for creating such a complete fantasy world is Disney’s intentional concealing of the operation of animation “magic” from the visitors. 42 Miyazaki Hayao, “This Is the Kind of Museum I Want to Make,” in Ghibli Museum, Mitaka Catalog (Tokyo: Tokuma Memorial Culural Foundation for Animation, 2004), pp. 186-188. No translator listed. © Studio Ghibli. All rights reserved. 117 Rather than revealing the way its fantasies are created, thus bridging the gap between fantasy and reality, Disney wants its visitors to “escape” into the fantasy world. In contrast, the Ghibli Museum focuses on making visitors “feel at home.” Thus, the museum displays how Miyazaki’s animated world is created step by step, and exhibits the history of animation technologies, revealing what goes on behind the fantasy screen. The museum is also far from an enclosed space, and is very flexible in terms of the direction visitors should take. It is in a sense a place where all people—including children—are treated as “intelligent grown-ups” who can exercise their own choice of movement, imagination and interpretation, while adult visitors at Disney theme parks are encouraged to return to the mindset of children to enjoy their visits. The fact that Miyazaki’s stated philosophy of fantasy is diametrically opposed to Disney’s is no coincidence, of course: Miyazaki is intentionally positioning himself in opposition to Disney, a political—one could even say postcolonial—decision, which I will address in later chapters. 3.3. Miyazaki’s Aesthetics (2): Miyazaki’s Occidentalist and self- Orientalist views This section discusses one of the most intriguing yet puzzling aspects of Miyazaki’s worldview: his depiction of “Japan” and its “others.” It should be no surprise that his anime problematize the concept of identity itself. This is partly because of his experience of dramatic shifts in Japan’s subjectivity in relation to its others, from wartime, the post-war Allied Occupation (led by the U.S.), to contemporary globalization and neo nationalistic movements, all of which have troubled Japan in re-establishing a national subjectivity. On the one hand, his animated texts appear to present nationally hybrid 118 features in their form and content; on the other hand, they can be understood as significantly local or even nationalistic. Although a close textual analysis will be done in the following chapters, it is useful to discuss here his vision of the world as manifested through the overarching characteristics of his work, particularly in terms of representations of national identity. It seems that Miyazaki has two general modes: 1) pastiching European culture, which can be seen in his representations of the Mediterranean landscape depicted in Porco Rosso, starring a Humphrey Bogart-like pig, or the mishmash of European towns in Kiki ‘s Delivery Service; or 2) portraying an idealized “traditional” Japan, such as the fictionalized thirteenth-century Japan of Princess Mononoke, or the peaceful postwar countryside in My Neighbour Totoro (1988). (SpiritedAway is a bit of a departure from these two modes, as it depicts a fantasy world within contemporary Japan, which incorporates elements of nostalgic Japanese tradition, elements from other East Asian cultures, as well as elements of Western—particularly European—landscapes.) Of his nine feature-length anime films including those produced in pre-Ghibli days, six feature clearly “Western” settings: Lupin III: The Castle ofthe Cagliostro; Nausicaä ofthe Valley ofthe Wind set in an European-looking town; Laputa: Castle in the Sky, modeled on nineteenth-century Wales; Kiki Delivery Service; Porco Rosso; and Howl’s Moving Castle, which features European architecture and scenery. The remaining three (My Neighbour Totoro, Princess Mononoke, and Spirited Away) are set in “Japan,” and feature mostly Japanese (or other East Asian) visual elements. At a glance, Miyazaki’s works, especially in the early years, appear to exhibit his admiration for the West—similar to other Japanese anime that so often feature Caucasian- looking characters with blond hair. While this may indicate a “typical” inferiority 119 complex; at the same time, his negative depictions of an imaginary “West,” as distinguished from Japan, can be interpreted as his way of maintaining a particular vision of Japan—a potentially Occidentalizing perspective. As an example, the depiction of Western modernization as a cause of environmental disaster in Nausicaa and Laputa, can draw on the image of “good old Japan” before the influx of Western culture and ideology. Yet, it is hard to write this off as complete Occidentalism, because Japanese viewers are expected to identify with the “Western” characters such as NausicaA and Sheeta (in Laputa), and these viewers are mostly accustomed to seeing blonds or characters with other hair colors as “Japanese” in anime, so they clearly identify across visually “racialized” boundaries. The seif-Orientalizing, on the other hand, is visible in Miyazaki’s works set in Japan, such as My Neighbor Totoro and Princess Mononoke. One can certainly argue that these films seif-Orientalize Japan for the purpose of emphasizing a specific vision of “Japan,” and simultaneously distancing it from “others.” These concepts are further discussed with specific examples in Chapter 4 and 5. Miyazaki’s relationship to the West (1): narratives concerning technology In the United States—the global center of popular media—computer-generated animation has been the dominant trend. Disney and other major animation studios in the United States were quick to adopt computerized production, and in 2004, Disney Feature Animation management decided to produce only fully computerized animations for theatrical release. In contrast, Miyazaki prefers the aesthetics of eel-based animation.43 In this regard, Miyazaki’s friend and producer Suzuki Toshio associates Miyazaki with Charlie Chaplin, who held out the longest for the artistry of the silent film after the coming of talkies, and with Kurosawa 120 Using cel-based animation that conveys visual clarity and plainness certainly contributes to one of his goals: communicating complex concepts to child audiences. Despite the Walt Disney Company’s introduction of computer-generated scenes into animation with 1991’s Beauty and the Beast, Ghibli did not follow suit until the production of Princess Mononoke in 1997. While Disney launched their first fuliy computer-generated feature film, Toy Story, in 1995, it was not until 2001’s SpiritedAway that Miyazaki (Ghibli) produced his first hilly digitaly animated film. And despite Ghibli’s increasing use of computer animation, Miyazaki has not shown any intention to abandon cel animation completely. Thomas Looser contrasts what he calls “anime-ic” anime with Miyazaki’s cel-style aesthetics, which he terms “cinematic,” introducing an interesting perspective on the national/cultural identity of Japan in an international context. Contrary to the cinematic style, the “anime-ic” style is characterized by a lack of three-dimensionality and depthless ness (lack of authenticity). This two-dimensional style has been called “superfiat,” referring to the aesthetics in various Japanese media, including the popular art of Murakami Takashi. Although the concept of “superfiat” aesthetics is a recently named phenomenon, it is attributed to the “limited animation”—relatively few eels and a simple visual style resulting from limited budgets—that has characterized TV anime in Japan since the 1960s.45 On the one hand, some critics regard “superfiat-ness” as a means of emancipatory understanding of subject identity, because it stresses identity as a surface relation, Aidra, who kept making black-and-white films long after the coming of color. See Kevin Moist and Michael Bartholow, “When Pigs Fly: Anime, Auteurism, and Miyazald’s Porco Rosso,” in Animation: An Interdisciplinary Journal 2: 1 (2007), p. 30. Lamarre, pp. 333-39. Thomas Looser, “From Edogawa to Miyazaki: Cinematic and Anime-ic Architectures of Early and Late Twentieth-century Japan,” in Japan Forum 14: 2 (2002), P. 307-10. 121 negating the single-point perspective common to visual three-dimensionality that constructs a unified subject position fixed by hierarchically organized relations.46 On the other hand, from a different perspective, it has also been argued that the awkwardness and jerkiness of characters’ movements generated in limited animation anime potentially promote a view of Japan as the “Other”—an image of Japanese automata moving clumsily like machines provides a spectacle for laughter, which is reminiscent of what Rey Chow identifies as one of the factors that evokes the idea of “otherness.”47(See “Construction of Self and Other and politics of vision” in Chapter 1.) The latter is Miyazaki’s view: he expresses frustration with animators who create typical anime-ic anime, and thereby disseminate the “othemess” of Japan. In particular he feels frustrated over their obsession with exaggerated expressions, which accentuate the unrealistic-ness and deformation of characters.48 He is therefore apprehensive about policies promoting massive anime exports to Europe and North America as symbols of Japan’s national pride. Lamarre and other critics regard Miyazaki’s work as “the least anime-ic and most cinematic” among popular animators,49based on his marked preference for theatrical (as opposed to TV) release, his studio’s investment to produce full three-dimensional animation rather than limited animation, and his entire involvement as auteur in all aspects of production to ensure continuity in style and story. Nonetheless, Miyazaki’s position in terms of style is rather ambivalent, because he manages to create depth even out of the 46Ama Hiroki, “Super Flat Speculation,” in Superfiat, ed. Murakami Takashi (Tokyo: MADRA Publishing, 2000), p. 146. No translator listed. Chow, Writing Diaspora, pp. 50-60. 48Miyazaki, Shuppatsuten, pp. 103-110. 49Lamarre, “From Animation to Anime,” pp. 339-41. Also, see Looser, p. 318. Looser contends that although some scenes in Miyazaki’s works rely on “flat’ relations within frames” that are devoid of gravity or weight, Miyazaki is very careful to provide a three-dimensional perspective, by means of color differences and camera movements. 122 anime-ic eel-animation condition of flatness, by generating “a more organically perspectival mode of space.”5° Considering that an anime-ic style may disseminate the image of the Japanese as automata, there is arguably less likelthood of Miyazaki’s anime contributing to the association of Japan with “otherness” in the eyes of Westerners. Moreover, unlike many popular cyberpunk anime creators, Miyazaki’s hesitation in shifting to digital production reflects his ambivalent perception of technology. On the one hand, the narrative world of Miyazaki illustrates technology and Western modernization as a cause of destruction, or as an alienating experience. On the other hand, it also shows the positive side of technology as well: how it can serve as a conduit of intimacy and humor. In his work, humans and technologies are not necessarily placed in antagonistic relationships. Howl c Moving Castle provides an example where the use of fire is personified and made effective in the characterization of the fire demon known as “Calcifer,” who enables the castle to move. Another example is seen in My Neighbour Totoro. The most powerful and effective technology in this film is a transportation device called the “Neko-bus” (Cat-bus), which helps the protagonist to find her little sister. These aspects suggest that in the contemporary animation industry, Miyazaki occupies an anomalous position. While criticizing the emphasis on popularizing the typical anime style that promotes “Japaneseness” to non-Japanese viewers, and rejecting a complete switch to full computerization, his version of the anime medium hybridizes the Western perspectival mode and anime “flatness.” Looser, p. 318. 123 Miyazaki’s relationship to the West (2): narrative and theme Similar to his stylistic form, Miyazaki’s narrative inspiration comes in large measure from European and American sources; he has been an avid reader of Greek mythology and Western folktales, fairy tales, and fantasy literature, including works by Jonathan Swift, Diana Wynne Jones, Ursula K. Le Gum, J.R.R. Tolkien, and so forth. These influences are manifested in his work. As well, he has traveled widely in Europe: Wales, Sweden, Italy, and other places. He writes that after Japan’s defeat in World War II he kept hearing that Japan was a poor and helpless country, and he believed it. It was only after he started traveling abroad, he writes, that he realized the beauty of nature in Japan.51 This suggests that he is not only fascinated with Western culture, but also appreciates what makes Japan “Japan.” Moreover, he states: I have never illustrated Europe simply to express admiration toward it, or to please viewers with “fantastic” blond-haired characters. Instead, what I am interested in is the distinctiveness that each culture and customs hold, particularly in the countryside.... I have no judgment on which cultures are superior to others. Japanese people tend to choose things European to feel exotic. This is probably rooted in a kind of complex toward the West (Europe)... Thus, I try to draw Europe in such a way that viewers watch my work, not simply because it shows Europe, but because it makes them interested in specific aspects of Europe.52 (my emphasis) This statement indicates that Miyazaki does not intend in any simplistic sense to practice “Occidentalism,” a discursive practice that allows the Orient to participate actively in the process of self-definition through the construction of its Western “Other”— at least not consciously. Through his texts, he questions the admiration for the imaginary West that is often presented in anime, by depicting Caucasian characters or Western 51 Miyazaki Hayao and Kurosawa Akira, Nani ga eiga ka (What Counts as Cinema?) (Tokyo: Tokuma shoten, 1993), p. 136. 52Kurosa Akfra, Mz>’azaki Hayao, Kitano Takeshi, pp. 142-150. My translation. 124 civilization as trouble-makers. At the same time, Miyazaki’s West is not simply a symbol of evil either. He seems to be carefully ambiguous about how Japan’s “Other,” the West, is projected in his work. For example, in most cases he depicts neither a technologically advanced, superior West, nor a destructive, modernized West, but rather depicts a pastoral, visually attractive West (eg, the settings in Kiki Delivery Service and Nausicaa in the Valley ofthe Wind). Moreover, he seems to make an effort to create characters who embody cultural heterogeneity: NausicaA, for example, is modeled after both Princess Nausicaa from the Greek Odyssey and an insect-loving princess from the Tei Chanagon Monogatari, an eleventh century Japanese short story anthology,53and its narrative is also inspired by the Russo German war depicted in Paul Karel’s Operation Barbarossa. Miyazaki’s attempt at cultural heterogeneity is also reflected in his articulation of the concept of “universality,” which differs significantly from the kind of universality the Walt Disney Company strives for. Disney’s “universality” is often associated with homogenization of taste across the world. Here is the way critics have described this phenomenon: “Disney is the canon of popular film; Disney is a multinational corporation; Disney is an ideology.”54 The slogan of Disney’s imagineers is also significant: “The time Miyazaki himself states in this in the first issue of the comic version ofNausicaJ ofthe Valley ofthe Wind. NausicaA in the Greek mythology was a beautiful and imaginative girl, quick on her feet. She loved nature and playing the harp and singing more than the attention of her suitors or pursuing materialistic happiness. She, unafraid, saved Odysseus and nursed his wounds when he drifted ashore covered in blood. NausicaA’s parents worried that she might fall in love with Odysseus and pressured him to set sail. NausicaA watched his ship until it was out of sight. According to legend, she never married, but traveled from court to court as the first female minstrel. Miyazaki states that “[u]nconsciously, Nausicaa and this Japanese princess (from the Tsutsumi chznagon monogatari) become one person” in his mind. See manga Kaze no tani no Nausicaä (Nausicaa ofthe Valley ofthe Wind) (Wide version), vol. 1 (Tokyo: Tokuma shoten, 2005), p. 137. For more on Miyazaki’s inspiration from Russo-German war on Nausicaa, see Helen McCarthy, Hayao Miyazaki: Master ofJapanese Animation (Berkeley: Stone Bridge Press, 1999), p. 74; and also Miyazaki, Shupparsuten, p. 348. Moreover, some speculate Miyazaki’s manga Shuna no tabi (The Journey ofShuna), which is inspired by Tibetan folklore, is the prototype ofNausicad. 54El[beth Bell, Lynda Haas, and Laura Sells, “Introduction,” in From Mouse to Mermaid: The Politics of Film, Gender, and Culture, eds. Elizabeth Bell, Lynda Haas, and Laura Sells (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1995), p. 2. 125 has come to lay aside one’s own imagination, and together all shall dream Walt Disney’s dreams.”55 This slogan is indicative of Disney’s primary concern: encouraging the masses in North America and around the world to set aside consideration of conflicted and complex histories, and set aside consideration of ethnic/racial differences and tensions, in order to foster “global friendship” in the name of the Disney principle. Hence, Disney’s “universality” refers to the permeation of its single (American-centric) narrative to all corners of the earth, with the effect of homogenizing peripheral ideas in the American “melting-pot.” In other words, this approach to universality entails lowering the level of narrative complexity or intellectuality. What makes Miyazaki’ s idea of “universality” different, as some scholars assert, are his themes of “globally consequential issues”56—issues that are relevant to a global audience—despite his insistence that he makes his anime specifically for Japanese viewers.57 “Globally consequential issues” include: the conflict between nature and human technologies; human greed and capitalism (consumerism); gender issues; and the influence of globalization. Although Disney animations, particularly recent ones, also deal with some of these issues, they present them in a light and simplistic manner. For example, in terms of gender issues, among Disney’s “princess stories,” Mulan and The Little Mermaid seem to present female empowerment and assertiveness; however, they both conclude with a typical “Cinderella-style” happy ending: their heroines do not gain a complete sense of independence.58 Skiar, p. 205. Cavallaro, p. 8. 57Masaki Yamada, Shin’ichi Okada, and Tadahiro Ohkoshi, “The Cutting Edge of Cool,” in Asia-Pacjfic Perspectives: Japan+ 2: 1 (2004), p, 11. 58 It has to be noted that some of Miyazaki’s protagonists do not necessarily achieve total independence. For example, Chihiro in Sprited Away achieves a significant level of maturity during her stay in the bathhouse, 126 To Miyazaki, “universality” is not, at least consciously, associated with the homogenization of different ideas and tastes into a single aesthetic standard, but is, instead, intricately (and perhaps paradoxically) tied to his philosophy of cultural hybridization. In his works one can observe his intention to combine elements from Western narratives and settings with elements from Japanese narrative and visual traditions as well. Miyazaki’s intended fantasy, composed of narrative and imagistic elements from different cultural sources, transgresses national or cultural boundaries without generating cultural homogenization. This suggests that Miyazaki’s overarching themes allow identity politics to surface, and this may be his way of engaging in polities, unlike Disney’s apparent influence on and reflection of the U.S. relationship with other countries and events in the Middle East, which can be observed in Aladdin. To a certain extent, this harks back to the way Disney influenced U.S. foreign affairs in the U.S. in the 1930s and 1940s—particularly, its relationship with Latin America—through representations in Saludos Amigos (1942) and The Three Caballeros (1944), which were intended to generate a goodwill message for Latin American “friends.” It is, however, also possible to argue that Miyazaki does not show us the unique or distinctive aspects of any specific European culture—an element of Occidentalism. In other words, instead of showing a distinctive Germany, England, or Italy, for example, he creates an imaginary generalized “Western European” or “Southern European/Mediterranean” culture. Thus, it is open for debate how far his insistence mentioned above—his respect for cultural specificities—is actualized in his work. It also but at the very end of the film, when she reunites with her parents, she acts in a way that is similar to her behavior at the beginning of the film (i.e. clinging to her mother). 127 may be debatable whether his creation of “multiple differences” merely represents a bifurcation between “foreign” vs “local,” rather than actual heterogeneous elements. Hence, it is arguable that Miyazaki’s “Europe” is no more culturally specific than Disney’s China (in Mulan) or “Arabia” (in Aladdin). In subsequent chapters we will see in more detail the ways that Miyazaki does or does not succeed in representing difference in ideologically nuanced and useful ways. Based on the discussion above, what can be said here is that Miyazaki consciously positions his work in opposition to dominant Western discourses of identity, which he regards as too simplistic. 3.4. The Reception ofAnime outside Japan and “Japaneseness” In order to understand the potential self-Orientalism of Miyazaki’s films it is necessary to consider their reception outside Japan. This is because their receptions (particularly in the U.S. and Europe) not only shape the image of Japan among non- Japanese, but also affects how the Japanese—both the creators and viewers of anime— understand their own identities in relation to their “other.” In the field of Japanese live-action film, the 1950s was called the “Golden Age,” when “great masters” such as Kurosawa Akira, Mizoguchi Kenji, and Kinugasa Teinosuke received numerous awards in international film festivals. Film critics in Europe were amazed by the production of masterpieces in Japan—a country that had appeared to be completely devastated after its defeat in the Second World War. The president of Daiei Motion Picture Company, Nagata Masaichi, eagerly exported films directed by Kurosawa, Mizoguchi, and Kinugasa to Europe. In his book on film, Nagata writes: “Japanese films 128 that attract foreign audiences need to have a simple narrative and mysterious characters.”59 This statement indicates Nagata’ s principle of stressing the exoticism of Japan to cater to Western viewers’ (Orientalist) taste. This is not a practice of strategic essentialism but of seif-Orientalization (or seif-othering), because the definition of “Japaneseness” sold to the West is determined by the West. Indeed, all of the films that received awards, including Rashomon (Kurosawa), Gate ofHell (Kinugasa), and Ugetsu (Mizoguchi), are period films whose narratives revolve around samurai and “exotic-looking” women in kimono, which fit the stereotyped Western image of “Japan.” Miyazaki’s perception of Japan’s identity configuration through anime is partly suggested by the 1996 Tokuma-Disney Deal, which grants worldwide distribution rights for eleven of Studio Ghibli’s anime to the Walt Disney Company. The executive producer of many of Miyazaki’s works and managing director of Studio Ghibli, Suzuki Toshio, intended through this deal to ensure that the studio’s works were distributed around the world.6° Unlike other anime products popular in the West (by which I mean Europe and North America), which are created to seem “stateless”/”odorless” or are even sometimes modified to erase cultural specificities,6’this deal does not allow Disney to cut or modify even one second of the films. Moreover, Miyazaki frequently says that he does not have foreign viewers in mind when making his anime. Hence, his philosophy is not based on 59Nagata Masaichi, Elga Jigakyo (Film and My Sutra) (Tokyo: Heibon shuppan, 1957), pp. 122-230. My translation. 60 Suzuki clarifies that other companies such as Fox and Time-Warner contacted Tokuma, but Ghibli chose Disney as the partner because it was the only company willing to agree to this condition. See “The Disney Tokuma Deal” at Nausicaa net (http://www.nausicaa.net/miyazakildisneyl) (accessed on September 20, 2005). 61 The success of many TV anime exported to the U.S. in the 1960s, including Speed Racer, Astro Boy, The Eighth Man, and Mann Boy, owe to the fact that they did not reflect Japanese culture. For example, Speed Racer is not simply the English version of Mahha Go Go (the Japanese original), but it was heavily edited in the U.S., particularly in action and allegedly violent scenes, by which Japanese aesthetics and values are discounted. 129 seif-othering for commercial benefit, but on inscribing another version of “Japaneseness” through his anime without accommodating foreign viewers. Based on these points, one could argue that Ghibli or Miyazaki’s unbending insistence on keeping a “Japanese flavor” intact is indicative of a kind of nationalistic stance. Yet, his stance seems very different from Nagata’s seif-othering promotion of “Japaneseness,” which is created to fit what non-Japanese viewers expect of “Japan,” for economic benefit. It also differs from the promotion of “Japaneseness” based on the stateless “anime-ic” style. Miyazaki’ s adamant position on the integrity of his works distributed abroad, including the imagery of traditional Japan in Princess Mononoke or the European settings in Nausicaa, signifies his resistance to the Western aesthetic standard and its ideology. The question of whether Miyazaki’ s works promote nationalism, or in other cases, promote an Occidentalist view, remains complex. It is problematic, for example, to simply assume that the popularity of the semi-historical Princess Mononoke outside Japan derives from Orientalist expectations to which it caters. If foreign viewers appreciated Princess Mononoke only because of its traditional or “exotic” elements, for example, it is unlikely that Miyazaki’s other films would have been so popular: it seems evident that non-Japanese viewers could to some degree identify with the characters in the films rather than simply finding them exotic. Miyazaki’s promotional tour in the U.S. and Canada observed the enthusiastic reaction to Mononoke among North American viewers. At that time Ghibli staff commented that it is pretentious of Japanese people to assume that 130 foreign viewers could not understand Mononoke because of its historical setting or the uniqueness of Japanese culture.62 The association ofMononoke with cultural nationalism or a self-Orientalist view cannot be completely denied. Nonetheless, the popularity of Miyazaki’s anime is no doubt partly attributable to his use of cultural pastiche or heterogeneity. The perception of national identity through film representation is a multifaceted issue, which I have discussed only in very general terms in this chapter. Subsequent chapters will address this question in greater detail, with reference to specific Miyazaki films. 62 Ghibli staff were impressed by the knowledge North American fans demonstrated regarding Miyazaki’s anime, and by the number of questions based on their solid research about Mononoke. There was considerable media coverage of the interviews with Miyazaki, including major newspapers and magazines, such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, US News & World Report, as well as online media such as AOL and AiN’T IT COOL. See Nagae Akira, “Amerika ga ‘Princess Mononoke’ ni nekkyoshit hi” (When the U.S. Went Wild over Princess Mononoke), in Roman Album: Ghibli (Tokyo: Tokuma shoten, 2000), pp. 20-29. 131 Chapter 4: Western Orientalism & Japanese Occidentalism Aladdin, Nausieaä ofthe Valley ofthe Wind, and Porco Rosso without people such as he (Morroe Gerger, Orientalist), the Middle East would be neglected; and that without his mediating, interpretative role, the place would not be understood..., partly because only the Orientalist can interpret the Orient, the Orient being radically incapable ofinterpreting itse(f’ —Edward Said, Orientalism As suggested in Chapters 1 and 2, media narratives and visual representations play a significant part in the process of viewers’ understanding of their own identities, while (mis)recognizing the “other,” as well as the “self,” through complex mechanisms. Assuming the significance of directors/auteurs’ control over the production of animated narratives and the influence of discourses and power relations that embody their subjectivities, this chapter and the following two chapters examine animated folklores by Disney and Miyazaki. The examinations point toward explaining a link between the identities circulated through the texts and the resulting cultural identities potentially articulated by utilizing these texts. As mentioned in previous chapters, Disney animations have been contributing to media-based ideology creation since the 193 Os, and, according to many critics, in combination with theme parks, they have also served an Anglo-phallogocentric discourse. However, a better understanding of the complex mechanisms of identity articulation via media representations requires taking into account the context of the globalized animation industry, as representations presented in the emerging medium of anime have become quite influential since the 1980s and 1990s, rivaling Western aesthetics. Thus, although North Said, Orientalism, p. 289. 132 American animations still occupy a dominant position in the global market, the increasing number of widely distributed anime offer alternative narratives for cultural identity articulation, which may in turn offer alternatives to the dominant model of representation. Miyazaki Hayao’s (Studio Ghibli) anime, in particular, in many aspects defy the Western ideologies conveyed through many of Disney’s texts, as well as destabilizing American-centered cultural flows. Close textual analyses of works from these two studios reveal the complexity of self/other construction, by attending not just to concepts of Orientalizing (the West’s construction of “the East” for its own purposes) or Occidentalizing (the East’s construction of “the West” for its own purposes), but also to concepts such as seif-othering by “others,” and seif-Occidentalizing on the part of the Occident, which operate in the narrative-making process of some texts. Based on these ideas, the following three chapters examine specific animated works through the prism of self/other constructs in media representation from postcolonial and gender studies perspectives. They attempt to demonstrate how the theoretical and historical discussions of previous chapters are (or are not) embodied or executed in actual texts. The following analyses also attend to the socio-political (cultural) backgrounds of the texts’ production and the creators’ intentions, as well as to the receptions of the film based on information from reviews and box office numbers. This is done because, as Martin Barker asserts, the production history behind a media product is essential for a comprehensive understanding of the media text,2 as the text is always produced and interpreted in a specific temporal and spatial context. 2 Martin Barker, Comics: Ideology, Power & the Critics (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1989), p. 275. 133 The animations examined have all been theatrically released: Disney’s Aladdin (1992), Pocahontas (1995), and Mulan (1998); Miyazaki’s Nausicaä ofthe Valley ofthe Wind (1984), Porco Rosso (1992), Princess Mononoke (1997), and SpiritedAway (2OO1). These films were chosen because each of them provides viewers with stories that explore or evoke issues of cultural identity, and with specific notions of “self’ and “other,” composed of interrelating politics of gender/sexual, racial/ethnic, and national identities. Each of the three Disney works is paired up with one or more of Miyazaki’s films. This chapter examines Aladdin—an archetypal representation of”otherness” derived from a classical Western Orientalist view—in relation to Nausicaä and Porco Rosso—versions of Occidentalism, or Oriental media representation of its Western “other.” Nausicaa and Porco Rosso reflect Miyazaki’s perception of “the West,” “the East,” and Japan. 4.1. Aladdin (1992): manifestation of classic Western Orientalism Oh, I come from a land, From a faraway place, Where the caravan camels roam Where they cut off your ear If they don’t like your face. It’s barbaric, but hey, it’s home. (from the original lyrics of the opening song ofAladdin, “Arabian Nights”5) was directed and produced by Ron Ciements and John Musker, and written by John Musker, Ron Clements, Ted Elliott (screenplay), and Terry Rossio (screenplay), as well as others. Pocahontas was directed by Mike Gabriel and Eric Goldberg, and produced by James Pentecost. The story was written by Carl Binder (screenplay), Susannah Grant (screenplay), Phillip LaZebnick (screenplay), and many others who contributed to additional story materials. Mulan was directed by Tony Bancroft and Barry Cook, and produced by Pam Coats. The story was written by Robert D. San Souci, as well as many others who contributed to additional story materials. 4Ncn,sicaa was written and directed by Miyazaki Hayao, and produced by Takahata Isao. Porco Rosso, Mononoke, and Spirited Away were all written and directed by Miyazaki Hayao, and produced by Suzuki Toshio. Disney Animation Studio, after discussions with Arab communities, agreed to change these lyrics for the subsequent video release from “Where they cut off your ear if they don’t like your face,” to “Where it’s flat 134 Since the end of the nineteenth century, the United States began to take the place of the fading European imperial powers, and has wielded its hegemonic power over the Orient. Particularly after all the Arab-Israeli wars since World War II, the Arab Muslim has become one of the major figures in American popular media, such as Disney’s Aladdin, almost always portrayed as an enemy. With an ideological combination of semiotic typology and socio-cultural “facts” (or incidents), Aladdin provides in animated fantasy a narrative that reflects the archetypal Western Orientalist view, which prevailed through nineteenth-century paintings and literature. The lyrics quoted above encapsulate the exoticization that is manifested throughout this animation. In fact, the ethnic and other types of representation in the film have sparked intense controversies among the Arab community in the United States and elsewhere.6 The significant influence ofAladdin can also be estimated based on its box office numbers. According to a report by The Los Angeles Times on April 21, 1993, Aladdin had grossed over $200 million in North America by mid-April 1993 (after 22 weeks of release, while ticket sales were still relatively strong), and an estimated $250 million in the international market, with a large portion of that drawn from Asia. The article stresses the significance of this number, stating that “a $200-million-grossing film means that 50 million movie tickets have been sold, which is the equivalent of one fifth of the U.S. and immense and the heat is intense,” so that the word “barbaric” in the subsequent line can refer to the land instead of the people. 6 Aladdin was to a certain degree controversial in Southeast Asia, notably Malaysia and Indonesia, where there are significant Muslim populations. Although protests against Aladdin in these countries, particularly in Malaysia, ended up quietly backing down, largely due to the difficulty in publicizing their claims, this should not discount the fact that some conservative Islamic communities did pressure the government to ban Aladdin because of its offensive depiction of Islamic culture. (See Timothy R. White and J. E. Winn, “Islam, Animation, and Money: The Reception of Disney’s Aladdin in Southeast Asia,” in Themes and Issues in Asian Cartooning, ed. John Lent (Bowling Green: Bowling Green State University Popular Press, 1999). 135 population.” (Note that the ticket price for Aladdin was U.S. $4.OO.) Aladdin was Disney’s top grossing animated feature ever up to that point. Synopsis Released in 1992, Aladdin was adapted from a version of the story of “Aladdin and the Magic Lamp” from a work of medieval Middle-Eastern literature, The Arabian Nights Entertainment (also known as A Thousand and One Nights).8 Set in the mythical city of Agrabah, the story follows a poor but street-smart young man, Maddin, and his mischievous pet monkey, Abu. We learn that the sultan of Agrabah is secretly being controlled by the evil vizier, Jafar, who is also a sorcerer and is plotting to take over the sultan position for himself. He has spent years searching for the Cave of Wonders, in which lies the magic lamp whose power he hopes to exploit. Jafar, however, learns that only one person, a metaphorical “Diamond in the Rough,” can enter the Cave. The sultan is having problems finding a husband for his daughter, Princess Jasmine. Jafar hypnotizes the sultan and convinces him to give his magic ring to Jafar, claiming that he needs the ring to find Jasmine a husband. The truth of the matter though, is that Jafar needs the ring to discover the identity of the “Diamond in the Rough” in order to bring him closer to the location of the magical lamp. 7i J. Fox,” ‘Aladdin’ Becomes a $200-Million Genie for Disney Movies,” in The Los Angeles Times (April21, 1993), Fl. 8 According to The Reader Encyclopedia, The Arabian Nights Entertainment (also known as A Thousand and One Nights) is a collection of tales from ancient Persia, India and Arabia, which attained its present form in about 1450. The Arabian Nights Entertainment was first translated into French in 1704-17 17, and into English in 1882-1884. (William Rose Benet, The Reader c Encyclopedia. New York: Thomas Y. Crowell Co., 1965.) 136 Jasmine, on the other hand, not wanting to be married, decides to run away from the palace. Amidst the chaos in the street, she is rescued by a street scamp, Aladdin. Aladdin becomes attracted to the free-spirited Jasmine, but by law Jasmine is allowed to wed only a royal suitor. In the meantime, Jafar discovers that Aladdin is the “Diamond in the Rough,” and he sends palace guards to capture him. Jafar then lies to Jasmine, claiming that Aladdin had been executed for allegedly kidnapping her. Disguised as an old man, Jafar takes Aladdin to the Cave of Wonders, telling him that if he brings back the lamp from the Cave without touching any treasure, he will be rewarded. Aladdin successfully finds the lamp, but his pet money, Abu, attempts to take a jewel, which causes them to be trapped inside. Although Aladdin and Abu initially manage to escape the cave with the help of a flying carpet, in evading Jafar they are forced back into it. In the cave, Aladdin discovers that the lamp is home to Genie, who serves his master with any three wishes—except that he cannot force a person to fall in love. Aladdin, having fallen in love with Jasmine, wishes to become a prince in order to try to win her love. With Genie’s help, he “becomes” Prince Ali Ababwa, and seeks her hand in marriage. Although Jasmine is initially not interested in this seemingly typical rich prince, he eventually wins her love after taking her on a romantic ride on the flying carpet. Meanwhile, Jafar finds out that Aladdin has the lamp and, with his wisecracking parrot, lago, manages to steal it. As the Genie’s new master, Jafar makes his first wish: to become the sultan. Jasmine and her father, the real sultan, defy Jafar, at which point he makes his second wish: to become the most powerful sorcerer in the world. Jafar then reveals that Prince Ali Ababwa is merely a street scamp named Aladdin, and imprisons him. When Aladdin tries to get the lamp back, Jafar turns himself into a giant snake in order to kill 137 Aladdin. At Aladdin’s suggestion, Jafar makes his final wish: to become the most powerful genie, which consequently imprisons him in the lamp. While Aladdin is no longer a prince and cannot marry Jasmine by law, the re-instated sultan is convinced that Aladdin has proven his self-worth. The sultan therefore changes the law so that the princess is able to marry anyone she chooses. In the end, Aladdin and Jasmine begin their new life together as a happy couple. Table 4.1. Main characters and voice actors in Aladdin Characters Voice actors SdaddinfPrince Ali Ababwa Scott Weinger (white American) Jasmine Linda Larkin (white American) 3enie Robin Williams (white American) The Sultan Douglas Seale (white British) Jafar Jonathan Freeman (white American) R.azoul Jim Cummings (white American) bu Frank Welker (white American) [ago Gilbert Gottfried (white American) .ajah Frank Welker (white American) Table 4.1. shows the main characters and their voice actors in Aladdin, since some characters and corresponding voice actors raise issues to be discussed in this chapter. It is important to note that the “Arabian” characters are voiced by “white” American or British actors.9 For the purposes of this discussion, “Arabian” will be used to refer to the characters in Aladdin, whose “actual” nationality or ethnicity is obscure. Because the original Arabian Nights Entertainment, from which Aladdin is adapted, was an amalgam of tales from Persia, India and Arabia, it is unclear where the mythical city ofAgrabah is supposed to be located, or who its inhabitants are supposed to be in cultural or ethnic terms. The characters in Aladdin are represented, as I will argue, as undifferentiatedly “Middle Eastern,” suggesting Arab and Muslim identities. By “white” in this discussion I refer to people whose ethnic backgrounds are not Arab (or other Middle Eastern ethnicity, such as Persian/Iranian) or Muslim. 138 Social background of the production and origin ofAladdin In examining Aladdin as a Western representation of the Orient, we should not ignore the background of social and political events against which the film was produced: in particular, the (first) Gulf War, which took place in 1991, during the production of the film. Dianne Sacbko Macleod describes the production ofAladdin as revealing Disney CEO Michael Eisner’s approach to the cultural globalization (or domination) that “parallel(s) the causes and unfolding of the Gulf War,” She also adds that both Eisner and the Pentagon “relied on the same storehouse of racial and cultural images.”° This observation indicates that, bolstered by the Gulf War as its context, Aladdin further dramatizes stereotypes of the (Middle) East. That is, media reports on the Gulf War in the United States and Disney’s Aladdin were interdependent and worked toward a mutual interest: the emphasis on freedom and quality of life for U.S. citizens, in opposition to the evil (or, at least, unliberated and inferior) “Other.” The popular tale The Arabian Nights Entertainment, upon which Aladdin is based, is known as an important text within Orientalist discourse. Although the collected tales do trace their roots to the parts of the Middle East and India—what nineteenth century Europeans called “the Orient”—they were interpreted not as fantastic tales, but as an “accurate” depiction of “the Orient,” according to nineteenth century Orientalists’ needs: exhibition of “the Orient” as the exotic and sexually seductive “Other,” to fulfill Western desire and give an excuse for the Anglo-European imperialist and colonialist powers in order to put Oriental lands under their control. In Orientalism, Said cites Richard Burton’s well-known nineteenth century English translation of The Arabian Nights Entertainment as ‘° Dianne Sachko Macleod, “The Politics of Vision: Disney, Aladdin, and the Gulf War,” in The Emperor’s Old Groove: Decolonizing Disney’s Magic Kingdom, ed. Brenda Ayres (New York: Peter Lang, 2003), p. 180. 139 one of these “Western discoveries” of “the Orient” that contributed significantly to the characterization of fabled “Arabia.”11 This characterization has carried on, if not accelerated, through contemporary popular cultural forms—film, music, and pantomime etc.—in Europe (the U.K. in particular) and North America. This important text even reveals the slipperiness of Western definitions of “the Orient,” as it has been used to keep stereotypical and racist views ofChina in circulation through the famous British pantomime “Aladdin,” which moves the setting of the story to China.’2 Through its Orientalist representations, Aladdin succeeds in its myth-making, partly because the origin of The Arabian Nights Entertainment is also ambiguous enough to be modified to fit different “Oriental” contexts. 4.1.1. The Oriental “Other” as peril and domestication of the “Other” Classic Orientalism dies hard From the very beginning, besides the opening song, the film provides an Orientalist tone. A peddler introduces the audience to the story, starting with the line: “A dark man waits with a dark purpose.” This line undeniably links one’s skin color to what one is, activating the old Anglo-American stereotype ofdark skinned people as dangerous and evil. Thus, Aladdin starts out with the stereotypical depiction of the Western imaginary of “the Orient,” which overlooks what the Oriental is in reality, and re-creates it by visual and narrative representations throughout the film. These representations almost perfectly correspond with a comment made by Mazin B. Qumsiyeh, the director of Media Relations for the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee in the United States. He describes ii Said, Orientalism, p. 194 12 Gregory B. Lee, Chinas Unlimited: Making the Imaginaries ofChina and Chineseness (London: Routledge, 2003), p. vi. 140 Hollywood films stereotyping Arabs as exhibiting what he calls the “B-syndrome”: they are portrayed as bombers, belly dancers, or billionaires. Qumsiyeh, more specifically asserts that many of films considered offensive are subsidized by Michael Eisner-run Disney.’3 By the same token, an article from The Los Angeles Times in 1997, “Arab-Bashing for Fun and Profit,” lists twelve steps to make “successful” anti-Arab films, which include: villains having beards, wearing turbans, speaking broken English, having rude manners, threatening to blow things up, and women characterized as belly dancers.’4 Most of these characteristics appear on the screen ofAladdin. For example, the merchant in the opening scene wears a huge turban and has a strong accent; the palace guards all have turbans, beards, and big noses; and the leader of those guards uses rough language. As well, the depictions of female and male characters in Aladdin to a large extent verify Qumsiyeh’s critique of the “Orientalized” Arab, which I discuss below with more specific examples. When Jasmine sneaks out of the palace to the street, she sees ordinary people’s lives in Disneys’ “imagined geography” of “Arabia.” The iconic significations of a “mysterious,” “savage” Oriental “other” include: street vendors speaking in strong accents, Street performers demonstrating sword swallowing and fire eating, and gangsters chasing Aladdin to cut off his hand for stealing a loaf of bread, just as another peddler threatens Jasmine with the same “savage” punishment when she steals an apple to give it to a starving child. All of these images feed Anglo-European stereotype of the inscrutable “other.” After meeting “Prince Au” (the disguised Aladdin), Jasmine is shown a spectacle of her own culture, as well as the “whole new world.” Ali/Aladdin takes Jasmine “to show ‘ Mazin B. Qumsiyeh, “100 Years of anti-Arab and anti-Muslim stereotyping” (http:// www.ibib1io.org/prism/jan98/anti_arab.htm1) (accessed on July 28, 2007). ‘4Laila Lalami, “Arab-Bashing for Fun and Profit,” in The Los Angeles Times (July 28, 1997): Entertainment Desk 3. 141 [her] the world” on the magic carpet. The song of “A Whole New World” in this scene reads: [Aladdin] A whole new world A new fantastic point of view No one to tell us no Or where to go Or say we’re only dreaming [Jasmine] A whole new world A dazzling place I never knew But when I’m way up here It’s crystal clear That now I’m in a whole new world with you Now I’m in a whole new world with you As Au/Aladdin assures Jasmine at the end of the first stanza above, their whirlwind tour of the world is not just a dream. This assurance is not only for her, but also to draw viewers into Disney’s “illusion of life,”5 encouraging them to believe that what is on the screen is at least partly true. As the second stanza demonstrates, Jasmine is shown the world, including her own culture, as “a dazzling place.” What is important here is that she is not simply introduced to the world that she “never knew” by All/Aladdin—a brown male created by white Americans—but she is also fed the “fantastic point of view” framed by Disney. Guided by All/Aladdin, who is in a sense a missionary sent by the white American corporation, Jasmine “(re)discovers” her own culture, which supposedly liberates her from the constraints ofher society. Differently put, the scene implies that Jasmine, an epitome of the Orient, shapes her woridview through the eye, or guidance of the West, as she is incapable of defining herself and others. ‘ The term is taken from Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston’s description of Disney animation. See, Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston, p. 13. 142 In this manner, Aladdin resurrects the old Orientalist view; it acts as if Disney knew things that even “Orientals” cannot know on their own—one of the fundamental claims of Orientalism: Orientalists know things that even Orientals cannot know on their own.’6 The quote at the beginning of the chapter is Said’s sardonic stating of this point, and here we see it brought to light again through a modern medium—animation. It is also with this mechanism of Orientalist discourse that Aladdin sustains myth-making, in a similar way that Barthes’ “myth” operates (as discussed in Chapter 1). As mentioned briefly above, another significant factor that bolsters an Orientalist view is the set of “prior texts” that made up the context ofAladdin; at the time of its release it was framed by a significant number of U.S. media representations of Arabs as “enemy” around the time of the Gulf War. The villain Jafar could potentially be associated with Saddam Hussein, whose menacing image was foregrounded in a number of publications and news programs.17 It is reasonable to speculate that, along with the actual events of the war and the conflicting relationship between the two societies, demonized images of the Middle Eastern people and customs were intensified through the production and consumption ofAladdin. Moreover, what makes Disney’s “Orientalist project” viable lies in the intricate operation of the familiar and the unfamiliar. Art historian Ernst Gombrich notes that “the familiar will always remain the likely starting point for the rendering of the unfamiliar; an existing representation will always exert its spell over the artist.”8 This suggests that when animators depict a culture other than their own, they are likely to first draw the information 16 See Said, Orientalism, p. 321. 17 See Macleod, p. 186. She mentions the stereotypical images that promoted a characterization of Arabs as enemies found in political cartoons. 18 Ernst Gombrich, Art and illusion: A Study in Psychology ofPictorial Representation (New York: Pantheon, 1961), p. 82. 143 about that culture from existing contemporary sources such as media reports or other media forms, or from stereotyped representations spawned through various earlier media, with which they already feel familiar. In other words, the racist view of the Oriental “other” prompted by Aladdin is effectively maintained by the media intertextuality that viewers encounter in a variety of contexts. Given the fact that media representation often contributes to fixing false identities of certain cultures, based on the dominant perspective, Aladdin can aid in projecting the Middle East—a region unfamiliar to America—with a binary view of good/bad, Self/Other, or Subject/Object. This corresponds to Bill Nichols’ concept of “recognition,” introduced in Chapter 1, which allows people (or viewers, in the context of viewing Aladdin) to build relationships with others and the world based on references from their own familiar encounters. It should be therefore acknowledged that the producers may have a hand in articulating Arab identity through representations in Aladdin, but only when their intended meanings are consistent with viewers’ pre-viewing knowledge (or referents). 4.1.2. The mechanisms of gendering, sexualizing, and racializing of the “other” As Said points out, Orientalist discourse also instigates genderizationl sexualization of the Oriental “Other” to solidif’ the distinction between the Westerners and Orientals. Issues of race/ethnicity/nationality and sexuality/gender are often intertwined in identity articulation in fantasy space. According to Ella Shohat, the intersection between them was manifested saliently through filmic practice especially from the 1930s to the 1950s when the U.S. production code prohibited sexually suggestive scenes, allowing the Western colonial discourse to operate more effectively. She explains about the system: 144 [e]xoticising and eroticizing the Third World allowed the imperial imaginary to play out its own fantasies of sexual domination. Already in the silent era, films often included eroticized dances, featuring a rather improbably melange of Spanish and Indian dances, plus a touch of belly-dancing.’9 This reveals that in order to avoid exhibiting sexual representations by means of the body of its own race/nation, the West (mainly Hollywood) used generalized “Orientals” to fill in its own sexual appetite. Although Shohat’s examples are from more than fifty years ago, it is amazing to see how this kind of condition remains significantly similar in today’s film representation. This Orientalist quest is exemplified in Aladdin, particularly through the genderized/sexualized depiction ofJasmine, as well as ofbelly-dancing women in the street. Jasmine has a perfect hourglass figure, exaggerated by a “belly dancer” outfit, thick make-up with vivid red lipstick, eye shadow, mascara, and blush. [Figure 4.1.] Figure 4.1. This figure has been removed due to copyright restrictions. It was taken from Disney’s Aladdin (1992). The figure shows Jasmine with a midriff-exposed dress and leaning against her pet tiger. Jasmine perfect “hourglassfigure This type of representation of Arab women is not unique to Aladdin; we can find the same image and similar romantic narratives in other media, such as the erstwhile sitcom I Dream ofJeannie (1965197O).20 The animated opening of this show introduces Jeannie who appears to have the same body features and style as Jasmine, except for her blond hair. While white women have arguably gained ground since the 1960s in terms of the political Shohat, “Gender and Culture of Empire: Toward a Feminist Ethnography of the Cinema,” p. 69. 201 Dream ofJeannie is a story of a female genie and an astronaut with whom she falls in love and marries. 145 correctness of their representation on U.S. TV, the continual representation of stereotypical Arab female heroines still perpetuates the notion of Arab women as belly-dancers—a compelling sexual icon. Figure 4.2. Figure 4.3. Jasmine seductive eyes toward Aladdin Jasmine seductive eyes toward Jafar Jasmine’s body is literally commodified by men (suitors) as a prize “to win.” Among them is Aladdin, who says to the sultan, “Just let her meet me, I will win your daughter.” Moreover, the scopophilic male gaze upon her body is induced by the look she casts on men, both Aladdin and Jafar. When Aladdin takes Jasmine to his hide-out to escape from an angry vendor in town, they are attracted to each other, almost kissing, and she gives a seductive sidelong look to further draw him in. She uses a similar look when she is testing “Prince Au,” as he tries to impress her outside her room in the palace. A more dramatized version of her “seductive look” is illustrated when she is pretending to be attracted to Jafar, while in fact she is tricking him to get out of the marriage that he is trying to force her into. [Figure 4.2., 4.3.] In these scenes, the look she gives both men demonstrates her conscious behavior to gain an advantage, rather than simply being exhibited as a passive object. While this seems to show Jasmine’s agency to some degree, it also is a clear instance of her playing the role of the seductive “Oriental female body,” which epitomizes the image of the femme fatale. This figure has been removed due to copyright restrictions. It was taken from Disney’s Aladdin (1992). The figure shows Jasmine looking at Aladdin and gently touching him at the balcony outside her room. This figure has been removed due to copyright restrictions. It was taken from Disney’s Aladdin (1992). The figure shows Jasmine trying to seduce Jafar with her alluring eyes. 146 The gazes of the two male characters constantly genderize and sexualize Jasmine’s body. For example, Aladdin’s determination to become a prince is partly for the purpose of accentuating Jasmine’s “princess-ness”—a quintessentially feminine role—so that he can be in the more authoritative position of “showing her the world.” As well, Jafar’s penetrating and violating gaze explicitly shows his objectification of Jasmine for his sexual desire. At the next level, the viewers of the film also watch Jasmine as she is presented to their gaze, and watch her being gazed upon by Aladdin and Jafar. It seems therefore that all three groups in Christian Metz’s paradigm—the film producers (overwhelmingly male), the male characters in the film, and the male heterosexual viewers—are all participating in the pleasure of consuming Jasmine sexually, thus generating scopophilic pleasure—”the desire to see”21—in their experience ofAladdin. As in the mechanism of classical Orientalism, sexualization of the woman’s body is closely intertwined with racialization in Aladdin. Sexualization of the female body in Aladdin solicits the questions of which racial body is eroticized, for what purpose, and to whose advantage, reminding us of Rey Chow’s “technologies of visuality” that play a significant role in creating unequal power dynamics, in terms of both gender and race/ethnicity. Because Jasmine’s representation seems to be organized for the pleasure of heterosexual males—the characters in the film, the film’s creators, and the male viewers—it seems unlikely that the abovementioned scenes of Jasmine’s seductive look might be meant to represent Jasmine’s (and brown women’s) power and subjectivity to subvert conventional racialized and gendered representations. Furthermore, it is intriguing that when Jafar traps Jasmine, he puts her inside an hourglass, which not only reinscribes her body shape but also draws upon the idea that “brown men oppress brown women” from the 21 Metz, p. 58. 147 Western-Oriented view. Even only temporarily, this draws attention away from the fact that white men have dominated brown men and women, as well as white women, for centuries. Another indication of the gendering/sexualizing of race in Aladdin is exposed in the ambiguity of brown male characters, perceived as either oversexualized peril or passive feminine “puppets”—two major characterizations of the Oriental “other” in opposition to the Western “self.” Good examples of these characterizations are Jafar and the sultan respectively. Jafar’s appearance incorporates typical sinister signifiers: a beard and elongated mustache, slanted eyes, hooked nose and gaunt face. (Figure 4.4., 4.5.1 The beard also matches one of the attributes of “successful anti-Arab films” mentioned above. (Jafar shares some features with Governor Rateliffe in Pocahontas and Councilor Chi Fu in Mulan, who also appear as undesirable characters, discussed in the next two chapters.) Fi2ure 4.4. Fhure 4.5. Jafar (sordid skin tone) and his cobra-headed scepter (right) At one point, Jafar’s body is uncontrollably blown up like a balloon, turning him into a massive, red-skinned monstrous entity (“more powerful than Genie”) and intensifying the image of Oriental as the irrational, menacing “Other.” This reinforces the image of aggressive and frightening Oriental males. Jafar’s ethnic identity is, however, more complicated and ambiguous than a mere embodiment of Oriental peril. He certainly has some stereotypical Arab features, such as jewelry, a beard, and a rather swarthy face, but he also speaks with a strong “high-class” This figure has been removed due to copyright restrictions. It was taken from Disney’s Aladdin (1992). The figure shows Jafar frustrated about the sultan’s being fascinated with Prince Abu. This figure has been removed due to copyright restrictions. It was taken from Disney’s Aladdin (1992). The figrne shows Jafar sitting in the sultan’s throne with scepter in his hand. 148 British accent, or “the language of the colonizer.” On the one hand, this may be interpreted as a caricature of white British people, and Jafar is a local Oriental who is bought off by them. On the other hand, it is also possible to assert that Jafar symbolizes an Arab who turns into a threat as a result of “mimicry” of white Westerns (British), as Bhabha describes (see Chapter 1 )•22 It has to be noted that since the story of Disney’s Aladdin is set in a fictional, generic “Middle Eastern” place, it is not possible to posit a real British colonizer/Middle Eastern colonized relationship; nonetheless, a generalized sense of colonizer/colonized is certainly suggested. With this interpretation, it follows that while the white West put “the Orient” under its control and made them adapt to white ways of behaving and thinking, the latter’s act of “mimicry”—being almost whites but not quite—also hints at a potential space that allows them to subvert the white dominant discourse. In this respect, one could argue that while Disney had a chance to subvert the white dominant discourse, they instead further demonized “the Orient” by portraying Jafar’s hybridity as part of the constellation of evil that makes up his characterization. Another example of gendered race in Aladdin is presented by the emasculated sultan and male suitors. While classic Saidian Orientalism critics primarily discuss the sexualized or effeminized Middle-Eastern female body, Aladdin also evokes feminized Oriental males, a powerful tool for distinguishing the Western “self’ from the Oriental “other.” For example, one of Jasmine’s suitors leaves the palace running in a
UBC Theses and Dissertations
Animation and "otherness" : the politics of gender, racial, and ethnic identity in the world of Japanese… Yoshida, Kaori 2008
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