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Animation and "otherness" : the politics of gender, racial, and ethnic identity in the world of Japanese.. Yoshida, Kaori 2008-03-02

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ANIMATION AND “OTHERNESS”:THE POLITICS OF GENDER, RACIAL, ANI) ETHNIC IDENTITYIN THE WORLD OF JAPANESE ANIMEbyKAORI YOSHIDAB.A., Seinan Gakuin University, 1992M.Ed., Fukuoka University of Education, 1996M.A., University of Calgary, 1998A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OFTHE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OFDOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHYinTHE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES(Asian Studies)THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIAVANCOUVERAugust 26, 2008© KAORI YOSHIDA, 2008ABSTRACTIn the contemporary mass-mediated and boundary-crossing world, fictionalnarratives provide us with resources for articulating cultural identities and individuals’woridviews. Animated film provides viewers with an imaginary sphere which reflectscomplex 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 visuallyand narratively to articulating or re-articulating cultural “otherness” to establish one’s ownsubjectivity. In so doing, this study combines textual and discourse analyses, takingperspectives of cultural studies, gender theory, and postcolonial theory, which allow us tounpack complex mechanisms of gender, racial/ethnic, and national identity constructions.I analyze tropes for identity articulation in a select group of Disney folktale-sagastyle animations, and compare them with those in anime directed by Miyazaki Hayao.While many critics argue that the fantasy world of animation recapitulates the Westernanglo-phallogocentric construction of the “other,” as is often encouraged by mainstreamHollywood films, my analyses reveal more complex mechanisms that put Disney animationin a different light.Miyazaki’s texts and their symbolic ambiguities challenge normalized gender andrace/ethnic/nationality representations, and undermine the Western Orientalist image of the“Asian Other.” His anime also destabilize the West-East binary, by manifesting what HomiBhabha calls a space “in-between”—a disturbance of the dominant system of identitycategorizations. This suggests that media representation acts not only as an ideological toolthat emphasizes conventional binaries (e.g. “Western”=masculine, “Oriental”feminine),but also as a powerful tool for the “other” to proclaim an alternative identity and potentiallysubvert dominant power structures.Miyazaki’s anime also reveal the process of Japan’s construction of both the Westand the rest of Asia as “others,” based on the West-Japan-Asia power dynamic. I argue thatthis reflects Japan’s experience of being both colonizer and colonized, at different points inhistory, and that Japan also articulates “other” through anime to secure its national identity.My dissertation will contribute to the understanding of mechanisms of subjectivityconstruction in relation to visual culture.11TABLE OF CONTENTSAbstractiiTable of ContentsiiiList ofTablesvList of FiguresviAcknowledgementsixNote to ReadersxIntroduction1Chapter 1: Identity Articulation in Media Fantasy151.1. Identity Articulation through Media Narratives:reinforcing the dominantview171.1.1. The subject as susceptible to the ideological apparatusof visualrepresentation171.1.2. Construction ofthe racial “Other”: Edward Said 211.1.3. The politics of vision and the articulation of “Self”and “Other” 251.1.4. Stereotyping: a strategy for creating raced and gendered“others” . . .281.1.5. The gendering/sexualizing of race and the constructionof“yellowness”291.2. The Subversive Power ofMedia Representations331.2.1. Subversion by the “other”: power and resistance in liminalspace . . ..341.3. Conscious Perception and the Embodied Experience of Visual Media48Chapter 2: Studies ofAnimation and Anime532.1. The Development ofAnimation and Some of Its Characteristics552.1.1. Definition of animation552.1.2. The development of animation in the West582.1.3. Animation as a myth-making tool622.1.4. Subversive characteristics ofanimation: examples inthe West 692.2. What is Anime9732.2.1. The history of anime and anime research742.2.2. Characteristics and types ofanime762.2.3. Anime and the (re)articulation ofnational/racial identity 832.2.4. The role of the “shöjo” in gender/sexual identity articulation anditsevolution 872.3. Anime as an “Other(’s)” Cultural Form98Chapter 3: Miyazaki Hayao’s Philosophy of Animation Aesthetics 993.1. The Foundation of Miyazaki’s Fantasy1013.2. Miyazaki’s Aesthetics (1): what is anime to him91041113.3. Miyazaki’ s Aesthetics (2): Miyazaki’ s Occidentalist and self-Orientalistviews1183.4. The Reception ofAnime outside Japan and “Japaneseness” 128Chapter 4: Western Orientalism & Japanese Occidentalism Aladdin, NausicaäoftheValley ofthe Win and Porco Rosso 1324.1. Aladdin (1992): manifestation ofclassic Western Orientalism 1344.1.1. The Oriental “Other” as peril and domestication ofthe“Other” 1404.1.2. The mechanisms of gendering, sexualizing, andracializing ofthe“other” 1444.1.3. Color complex: embracing “whiteness” andposing as white 1524.1.4. Can “parody” work?: difficulty in deconstructing “race”1554.2. Construction ofthe Western “Other” (1): Kaze no tanino Nausicaä(Nausicaä ofthe Valley ofthe Wind) (1984)1574.2.1. Representation ofthe Western “Other” in Nausicaã1604.2.2. Hybridization in the imaginary1674.2.3. Politics ofvision: the Western “Other” asa spectacle9 1684.2.4. (Re)discovery of empowered women1704.3. Kurenai no buta (Porco Rosso) (1992) 1744.3.1. Fantasy toward the Western “Other”: another form of Occidentalism1764.4. Persistence of Orientalism and Resistance ofOccidentalism 180ChapterS: Pocahontas & Princess Mononoke: “Others” in Reconstructed History1845.1. Using History to Re-create the Nation’s “Other”: Pocahontas (1995) 1845.1.1. Perpetuation ofwhite “Self” and “red (native) Other” 1865.2. “Others” within “Traditional Japan” and the Exploitation of History:Mononoke hime (Princess Mononoke) (1997) 2075.2.1. Representation of “others”: subversion of Orientalism andself-Orientalism 2085.2.2. History as a site for subversion217Chapter 6: Western (Re)Orientalism and Oriental Orientalism- Mulan & SpiritedAway2326.1. Perception of“Yellowness”: Mulan (1998) 2326.1.1. Re-inscribing the yellow “Other”: mythologizing and feminizingEastAsia 2346.2. Deconstruction and Reconstruction of Hierarchies: Sen to Chihiro noKamikakushi (SpiritedAway) (2001) 2526.2.1. Subversion ofthe Orientalist view ofthe East and West2546.2.2. Cultural hybridity & confusion ofnational identity 2606.2.3. The mechanism ofvision in the spirit world: look & gaze 2686.3. A Third Space: matrix of(re)Orientalism, Oriental Orientalism, andhybridized space for identity articulation 271Conclusion: Can Japan Speak?274Bibliography 294ivASETU!PPlVU!SJO4OPO3!0ApUnsiaonsnqoUflJAJt,oIp3SWIUVIJOISflLIST OF FIGURESFigure 4.1. Jasmine’s perfect “hourglass figure,” Aladdin (Disney)145Figure 4.2. Jasmine’s seductive eyes toward Aladdin, Aladdin (Disney)146Figure 4.3. Jasmine’s seductive eyes toward Jafar, Aladdin (Disney) 146Figure 4.4. Jafar (sordid skin tone), Aladdin (Disney)148Figure 4.5. Jafar and his cobra-headed scepter, Aladdin(Disney) 148Figure 4.6. The sultan ofAgrabah, father of Jasmine, Aladdin (Disney)150Figure 4.7. The sultan put a clown costume by Jafar, Aladdin (Disney)150Figure 4.8. Shan Yu (the evil leader ofthe Runs), Mulan (Disney)152Figure 4.9. Aladdin, Aladdin (Disney)155Figure 4.10. Jasmine, Aladdin (Disney) 155Figure 4.11. Razoul, Aladdin (Disney) 155Figure 4.12. Tapestry in the opening sequence, Nausicaãofthe Valley oftheWind (Studio Ghibli) 158Figure 4.13. Tapestry in the opening sequence, Nausicaãofthe Valley oftheWind (Studio Ghibli) 158Figure 4.14. Nausicaä riding on the flying device “mehve,” Nausicaãofthe Valleyofthe Wind(Studio Ghibli) 161Figure 4.15. The Giant God Soldier (kyoshinhei), Nausicaäofthe Valley oftheWind (Studio Ghibli) 163Figure 4.16. Nausicaä collecting poisonous spores, Nausicaäofthe Valley oftheWind (Studio Ghibli) 163Figure 4.17. NausicaA’s laboratory, Nausicaã ofthe Valley ofthe Wind (StudioGhibli) 163Figure 4.18. Nausicaa’s resurrection in the golden meadow, Nausicaäofthe Valleyofthe Wind(StudioGhibli) 164Figure 4.19. Nausicaä in the battle with invaders who murdered her father,Nausicaä ofthe Valley ofthe Wind (Studio Ghibli) 172Figure 5.1. Leaves swirling around Pocahontas and Smith, Pocahontas (Disney)190Figure 5.2. Shishigami (Forest God) during day, Princess Mononoke (StudioGhibli) 209Figure 5.3. The Lake ofShishigami, Princess Mononoke (Studio Ghibli)209Figure 5.4. Grotesque tatarigami transformed from a boar, Princess Mononoke(Studio Ghibli) 215Figure 5.5. Shishigami (daytime) close-up, Princess Mononoke(Studio Ghibli)215Figure 5.6. Shishigami (night time), Princess Mononoke (Studio Ghibli) 215Figure 5.7. San’s mouth covered with blood, Princess Mononoke (StudioGhibli)223Figure 5.8. Storyboard descriptions of San, Princess Mononoke: The OriginalStoryboard 223Figure 6.1. Captain Shang’s action and body, Mulan (Disney) 236Figure 6.2. Chi Fu, the councilor, Mulan (Disney)238Figure 6.3. Dr. Fu Manchu, Mulan (Disney) 238Figure 6.4. Chi Fu’s mannerisms: going to bathe, Mulan (Disney) 239Figure 6.5. Feminized Chi Fu: scared by panda, Mulan (Disney) 239viFigure 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) 240The gang ofthe three disguised as women, Mulan (Disney) 241Close-up ofLing disguised, Mulan (Disney) 241Mushu, the dragon, as a caricature of Chinese tradition (or Asia),Mulan (Disney) 246Woman dressed as Disney’s Mulan at Plaza Inn, Hong KongDisneyland 251Dessert at Plaza Inn restaurant: Mickey Mouse jelly 251Dessert at Plaza Inn restaurant: Mickey Mouse pastry 251Dessert at Plaza Inn restaurant: Mickey Mouse steamed buns 251Domineering manager, Yubaba 253Yubaba’s jewelry symbolizing materialism, Spirited Away (StudioGhibli) 253Chihiro’s father as a pig, SpiritedAway (Studio Ghibli) 254An extravagant amount of food eaten by Kaonashi, SpiritedAway(Studio Ghibli) 255People eaten by Kaonashi at the bathhouse, Spirited Away (StudioGhibli) 255Yubaba’s baby, BO, SpiritedAway (Studio Ghibli) 256BO devouring candies and chocolates, Spirited Away (Studio Ghibli)- 256Bö’s room, SpiritedAway (Studio Ghibli) 257Trompe-l’oeil, similar to Bö’s room, SpiritedAway (Studio Ghibli)257Haku, the dragon, SpiritedAway (Studio Ghibli) 257Haku in human form, SpiritedAway (Studio Ghibli) 258Haku in dragon form, wounded, SpiritedAway (Studio Ghibli) 258A dragon on the ceiling at Tenryti-ji Temple from Tenryu-ji pamphlet258Kasuga-sama, SpiritedAway (Studio Ghibli) 260Gods like legendary “Namahage,” Spirited Away (Studio Ghibli)260Gods ofbirds, SpiritedAway (Studio Ghibli) 260Gods with antlers, SpiritedAway (Studio Ghibli) 260Radish spirit, SpiritedAway (Studio Ghibli) 261Grumbling heads as Yubaba’s servants, SpiritedAway (Studio Ghibli)261Mr. Kamajii, SpiritedAway (Studio Ghibli) 261Employees at the bathhouse, SpiritedAway (Studio Ghibli) 261Employees at the bathhouse, SpiritedAway (Studio Ghibli) 261Red motif of the bathhouse, architecture, SpiritedAway (StudioGhibli) 262Exterior ofthe bathhouse, SpiritedAway (Studio Ghibli) 262Kaonashi, SpiritedAway (Studio Ghibli) 263Korean mask (woman shaman) 263River God, SpiritedAway (Studio Ghibli) 263Korean mask (old gentleman) 263Stink God in the bath, SpiritedAway (Studio Ghibli) 266A girl standing at the train station, Spirited Away (Studio Ghibli)268vi’Figure 6.44. Buddha looking at Chiniro, Spirited Away(Studio Ghibli) 269Figure 6.45. Icons of“eyes” on billboard, SpiritedAway (Studio Ghibli)269Figure 6.46. Signs using “eyes,” SpiritedAway (Studio Ghibli)269Figure 6.47. An big eye on the screen, SpiritedAway (Studio Ghibli) 269Figure 6.48. An eye sticker on the luggage An eye sticker on the luggage269Figure 6.49. Murakami Takashi’s “Jelly Fish”2001270Figure 6.50. Chihiro’s vanishing body, SpiritedAway (Studio Ghibli)271Figure 6.51. Chihiro’s vanishing hands, SpiriredAway (Studio Ghibli)271Figure 6.52. Ghostly figures in the train, SpiritedAway(Studio Ghibli) 271viiiACKNOWLEDGEMENTSI owe particular thanks to Dr. Sharalyn Orbaugh, my supervisor and mentor,for keepingme inspired with her insightful questions and observations. If it were not forheracademic advice as well as mental support, this dissertation would havenever beencompleted.To my dissertation committee members, Dr. Stephen Kline and Dr. HyungGu Lynn, aswell as my research committee member, Dr. Mary Lynn Young, I offer deep gratitudefor enriching my vision in the field.I offer my enduring gratitude to the faculty, staff and my fellow graduate students atAsian 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 ofeducation academically, mentally and financially. I would also like to extend mygratitude to my inspiration Mark MacKinnon for always believing in me. To my friendsRupa 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 forJapanese Research, UBC to support this project.ixNOTE TO READERSI would like to note that despite my attempts, I wasnot able to obtain permission to usepictures whose copyrights are held by The Walt Disney Companyand by Kaikai Kiki Co. Ltd.As you read through this dissertation,you will notice that pictures that are supposed to aidreaders are unfortunately removed and replaced bysquares with their descriptions. It is myhope that you will find these descriptions reasonablesubstitutes.xIntroductionIt [the past] is always constructed through memory, fantasy, narrative andmyth. Cultural identities are the points ofidenflhlcation, unstable points ofidentWcationor suture, which are made, within the discourses ofhistoryand 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 settingup the Other over against itsef..2— Simone de Beauvoir, The Second SexThe expression of a duality of the self and the other, as Simone de Beauvoir claimsin The Second Sex, is as primordial as consciousness itself, and is regarded as a primarycategory ofhuman thought.3 Theorists from various fields, including phenomenology,psychoanalysis, gender studies, and postcolonialism, have revealed a dialectical process ofidentity formation involving interaction with the outside world and other people. In otherwords, the world around us is made meaningful through our relations with others. Hence, asboth quotations above suggest, “self’ is constituted intersubjectively through attraction andrepulsion, where one’s identity keeps changing according to socio-cultural and historicalconditions. 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 knowhimself.”4‘Stuart Hall, “Cultural Identity and Diaspora,” in Identity: Community, Culture, Difference, ed. JonathanRutherford (London: Lawrence & Wishart, 1990),p.226.2Simone 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.1What needs to be stressed is that one’s recognition of“Self’ through interaction withothers is carried out based on the construction ofthe imaginary “Other,” which often derivesfrom power differentiations. In this mechanism, our perceptions—even our history andmemories—are socially constructed. And it is, as Stuart Hall claims, through fantasy andmyth that such a mechanism operates effectively to generate narratives that favor thedominant group in society. These fantasies are constantly produced and maintained throughproduction and consumption of popular media products that represent certain identities asprivileged over others.This conceptualization is practiced typically in Orientalist discourse, in which theWest represents the East as “a place of romance, exotic beings, haunting memories andlandscapes, remarkable experiences,”5through media representations including novels,poems, and films. In this fashion, Orientalists place and maintain Western subjectivity asdominant over the East, creating a dichotomous, unequal power relationship through whichthe 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 livesoffered by mass media in all their forms,”6encounters with distant others becomecommonplace, and more and more media products, producers, and ideas flow acrossnational/cultural boundaries. Technological development has also allowed us to experience“otherness” on theater and television screens. It is, however, important to stress that underthese circumstances identifying specific cultural identities becomes more difficult; on theother hand, this phenomenon of boundary-crossing has also lead to a trend towards culturalprotectionism.Edward Said, Orientalism (New York: Vintage Books, 1994), p. 1.oj Appadurai, Modernity at Large: Cultural Dimensions ofGlobalization (Minneapolis: University ofMinnesota Press, 1996), pp. 53-54.2Walt Disney, one of the leading purveyors of globally consumed media in the formof animation, has often been criticized for media imperialism, coined “Disneyfication.”Though small in number, some of Disney’s animated features have nonethelesssignificantly contributed to re-making both “history” and the present with the result ofsecuring the position ofthe “rational West.” The production and worldwide consumption offantasies 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 asignificant 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 beargued that popular media, including Disney animation and Hollywood films, function asone 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 thesystem 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 subvertedby media representations, through exaggeration of stereotyped images or the overturning ofpresumed roles in society. Amid increasing cultural globalization coupled withtechnological advances, the success of popular media created in Asia or by femaleproducers has enabled previously marginal groups to become prominent, even capable ofchallenging Anglo-male-centered aesthetic standards. This subversion of the dominant isplausible partly because of viewers’ increasingly critical examination of previouslyunquestioned 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).3from the limitation of dominant meaning, since the same text can be interpreted differentlyby viewers from different cultural backgrounds.8With this knowledge, a key question is how exactly narratives created in fictionalreality, reflecting and constructing our worldly reality, corroborate the (re)articulation of“differences,” in the process of constructing selfhood vis-à-vis otherness. Answers to thisquestion should aid in better understanding the complexities of identity politics and powerdynamics that are reflected in popular media, based on the premise that identity is not anautonomous configuration but defined through a socially interactive process.Various media are engaged in the issue of identity politics. Film, particularlyanimated film, offers a contested site for identity formation, by means of its techniques tocreate “reality,” and its form of expression—story telling—which provides wide audienceswith the resources for narrative-creation that can foster collective identities, for persons andgroups attempt to relate to other people or integrate ideas partly taken from media in orderto articulate their own identities. For this reason, this study is concerned with a betterunderstanding of the mechanisms linking intended meaning in animated texts andarticulation of cultural identities.Animation has long been associated with Disney, yet for the last twenty to thirtyyears, 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 apotential challenge to dominant Western aesthetics and ideologies. In order to explicatedifferent aspects of identity articulation through anime, I analyze specific works by8See Stuart Hall, “Presentation and Media.” Lecture at The University of Westminster, videotaped by SutJhally (The Meida Education Foundation, 1997); len Mg, Watching Dallas (London: Methuen, 1985); DavidMorley, The Nationwide Audience: Structure and Decoding (London: British Film Institute, 1980); TamarLiebes & Elihu Katz, The Export ofMeaning: Cross-Cultural Reading ofDallas (Cambridge: Polity Press,1993).4Miyazaki Hayao, who consciously responds to trends in Western animation, and comparethese 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 ormanipulate viewers’ preconceived notions of cultural identities.In order to lay the foundation of my study, Chapter 1 maps out a theoreticalframework to provide a deeper understanding of the construction of “selfhood” and“otherness,” with attention to issues of genderization and racialization involved in mediarepresentations. Discussions in this chapter focus on works that analyze representations ofthe Orient, and the notions of “Asiaxmess,” or more specifically, “yellowness.” Also citedare classical postcolonial works, such as those of Edward Said and Frantz Fanon,9specifically tying their arguments to popular visual culture. Although Said’s concept ofOrientalism may seem somewhat dated for describing contemporary circumstances, itprovides an important starting point for approaching the structure of fantasy and powerdynamics in the creation of animation. The discussion of self/other further incorporates apostcolonial feminist perspective to introduce the gendered representation of race andracialized representation of gender. Theories discussed in the following chapter explicatethe 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 wayviewers/readers understand themselves and others. This provides a vital tool fordiscussions in later chapters.In addition, the integration of a phenomenological perspective on the animationviewing experience provides a more comprehensive understanding of the interrelationSaid, Orientalism. Also see Frantz Fanon, Black Skin, White Masks (New York: Grove Press, 1967).5between animators, text and viewer. This view derives from Vivian Sobchack’s idea thatone’s subjectivity is constructed not necessarily through the unconscious but rather in aconscious, self-reflective manner through film experience.Among various film works, animation is particularly important in the discussion ofidentity politics, though it has rarely been taken seriously, and is often written off as onlymeant for children and therefore too transparent to be studied in a scholarly way. This viewis rooted in a close association of animation with the traditional notion of “childhood” in theWest 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 beheavily influenced by the intentions of cultural producers and authorities. Hence, whether itis touted as targeting children or not, animation should be understood as a medium ofexpression that projects adults’ political, economic and moral concerns, while playing withthe notion of “childhood.”0As Henry Giroux describes, animation is “a sphere whereentertainment, advocacy, and pleasure meet to construct conceptions of what it means to bea child occupying a combination of gender, racial, and class positions.”11 This suggests thatanimation is a form of ideologically-loaded text that influences and is influenced bypeople’s worldviews, and that therefore it is often associated with cultural imperialism orcultural resistance. The idea of animation as an ideological apparatus that reinforces10characterize animation as a “medium” rather than a genre, because of its distinctive characteristics in termsofcodes, 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 andMoving Drawings,” in Japan Forum 14: 2 (2002); and Joanna Bouldin in “Bodacious Bodies and theVoluptuous Gaze: A Phenomenology ofAnimation Spectatorship,” in Animation Journal 8:2 (Spring 2000). Iwill explain the distinction between medium and genre, as well as between animation and anime as differentmedia in Chapter 2.Henry Giroux, in “Animating Youth: the Disnification of Children’s Culture,” says this in regard tochildren’s culture in general, but the statement is applied to animation because of its association withchildren’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 ameans of pursuing adult politics is discussed intensively in Stephen Kline’s “The Making of Children’sCulture” in The Children Culture Reader, ed. Henry Jenkins (New York: New York University Press, 1998).6dominant perceptions has been addressed in a multitude of critical analyses of Disneyanimation since Dorfman and Mattelart’s How to Read Donald Duck in 1975, whichclaimed that Disney’s animation industry manifests the dissemination of Americanethnocentric ideology.’2Chapter 2 first discusses more specific characteristics of animation which facilitateits 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’smyth-making has contributed significantly to maintaining unequal power relationshipsbetween Anglo-America and the rest of the world. In addition, meanings and perceptionsprovided through animation narratives also potentially influence the global audience both infront of and away from the screen, through the synergetic business model which, initiatedby Disney, extends animated fantasy to such products as stationery, T-shirts and mugs.Through this breakdown ofthe divisions between entertainment and material consumption,Disney has contributed to disseminating pleasure as well as ideologies through theanimation industry.Another characteristic that makes animation a more effective vehicle for ideologyproduction lies in its form of expression—its “morphotic” quality that is clearly distinctfrom that of live-action films. This quality essentially distances the animated world fromphysical reality, which challenges perceived views of space and time, creating a12Ariel Dorfman and Armand Mattelart, How to Read Donald Duck: Imperial1st Ideology in the DisneyComic, trans. David Kunzle (New York: International General, 1975). I acknowledge that there are manyother aspects to animation beyond its function as an ideological conveyor, and others have examined thiscultural form in different lights. However, in this dissertation my discussion of animation focuses on itsfunction as a vehicle that is capable of transmitting ideologies to a significant degree, ideologies thatpotentially influence viewers’ perceptions of the world around them.7“metaphysical reality,”3and thus allows creators to express their ideas and intentionsmoreflexibly than through live-action films or conventional photography. The flexibility allowscreators to project their intentions effectively, and translates to a greater potentialtodestabilize ideological orthodoxies. This makes it possible to practice either mannerofmedia representation: reinforcing dominant ideologies or subverting them—myth-makingor demythologizing.On the basis of these observations, the chapter then moves to discussions ofthecharacteristics and development of anime, which shares the abovementioned qualities ofanimation, but shows differences in its role as a vehicle for cultural identity configuration.The historical trajectory of anime is outlined, including technological developmentsinfluenced by Western sources and other art forms from different cultures, which have beenappropriated into the Japanese context, showing the hybridized nature of anime.14 In theprocess of its development, anime has been often positioned in relation to its Westerncounterparts, particularly Disney productions, in terms of representations, aesthetics, orposition in the global market.While Disney’s animation studio has faltered lately, anime has emerged on theglobal stage with remarkable success to rival the Disney Empire. The potential of anime’ssuccess was anticipated as early as 1953 by Imamura Taihei, a leading Japanese motionpicture critic:The animated cartoon has made little progress except in America, but thepopularity of Disney films.. ..gives reason to hope that there will be aworld-wide development in the field of animation.... Whether we like itor 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 metaphysicalreality 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. JohnA Lent (Honolulu: University of Hawai’I Press, 2001),p.5.8cartoon. . . . It has been pointed out by S. M. Eisensteinthat ancientJapanese art has characteristics closely related to thoseof the animatedcartoon and employs similar methods.15Japan’s first animation was released in 1917, but the industryreally began to comeinto its own with the establishment of Toei AnimationStudio in 1956, followed by Japan’sfirst feature length color animation: Hakujaden (Pandaand the Magic Serpent) in1958,16and since the 1980s anime has been one of Japan’s mostimportant cultural exports. In thisstudy, anime is understood to mean more than simply“Japanese animation,” referringspecifically to Japanese animations that have been distributedto theatres and TV stationsworldwide, especially since the 1 980s and 1 990s. Animehas provided a significantinfluence on the global cultural arena in artistic, economic,and political terms. It manifeststhe complexities of Japan, particularly in relation tothe West and other Asian countries inthe midst of globalization, and therefore it is a major site for identity articulation.Theseaspects indicate that anime needs to be studied as a mediumdistinct from animation. Somecritics even distinguish anime from a similar term, Japanimation,which was mainly used torefer to earlier Japanese animation that was exportedabroad until around the 1 970s)7As mentioned above, because of similarities and differencesbetween them,Japanese animation has often been viewed as influencedby, contrasted with, or resistant toits Western counterpart. Walt Disney was born at the rightmoment to explore the potential15Imamura Taihei, “Japanese Art and the Animated Cartoon,” trans. FuyuichiTsuruoka, in The Quarterly ofFilm Radio and Television 7:2 (1953),p. 217. This article is to appear as chapter in Imamura’s Mangaeiga-ron (Theory of Animated Film) (Tokyo: Iwanami, 1992).16Hakujaden produced by Yabushita Yasushi, was the inspiration forthe well-known Japanese animatorMiyazaki Hayao to become an animator. This is one ofthe first works of Japaneseanimation exported abroad.See Miyazaki Hayao, Shuppatsuten (Starting Point) (Tokyo: Studio Ghibli, 1996),p.44. This anime isinspired by a Chinese folktale where a young Chinese boy falls in love with a beautifulgirl who possessesstrange and mysterious powers. It is therefore interesting to note that early anime wasafready representing theAsian “other” fifty years ago.‘‘See Otsuka Eiji and Osawa Nobuaki, Japanimëshon wa nazeyabureruka (WhyJapanimation Will Fail)(Tokyo: Kadokawa shoten, 2005),p.8.9ofmedia technologies and business models, as well as to expand the genre ofanimation, andhe essentially laid the groundwork for his followers, including the two biggest animecreators in Japan: Tezuka Osamu (1928—89) and Miyazaki Hayao (1941—).In particular, anime works by Miyazaki, sometimes referred to as the “Walt Disneyof Japan,” provide intriguing insights because of their similarities and differences withthose of Disney.’8 Miyazaki’s animated films have been critically renowned since the mid198Os, and serve as an alternative to Disney in the world of animation, as well as providinga 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 bothinside and outside Japan, as demonstrated by his receiving the Academy Award for BestAnimated Feature Film in 2003, followed by the Golden Lion Award for LifetimeAchievement 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 inrepresentations of gender and ethnicity. A close examination ofMiyazaki’s works thereforedemonstrates how anime can subvert the dominant Western discourse, specifically theOrientalist worldview, which has been and still is influencing ways that anime is producedand how it aids in forming cultural identities. While there have been more and more studiesin the field of anime recently, many of them analyze it as a product, providing descriptionsof 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 construction18It should be noted that the focus of my analyses is animated films, not TV animation. Also, I am focusinghere on animated products aimed at and marketed to children. Therefore, animations such as The Simpsonsand South Park produced in North America will not be discussed in my study.10through representation in anime. There has not been much close analysis of the texts ofspecific 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 NorthAmerica, as well as a variety of subgenres, the present dissertation focuses on a particulargroup 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 itsanimated works, as well as the linkage between identities circulated in anime narratives andthe articulation of cultural identities.’9Auteurs such as Miyazaki and Disney have the roleof privileged storyteller, thereby making this linkage particularly effective. In this respect,both Miyazaki and Disney set out to produce an “animated folklore” using cinematicanimation as the primary form, in order to provide the viewer with resources for articulatingcultural identities: stories that explore explicitly what it means to be “American” inDisney’s and “Japanese” in Miyazaki’s productions.For this purpose, among a great range of styles, techniques, and subgenres, my studyexamines animated features that employ saga storytelling, because this subgenre explicitlymanifests cultural identities through narrative and visual representations. My analyses lookspecifically at animated films produced from the 1 980s to the early 2000s, a period ofintensive cultural globalization that has brought about difficulty in defining cultural/groupidentity. 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 andMattelart’s study in the 1970s, and how Miyazaki’s work in the same subgenre contributes19While acknowledging that the Disney animations examined in the following chapters were produced in the1990s under the supervision ofMichael Eisner, who holds different political visions from Walt Disney, I arguethat there exist strong continuities between the early animated works of Disney and their successors ofthe lastdecade.11to the construction of”otherness.” Disney animations have certainly developed a moreempowering representation of”otherness,” for example, by using sarcasm that potentiallychallenges 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 animatedfolklore as well.In order to lay bare the complex mechanisms of cultural identity articulation, Iclosely analyze specific animated films from both Disney and Miyazaki in an attempt toanswer the question of how representations in animated fantasy of this subgenre contributeto the construction of notions of “self’ and “other.” The animation texts analyzed in thecase studies are ones that demonstrate gendered/sexualized or racialized “otherness”:Disney’s Aladdin, Mulan and Pocahontas, and Miyazaki’s Nausicaa ofthe Valley oftheWind Porco Rosso, Princess Mononoke, and Spirited Away, all of which are globallydistributed. I also take into account the historical and social aspects of their production, aswell as critiques and reviews of these films, which also contribute to the discourse of thefantasy 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 onthe construction of “self’ and “other,” with approaches from feminist film theory,postcolonial theory and cultural studies.2°These theories share the premise that “self’ and20My sources include psychoanalytic analyses such as Laura Mulvey’s “Visual Pleasure and NarrativeCinema” Screen 26: 3 (1975); Mary Ann Doane’s “Dark Continents: Epistemologies of Racial and SexualDifference in Psychoanalysis and the Cinema,” in Femmes Fatales (New York: Routledge, 1991); AnnKaplan’s Women & Film: Both Sides ofthe Camera (London and New York: Routledge, 1983); postcolonialand 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, CaryNelson, 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); ReyChow’s Writing Diaspora (Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1993); Richard Dyer’s12“other” are constantly shifting concepts, and that the construction of “otherness” involves“the complex processes and channels through which representations flow in differentdirections,”2’which includes both physical and psychological aspects of humanconsciousness.In Chapter 3 I introduce the philosophies of fantasy creation and worldviews ofMiyazaki Hayao and other popular anime directors, comparing them with those of WaltDisney and his Disney Corporation. Knowing how these globally recognized animationdirectors 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, and6 I analyze specific animation texts, along with their production contexts. These chaptersexamine in greater detail how “otherness” is constructed by Disney and Miyazakianimations in different contexts, particularly focusing on the genderization and racializationof the “other.” Chapter 4 is concerned with analysis of the Saidian Orientalistrepresentation of the “Oriental other” constructed by Disney’s Aladdin (1992), incomparison with how the East constructs the “West” or “occidentalizes” it, by analyzingMiyazaki’s Nausicaä ofthe Valley ofthe Wind (1984) and Porco Rosso (1992). In Chapter5, I focus on how the “Other” is constructed within a country by playing with its nationalhistory. For this purpose, I examine Disney’s Pocahontas (1995) and Miyazaki’s PrincessMononoke (1997). In Chapter 6, I provide insights into the construction of “Asia” by boththe West and Japan. The chapter demonstrates a Western (re)construction of the EasternThe Matter ofImages: Essays on Representations (London: Routledge, 1993); and Stuart Hall’s “NewEthnicities,” in Stuart Hall: Critical Dialogues in Cultural Studies, eds. David Morley and Kuan-Hsing Chen(London and New York: Routledge, 1996).21Elizabeth Hallam & Brian V. Street, Cultural Encounters: Representing ‘otherness’ (London and NewYork: Routledge, 2000), p. 6.13“Other” in Disney’s Mulan (1998) (which supposedly attempts to defy Orientaliststereotypes but ends up re-inscribing them), and juxtaposes this with an examination ofMiyazaki’s SpiritedAway (2001), which reveals the Orient “othering” another “Orient.” Ianalyze Spirited Away not only as subverting the Orientalist discourse, but also as amanifestation of a hybridized and ambiguous space, which destabilizes the concept of“identity” itself much more obviously than other works by Miyazaki. In addition, all theprotagonists but Chihiro (Spirited Away) in these works are categorized as “princesses,”22albeit with significantly different depictions of their “princess-ness.”It is neither my intention to demonize Walt Disney or Disney animation, as manycritics have, nor to judge Miyazaki’s works entirely in a positive light. Instead of simplypolarizing Disney and Miyazaki’s animations based on differences between them, the goalofthis study is to enrich our understanding of how these auteurs are creating narratives thatframe collective identities. Although I acknowledge that viewers do not necessarilyidentify with the identities produced, I also integrate theorists who have analyzed the waysthat people use narratives in the process ofunderstanding their identities, in order to suggesthow 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 mediatexts reflect creators’ intentions, but at the same time they are produced and interpreted insocial discourse.Mulan in animation is not strictly a princess, but she is included as one of the “Disney Princesses,” whichinclude Ariel, Aurora, Belle, Cinderella, Jasmine, Mulan, Pocahontas, and Snow White (Disney PrincessOfficial Website at http://disney.go.com/princess/htmlImain_iframe.html) (accessed on March 16, 2005).14Chapter 1: Identity Articulation in Media FantasyRepresentation 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 tointensfy its own sense ofitselfby dramatizing the distance anddIfferencebetween what is close to it and what isfar away.2—Edward Said, OrientalismThe above quotes by Stuart Hall and Edward Said suggest that mediarepresentations provide a powerful imaginary space that offers resources for creating“reality,” a space that projects images that may work toward articulating culturalidentities—identities structured around notions of “self’ and “other.” This chapteroutlines the theoretical framework of my work: how people use visual and narrativerepresentations in the process of understanding their own identities and others,contributing to the articulation of cultural identities; and how those media representationsare often influenced by dominant ideologies and may sometimes subvert those dominantideologies. It should be stressed that this dissertation identifies film viewers as beingsubjected to the text, while also acknowledging the possibility of viewers consciouslyacting to build their own perceptions and identity articulation through the viewingexperience, and assumes that this idea is universally applicable.While the relationship between representation and national/cultural/ethnic/genderidentity has been studied extensively in the context of live-action film, in the field ofanimation studies this issue has not been studied adequately, except for some studies on1Stuart Hall, “Representation and the Media.”2Said, Orientalism, p. 55.15the works of major U.S. studios such as the Walt Disney Company. Moreover, on theissue of racial representation in particular, many film studies attempt to analyze whitepeople’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 representsand perceives itself or other non-white races. Even among studies of racialrepresentations, (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 moreevident.Another purpose of this chapter is to lay out previous theoretizations of the wayssex/gender is intertwined with ethnicity/race/nationality in media representations, and howthese complex mechanisms of representations affect articulation of identity. In thisdissertation I take a postcolonial and feminist critical stance, so it is necessary to first layout the relevant critical tools in posteolonial and feminist studies and the connectionsbetween them.This project proceeds from the assumption that narratives—including thefantasy narratives of animation—influence the way that the consumers of thosenarratives see the world, even if we do not fully understand yet the mechanismsbehind that influence. I am far from alone in this assumption, and will trace in thefollowing sections some of the previous scholarship that has theorized themechanisms of media influence on consumers. Film scholar Herald Stadler gives apithy description of the close relationship between reality and fantasy, stating that16“perception, imagination, fantasy, dreams, and memory are simply different modesof experience, all of which constitute a sense of reality.”3This suggests that in the postindustrial, postmodem context, we live in aworld where the boundary between the real and the fictional has virtuallydisappeared. Even if viewers know that things they see on the screen are notdirectly connected with their real lives, these things “induce some emotions in thesubject and thus constitute a part of the subject’s life experience.”4As aconsequence, a sense of personal or group identity is no longer conceived of asbased solely on genetics and/or childhood influences, but instead it is believed thataspects of identity are articulated significantly, and continue to be articulatedthroughout life, to a significant extent, by the fictional “realities” that peopleconsume.1.1. Identity Articulation through Media Narratives: reinforcing the dominantview1.1.1. The subject as susceptible to the ideological apparatus of visual representationThe practice of reinforcing dominant ideologies through media is discussed in BillNichols’ study of the ideological function of visual media, focusing on classical narrativefilm. He explains how the ideologies disseminated through film shape the viewers assubjects. Taking Louis Althusser’s concept of”interpellation”—the self as called intoHerald Stadler, “Film as Experience: Phenomenological Concepts in Cinema and Television Studies,” inQuarterly 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 thefluidity of postmodern individual identity, by using the term, “hyperidentity.”17being as a subject by ideological institutions—Nichols uses the term “self-as-subject,”5arguing that the fabrication of visual representations “subjects” us to a specific way ofseeing, 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 thedominant discourse provides for viewers. Nichols goes on to argue that “[sjince imagesbear an analogous or iconic relationship to their referent, it is easy to confuse the realms ofthe image and the physical world by treating the image as a transparent window.”6Although it would be too simplistic to believe that viewers are completely trapped bythese images, Nichols’ argument partly explains why it can be difficult for viewers todistance themselves from what is on the screen: because of its visual proximity to theirreal lives.Nichols’ view of the influence of images on viewers is rather obvious, but what isless obvious about the power of fantasy is that even if images do not precisely mirror ourmaterial reality exactly, they can affect viewers to a similar extent, if not more. Thepower and effectiveness of these fictional realities are emphasized by Michael Riffaterre’sconcept of “fictional truth.”7 Riffaterre argues that fiction seems true because it isfictional, and therefore can be more meamngful to a reader than a direct imitation ofreality. That is, truth in fiction is predicated on “a verisimilitude, a system ofrepresentations that appears to reflect a reality external to the text, but only because itconforms to [the rules of] grammar” of representation, which establishes narrative truth.8It follows that the “reality” or “verisimilitude” in media fantasy does not necessarilyBill 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.18require verification against our worldly reality, and that it can be powerful enough to leavethe viewer susceptible to ideological messages, whether they reinforce the dominant viewor challenge it.9 Riffaterre’ s view of the system of “reality” in fiction is an importantaspect to be considered in examining the animated world, which has its own visualgrammar different from that of live-action film, but still conforms closely enough to thevisual grammar to which viewers are accustomed to give a convincing sense of narrativetruth. I will discuss how the narrative grammar of animation is used in later chapters withreference 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 andreiterating particular visual codes and systems of signification. As people learn to readparticular visual codes and signification systems, they become familiar with them, andcome to expect them. Considering that every visual code or signification system embodiesparticular ideologies, and that people who benefit from dominant ideologies are likely tobe those who are in the position of power to create and disseminate images, it isreasonable to assume that ideologies carried through widely and repeatedly circulatedimages would be largely dominant ones, and are capable of influencing people’sworldviews or perceptual habits.This idea is strengthened by the correlation between perception, recognition, andpleasure. According to Nichols, the reason that we are continually drawn to the codes thathave formed our habits of perception lies in a sense of “recognition,” an identificationwith things that we have previously encountered. Moreover, we derive pleasure fromidea also concurs with Louis Aithusser’s concept of media as an ideological apparatus, or a process ofestablishing a consensus in a (naturalized) power structure.19recognizing these familiar codes, and this process contributes to a sense of stability in ourrelationship to the world. Thus, the sense of familiarity that is built upon learned codesbrings us-as-viewers pleasure, and as long as we-as-viewers agree to position ourselves assubjects, according to the implicit definitions of the dominant ideologies, our viewingpleasure continues because the perceptual codes we have learned turn sensory impressionsinto organized and meaningful concepts.10It is hard to imagine that viewers of films would seek to disrupt their viewingpleasure in the midst of pleasure to analyze a film’s sources and consequences. Sincecodes and conventions for signification tend to be influenced by dominant ideologies, asmentioned above, viewers’ pleasure of recognition potentially makes them susceptible tothese 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 animaginary.., relationship to the real conditions of existence.”11 In this respect, asviewers we are free, but may be free to be “subjected” to/by ideologies. Following thisviewpoint, it can be argued that media representation may confine and exploit viewers’perceptions to a significant extent.12This aspect of Nichols’ view echoes Roland Barthes’ notion of “myth,” or thesecondary “connotative” meaning created by images and signs, which masks antithesissuch that the dominant power and its perceptions can significantly influence our way of10acknowledge that accepting the dominant or intended reading is not the only way that viewers can obtainpleasure from media texts, and certainly, the dissemination of ideological messages is not the only functionof media such as film. Nonetheless, my dissertation focuses on the ideological aspect of the media, and onthe importance of understanding mechanisms by which “intended audiences” subjected to media potentiallyarticulate cultural identities, in order to figure out how these identities can be also subverted.“Nichols,p.42.12This does not mean that I accept the idea that viewers’ perceptions are entirely controlled by mediaproducts and trapped in their representations, as the viewers are subjected to them. However, in order toexamine the subversive power of media representations, we need to understand perceptions subjected to thedominant view, and how dominant ideologies operate through media texts.20viewing the world.13 In this sense, a “myth” is analogous to an ideology that promotes theinterests of the dominant groups. According to Barthes, no image/representation is free ofattendant “myths,” and therefore we can see how visual representations might have apowerful and complex influence on media consumers in the process of understanding theirown identities. To sum up: media representations, which may seem neutral, aresignificantly loaded with ideologies that are often supported by those who created theserepresentations, and their viewers are subjected to/by those representations because theycan derive the pleasure of recognition from them effectively if they consent to view themfrom the position implicitly defined as “subject” by the dominant.’41.1.2. Construction of the racial “Other”: Edward SaidThe meaning-production system of Barthes’ “myth-making” is also taken up byEdward 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 ofthe “Orient” it represents.’5In the discourse of Orientalism, media texts created in the13Roland 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 formerlycolonized subjects feel French patriotism. But this “myth” of French racial harmony and colonial successcovers over the remaining schisms and tensions between races and between the former colonizer andcolonized in France.14do not mean to deny the possibility of viewers conceiving their own critical interpretations when viewingfilm. It is certain that some viewers do “read against the grain” of the ideologies put forward implicitly bythe text. The point of the arguments here is that such critical viewing requires conscious effort and may behard to sustain even by those who intend to remain resistant to the text’s implicit positioning of viewers.15Said, Orientalism,p.321. In this dissertation I will at times use the word “Oriental” to refer to the peopleof Asia. “Oriental” is often taken to refer to East Asians—Chinese, Japanese, and Koreans—but becauseSaid’s original defmition of “Orientalism” referred primarily to European depictions of the Near and MiddleEast and North Africa, it could be argued that “Oriental” applies to anyone living anywhere on the Asiancontinent. My reason for using the outdated and somewhat pejorative terms “Orient” and “Oriental” is21West draw on connotative meanings that are associated with its fantasized perception ofthe East.One of the chief perceptions associated with Orientalism is organized around abinary relationship—the West is figured as rational, knowledgeable, modem (andmasculine), and the East as emotional, ignorant (or, in a positive spin, as possessingancient “wisdom” rather than Western science), not modernized (and feminine). Throughthe paradigmatic figure of the veiled woman, who came to stand for “the Orient” in thecultural 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 theclassic discourse of Orientalism, even those people who live in the “Orient” cannot fullyknow themselves or their culture until it is “rationally” explained to them by theOrientalist. 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 theracialized East was really for the purpose of sustaining the hegemony of Westerndiscourse. Said’s conceptualization of the Orientalist view thus underscores the powerdynamics involved in the discursive construction of the Western “Self’ and the (Middle)Eastern “Other.” His view is relevant to the contemporary relationship between Americaand Asia, and may even hold important insights that can be transferred to theconsideration of other unequal power relations.’6precisely to underscore the fact that I am talking about depictions of or concepts about Asians that werecreated in the West, but have also influenced Asian people’s own self-identities, as I discuss further below.16In the years since Orientalism first appeared, Said’s basic arguments have been refined, updated, andenriched by a number of scholarly responses, several of which I will refer to in later chapters where I talkabout specific textual issues involving Orientalism. The simple overview here is intended to lay out only thebasic ideas from which my arguments proceed.22Among 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 arearticulated in media fantasies, which may affect the way the people who consume thosefantasies understand themselves and others. In this regard, Said argues that media spaces,which may offer distorted images of peoples and cultures, serve as imaginativegeographies and histories, underlining the epistemological distinction between theOriental “other” and the Occidental “self.” Said states that: “[w]e must not forget that theOrientalist’s presence is enabled by the Orient’s effective absence,” or by the Orientalistremaining 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. Thecreation of the Western image of the Oriental “Other” amounts to a manifestation ofWestern dominance over access to representation and the ideology embedded in it, whichsubsequently limits the autonomy of the represented object (the Orient in this case). Onefacet of Orientalism, therefore, holds that “the Orient” is an unenlightened entity whichcan improve only by practicing a Western-value-based worldview.While some scholars may critique Said’s notion of Orientalism as outdated or toospecific in region—as mentioned above, he concentrates on the nineteenth and twentiethcentury European view of the Middle East, the Arab world, and Islam—I argue that it isstill entirely pertinent in the age of globalization, where people are still often positioned aseither “Westerners” or “Easterners.” (As we will see in later chapters, Japanesefilmmakers and cultural critics certainly believe that Orientalism continues as an importantaspect of global discourse—both popular and academic—and their own creative andscholarly work is predicated on that belief.)‘Said, Orientalism, p. 208 and p. 222.23It is also important to emphasize that Said neither intends to claim the existence ofthe/a real Orient, nor does he suggest that the Orient can be understood onlyby the Orient.Rather, he highlights the idea of “the Orient” as an engendered entity, one which ismaintained by both the West and the Orient itself.’8 In this respect, he attributes part ofthe triumph of Orientalism to the system of global consumerism, in which the Orient iscaptured in Western popular culture markets. Among his examples are “Arabs,” who havecome to regard themselves as “Arabs”-as-portrayed-in-Hollywood-films.’9The fact thatOrientalism is a product both of Western Orientalizing practices and the Orient’s selfOrientalizing practices suggests the complexity of current relationships between the Westand 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 ownsubjectivity 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 contextof nineteenth and twentieth century colonialism, V.G. Kiernian explains the exoticfascination of Oriental fantasy in the West as follows:to Western fantasy this Orient was one of freedom, where man couldexpand beyond all common limits, with the unlimited power that NapoleonSaid, Orientalism, p. 322.19In Orientalism, Said points out Orientalizing through myths made in the Orient itsell which is happeningamong Japanese, Indians, and other Orientals. (Seep.322) Also, in the “Afterword” of Orientalism, heemphasizes that Orientalism did not end with the end of institutionalized colonialism, but continues up to thepresent (1994, when his book was published) in new modes and forms that echo old colonialist practices.(Seep.348).20Hagedom states: “Colonization of the imagination is a two-way street. And being enshrined onthat pedestal as someone’s Pearl of the Oriental fantasy doesn’t seem so demeaning, at first; who wouldn’twant to be worshipped? Perhaps that’s why Asian women are the ultimate wet dream in most Hollywoodmovies; it’s no secret how well we’ve been taught to play the role; to take care of our men.” (see, “AsianWomen in Film: No Joy, No Luck,” in Ms. (Jan/Feb. 1994),pp.77-78.24dreamed ofthere, unlimited luxury, a palace and princess, magic andadventure; all those inordinate things that orderly modem man had torenounce21Just as Said argues that Orientalism has continued beyond the time of institutionalizedcolonialism, I would argue that Kieman’s point also remains valid in the postcolonialcontext. (We will see examples to support this idea in the case study chapters later in thedissertation.)Said’s exposition of the complex interrelation among power, knowledge, andimagination (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 fordiscussion 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 hisideas 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 theconsistency of “self-as-subject,” which “compels us as subjects to seek positiveidentification with, or antagonistic opposition to, the other.”22 In this context, theestablishment of “self’/”other” binaries necessitates a discussion of vision. Nichols drawson Jacques Lacan’s concept of the “Mirror Stage”—the (mis)recognition of se1f, whichdescribes the subject’s setting of an imaginary boundary between self and other—in orderto provide a theoretical understanding of how visual media contribute to identity21Victor Gordon Kieman, The Lords ofHuman Kind: Black Man, Yellow Man, and White Man in an Age ofEmpire (Boston: Little Brown Co., 1969), p. 131.22Nichols, p. 32.25formation.23 For Nichols, the relationship between images on the screen and the viewerparallels the way the “Mirror-Stage” operates, in the sense thatboth show the necessity ofan Other in the (mis)recognition of the Self. That is, the “self’ isnot an autonomouslyexisting entity, but is socially constructed in relation to others as wellas visual signsaround it. The concept of the Mirror-Stage is useful in examining howthe imaginary“Self’ and “Other” play a role in the fictional world of film (includinganimation) forviewers’ identity work.Based on the concept of Orientalism and the Lacanian notion of the imaginary (ormisconception of) “self’ and “other,” hereafter I use “Other”/”Self’ and “other”/”self’differently, in the context of gender and racial identity articulations. Iuse “Other” and“Self’ to refer to the imaginary or symbolic entities that are conceptualizedor stereotypedin the subject’s mind, specific images with which the subject mistakenlyyet firmlyidentifies, in order to articulate its own subjectivity. Thus, the “Other” inthe racialcontext, for example, suggests singularity: each race (or ethnicity) is designated as havingits attributes as the “Other.” In contrast, the “other” and the “self’ are grounded in reallife, but because the concept of “identity” itself is socially constructed, I place these termsin 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 weare seen by others—as a major source in the construction of subjectivity. She draws on23Jacques 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 anexternal 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 actualphysical body, this image serves as an ideal “i.” it is important to note that although this model ofconstruction of the “self’ is conceived by Lacan as a permanent characteristic of the individual, it isreasonable to think that the ego keeps being re-formed through his or her adult life, through the encountersthat occur in normal social relations.26Lacan’s concept of the “gaze”—a discursively articulated vision that should bedistinguished from a “look,” because the former refers to an act of vision that is powerfuland defines its object.24 In other words, the “gaze” always generates and reflects unequalpower relations between its subject and object (for example, in the context ofgenderization and racialization). On the contrary, a “look” is “not powerful, is associatedwith time and mortality, and is only minimally capable of defining or reif’ing itsobject.”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 “analternate epistemic configuration.”26 This distinction between “gazing” and “looking”plays an important role in my discussions of the relationship between vision and powerdynamics among different races or genders in later case studies chapters.With regard to the link between the logic of visuality and power relations, ReyChow provides useful insight into “the technologies of visuality” that she claims place“subjects” (spectators) and “objects” (spectacles) in uneven positions due to hierarchicallydistributed energy between the two. She argues that, with the development of modemtechnologies such as film that expand our concept of vision beyond the physicaldimension, the visual realm reveals an “epistemological mechanism” that magnifies socialdifference, particularly differences of class, gender, and race.27 Thus, in this context, “thespectacle” 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, themechanism of visuality contributes considerably to the formation of the power hierarchy24Sharalyn Orbaugh, Japanese Fiction ofthe Allied Occupation (Leiden: Brill, 2007),p.70.25Ibid.26Orbau Japanese Fiction ofthe Allied Occupation, p. 75.pp. 50-60.27between an onlooker (as the “self’) and the spectacle (the “other”)—such as women, thethird 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”) isaccentuated based on the degree of its awkwardness or helplessness projected on thescreen, and this also aids in demarcating the “self’ from the “other.” This logic ofvisuality therefore works as a foundation for the West’s construction of its “Other,” byunequally 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 ofthe Western “subject.” Film is the major site that manifests this mechanism of visualityand the operation of the selfYother binary explicitly and repetitively, until it permeates theviewer’s unconscious mind.The case study chapters that come later in this study examine how the visualparadigms such as those described above are practiced through comical depictions ofAsian 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 concreteexample of the heavy stereotyping of marginal groups and cultures that are still featured inmany mainstream films. Walter Lippmann, who coined the term “stereotype,” emphasizesits ideological implications and its function of demarcating “self’ and “other,” for theexplicit purpose of strengthening the self s sense of comfort and stability. He describesthe term as follows:28A pattern of stereotypes is not neutral... It is not merely a short cut.... It isthe guarantee of our self-respect; it is the projection upon the world of ourown sense of our own value, our own position and our own rights. Thestereotypes are, therefore, highly charged with the feelings that are attachedto them. They are the fortress of our tradition, and behind its defenses wecan continue to feel ourselves safe in the position we occupy.28Based on Lippmann’s definition, the motive behind stereotyping lies in a dichotomousview 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 groupidentities are constituted by excluding anything that threatens one’s personal or thegroup’s boundaries.29 The process of abjection typically indicates a repression or rejectionof “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 extendLippmann’s definition and to point out that the problem is not necessarily the existence ofstereotypes per Se, but resides in who controls them and what interests they serve forwhom.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 visualnarrative without referring to the issue of how gender or sexuality is represented, becauserace and gender/sex are frequently intertwined. It is, for example, crucial to look at the28Walter 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.29interplay of race and gender/sexuality in discussing the way Asia and Asians are typicallyfigured: despite the recent economic power of some parts of Asia, the region and itspeople are still often “feminized” in relation to the “masculine” West through media.In his study of Asian-American film, Jun Xing argues that “sexual aggressionagainst white women” by non-white (male) characters signifies a threat posed to the whitevictim by non-white races, and serves as a strategy to emphasize racial “otherness,” andsecure white subjectivity.3’In the history of the American film industry, the sexualizationof race was institutionalized when the Motion Picture Production Code, which prohibitedthe filming of interracial sex or marital scenes, was implemented from 1934 to the middleof the 1950s. This was certainly based on the racist views of interracial relationships as athreat 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 turnsthe body of non-white (women) into a sexual object. This is a typical example of thesexualization 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 filmshave corroborated the essentialization of the racial identity of Asian Americans.Representations of Asians as the “yellow” in mainstream films have not been studied asmuch 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 theimage of black men as demonized “others,” or outsiders to the “normal” realm of white masculinity inHollywood films. Using films such as King Kong, which depicts a sexually obsessed black man—a “blackmenace”—who, lacking human qualities, has a voracious appetite for a white woman, Dines demonstrates30Xing’s observation of the discourse of Hollywood master-narratives reveals thatpeople from any part of Asia are represented as “Orientals” according to a transhistoricalset of fixed racial categories. In this sense, “Asian American” is not a natural or pre-givenidentity, but a political invention for the benefit of the hegemonic discourse, in whichmainstream films co-opt Asian Americans through the “institutional racism” thatprivileges white subjectivity.34Xing’s categorization of representations of Asians in Hollywood into threeformulaic archetypes is worth citing here: 1) the yellow peril formula, 2) MadameButterfly narratives, and 3) the Charlie Chan genre.35 Xing explains each of these threecategories. The “yellow peril formula” represents Asians as the aggressive or canny“other.” For instance, they are represented as sexually aggressive figures against whitewomen, 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 rapidmodernization of several East Asian nations threatened “white” economic and politicalhegemony, but more recently, too, a significant number of Hollywood films, such as YearofThe Dragon (1985), Gung Ho (1985), and Rising Sun (1993), have made use of imagesand 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 sexualoverpresence of the black significantly marks racial difference, and reinforces a binary opposition betweenthe non-white “other” and the white “self.” See Gail Dines, “King Kong and the White Woman: HustlerMagazine and the Demonization of Black Masculinity,” in Gender, Race and Class in Media: A TextReader, 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 arefetishized for the purpose of sexual seduction. “Madame Butterfly” narratives emphasizethe devotion of Asian women to white men, who in turn downplay or deny the women’ssubjectivity. Based on the original Madame Butterfly story, narratives of this type havelong contributed to the conceptualization of Japan as “feminine” (represented by thelovely young Butterfly) in relation to the United States, which is represented as masculineand white through association with Pinkerton. Furthermore, the image of Asians as thefeminine “Other” is reinforced by the third category, the “Charlie Chan type” or whatXing calls “cinematic castration,” which uses the representation of emasculated Asianmales to perpetuate a vision of Western masculinity. In every case these archetypes aremobilized with the intention of implicitly ensuring white male American subjectivity.Xing’s argument resonates with other critical studies on Orientalism in visualmedia from the 1980s and 1990s, such as Darrel Hamamoto’s Monitored Peril: AsianAmericans and the Politics ofTV Representation, which investigates the symbolicsubordination of Asian Americans in U.S. media.37 These studies underscore the notion ofa white gaze that dehumanizes the Orientals who do not have the ability to claim their ownsubjeetivities or a means for doing it. The effectiveness of the construction of a consistentvision of “yellowness” is also seen in the fact that, despite changes in historical and socialcircumstances over the past seventy years, Japan has been consistently represented as aperil or a silent victim in Hollywood films.Darrel Hamamoto, Monitored Peril: Asian Americans and the Politics ofTV Representation(Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1994).32In particular, the image of Japan as a peril has been constantly fed by historicalevents throughout the twentieth century—its victory in the Russo-Japan War in 1905, thesurprise attack at Pearl Harbor, and the dramatic economic growth that made the countrycompetitive with the United States from the 1960s onward. These historical events arecontinuously linked to the present. For instance, the sense of fear toward Japan generatedby 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 thesame time feminized, whether they are female or male. In this sense, both Asian men andwomen discursively play a “female role” in relation to the white “masculine” West.The construction of “yellowness” in media manifests the West’s complex attitude towardthe East Asian “Other,” which is a mix of fear and desire. These observations alsodemonstrate that while people and cultural products have been traveling intensively acrossnational boundaries in the age of globalization, the image industry ceaselessly exertsideological power, which encourages the continued demarcation of “self’ and “other.”1.2. The Subversive Power of Media RepresentationsWhere there is power, there is resistance, andyet, or ratherconsequently, this resistance is never in a position ofexterioriryin relation to power.—Michel Foucault38The previous section of this chapter demonstrates how media can create an“imaginary reality,” often closely linked to dominant ideologies, which intended viewersuse for their cultural, ethnic/racial, and gender identity articulation. Some postcolonial38Michel Foucault, The History ofSexuality: An Introduction, trans. Robert Hurley (New York: VintageBooks, 1990), p. 95.33scholars deny the possibility of the subaltern’s access to a means of representation toarticulate its own subjectivity: the subaltern cannot speak.39 But if dominant mediarepresentations and the ideologies attached to them are so powerful, how can oneconceptualize the subversion of those representations, or the expression of alternativeunderstandings of cultural, ethnic, racial or gender identity?1.2.1. Subversion by the “other”: power and resistance in liminal spaceLet me emphasize that in this study the word “identities” does not refer tosomething given or fixed, but instead refers to “the names we give to the different wayswe are positioned by, and position ourselves within, the narratives of the past.”4° Thisview not only reveals the power of media representation to reinforce dominant ideologiesor stereotypical images ofthe “other,” but also indicates the potential to subvert those verysame images. This viewpoint is partly based on Antonio Gramsci’s concept of“hegemony.” Unlike Aithusser’s view of ideology, which does not assume the existenceof ideologies in conflict with the dominant one, Gramsci’s hegemony presupposes the coexistence ofvarious ideologies where marginal views could also emerge. Coupled withMichel Foucault’s quote above, this suggests that the hegemonic view is never stable, andis always contested, because it constantly faces a battle against subordinate forces thatemerge within the same discourse.It is naïve to assume that the socio-politically constructed “other” holds apermanently fixed position. In the same line of thought, in Culture and Imperialism SaidSpecifically, Gayatri C. Spivak’s “Can the Subaltern Speak?” in Marxism and the Interpretation ofCulture, 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 GillesDeleuze.40Stuart Hall, “Cultural Identity and Cinematic Representation,” in Framework 36 (1989),p.69.34also acknowledges the rise of oppositional indigenous voices among the literatures offormer colonies, while identifying Western fiction as a weapon of domination.4’Heclaims that media provide a potential tool for cultural resistance, a tool that can challengethe West, and be a means of resurrecting local literature and languages to (re)articulatetheir identities of these former colonies.42 This sheds light on a potentially subversivemechanism of media representation, a mechanism that highlights conflicting ideologies.The idea of a stable dominant discourse can be undermined by differentinterpretations of media representations. This section seeks theoretical explanations ofhow cultural identities articulated in the dominant discourse may also be re-articulated orde-articulated. It further introduces a potential subversive space, where the “other” mayemerge to give rise to a counter-hegemonic discourse through media representations.(1) The Reversed GazeThe first section of this chapter discusses the politics of vision, which plays asignificant role in fixing the position of the white “self’ and non-white “other.” In thecase of whites and blacks, this “visual” relationship perpetuates a false concept of whitesubjectivity in relation to black “others” who seemingly cannot “look” or assert theirsubjectivity. Bell hooks identifies three misconceptions created among whites in whitesupremacist society: 1) whites are invisible to blacks because of whites’ control over thegaze, and therefore blacks are unable to cultivate their subjectivity, so that 2) blacksbecome invisible to whites, because it is safer to avoid being seen, except in the limited41Edward Said, Culture and Imperialism (New York: Vintage Books, 1994).42Said’s argument for cultural resistance among the previous colonies, or the “other,” correlates to AntonioGramsci’s concept of “hegemony,” which refers to conflicts between different ideologies.35role of a pair of hands on a serving tray; and 3) whiteness is perceived by blacks in theway whites want to appear: as good.43Questioning this (mis)conception of the positionality of white and black, hookspoints out that while there have been a number of studies of the white’s view ofblacks inNorth American discourse, there has been little interest in representations of whiteness inthe black imagination, representations which may countervail stereotypical perceptions ofblacks. Hooks goes on to argue that blacks have access to an active look at whites as atarget of imitation; moreover, contrary to the white belief that they are perceived by blacksas personifying goodness, whiteness is seen as an epitome of fear and terror rather thangoodness. She contends that blacks, by calling on an alternate collective memory,potentially draw on an alternative, black subject position, different from the one that isendorsed by the dominant system. Hook’s explanation of the way collective memoryworks can be seen as a practice of Foucault’s notion of “counter-memory” as a site ofresistance.44 By highlighting marginalized memory, hooks questions the seemingly stablememory of white supremacy and its subjectivity, which has prevailed through dailypractices and fantasies over time.If we accept hooks’ proposition that the dominant discourse sustained byprevailing memories can be de-hegemonized, then we could argue that mediarepresentations may function as a vehicle for dismantling these memories, so that itbecomes 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 tochallenge white (mis)conceptions. This mechanism may operate similarly in relationshipshooks, “Representing Whiteness in the Black Imagination,”p.340.Michel Foucault, Language, Counter-Memory, Practice (New York: Cornell University Press, 1977).36between whites and other races, although most studies on this issue heretofore havefocused on black/white relations. For instance, an analysis of whiteness in the yellowperson’s imagination can also destabilize the image of whites as civilized saviors whoenlighten the yellow “other” if we bring in a “counter-memory” that constitutes a newrelationship between yellows and whites—an alternative to the hegemonic collectivememory. The non-white’s imagination of its white “Other” through visual media will bepursued more specifically in the case study chapters.(2) Strategic essentialism: the “other’s” articulation of identityAnother theoretical explanation of how the dominant discourse may be challengedin the process of identity articulation draws on the concept of “strategic essentialism”introduced by Gayatri Spivak. Essentialism/essentializing normally refers to an actsimilar to stereotyping: labeling a nation or people (or any other group) as being“essentially” comprised of a specific set of characteristics, thus ignoring variation withinthe 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 “strategicessentialism” as a tool of the oppressed. “Strategic essentialism” refers to the practice of agroup’s members defining themselves in postivist and generalizing terms.45 As Spivakmaintains, this strategy may work as a powerful political tool for “others” to have controlover narratives about their own identities, because, unlike regular essentialism, it allowsdisempowered groups to define their essential attributes, rather than having them definedby more powerful others. The disempowered groups who make use of “strategicGayatri 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. 13-14.37essentialism” consciously construct and articulate the identity they think most useful forpolitical 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 conceptis also useful in discussing the formation of the racialized subject as well. Simplypointing out that racial identities are articulated by Orientalist or white-centered viewsdoes not undermine the foundation of the dominant power. When marginal groups usestrategic essentialism, however, new terms are added to the discussion, possibly leading tochanges in the way the dominant groups conceptualize the marginal. Despite its failure toaddress differences within the group,46 strategic essentialism provides a potential formarginalized groups to access an expressive tool—even if only temporarily—to claim acollective identity. Similar to the notion of “counter-memory,” this concept names onepossible approach that allows the “other” to take charge of articulating their ownalternative narrative of identity.Using this concept in the field of film, Xing provides an example of strategicessentialism 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 recognizablegroup identity—to elicit and protect the political interests of diverse groups who embracean “Asian American” identity against the white hegemony. Xing identifies the existenceof an Asian American aesthetic in flimmaking, which is characterized by the incorporationIndeed, Xing acknowledges limitations of this strategy using “Asian American,” and the difficulty ofactually accomplishing solidarity or meaningful identification among diverse groups.38of “materials collected from their communities in the United States, from Asia, and eventhe Asian diaspora,” instead of relying on “white norms and practices.”47 This strategyallows Asian American filmmakers to counteract dominant white, androcentricrepresentations, and to articulate an identity for their own benefit.More specifically, Xing asserts that one of the stylistic elements of film with whichAsian American filmmakers can assert their departure from white norms is the use of anon-linear narrative structure, which formally and conceptually challenges the Westernworldview 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 narrativeis seen in many (probably most) American mainstream films, typically beginning withequilibrium, followed by the introduction of opposing forces and disruptive events, andreturning to a new (and usually “better”) equilibrium at the end.48 In contrast, some AsianAmerican films that Xing presents utilize unique structures, with no solution, open-endedconclusions, or temporal ambiguity.49 This aspect of film construction is furtherdiscussed—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 an47Xing,p.81.48The term “equilibrium” is based on Tzvetan Todorov’s literary theory of “equilibrium.” He identifies fivestages of conventional narrative structure: 1) a state of equilibrium, 2) a disruption of the equilibrium bysome action, 3) a recognition of the disruption, 4) an attempt to repair the disruption, and 5) a reinstatementof equilibrium. (See Tzvetan Todorov, “The Grammar of Narrative,” in The Poetics ofProse, trans. RichardHoward (New York: Comel University Press, 1977, p. 111).See, Xing,p.48.39imaginary “Asia,”5°In other words, Japan has continued to articulate its collectiveidentity by Orientalizing itself vis-à-vis the West, as well as Orientalizing other parts ofAsia.For example, after the Meiji Emperor was restored to power as the result of a briefcivil war in the 1860s, the Japanese people were persuaded to support the nation’s rapidmodernization 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 thatstressed its similarity to the already modernized, “white” West, as opposed to its“backward” Asian neighbors. This strategically essentialist self-positioning succeeded toa large extent, culminating in the Japanese people being declared “honorary Aryans” byGermany and South Africa in the years leading up to World War11.51Others 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 invitedto join the League ofNations as a founding member, seemingly indicating Japan’sachievement ofthe status of”fiilly modern nation.” When the Japanese delegate proposeda statement of basic racial equality for the founding charter, however, the other memberstates refused to consider it. Whiteness and superiority were still inextricably linked in theAnglo-European discourse of modernity.It is not surprising, therefore, to recall that Japan also employed another, oppositestrategy of essentialism in the first half of the20thcentury, characterized by the “daitöakyoeiken” (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 recognitionof its subjectivity over history, due to its non-white race.51See John W. Downer, Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II (New York: W.W. Norton& Company, 1999).40join with Japan as one large and powerful group, united by a common “Asian” culturalbackground. This pan-Asian rhetoric was strategically used to essentialize “Asianness” inopposition to the West, in order to invoke a united front against the West.Bound up in this complicated, seif-essentializing rhetoric is Japan’s anomalousposition in modem history, as perhaps the only nation to have intensively experiencedbeing both colonizer and colonized. Japan’s experience as colonizer is obvious: from theestablishment of its first imperial colony, Taiwan, in 1895, until the end of World WarTwo, Japan aggressively and successfully colonized significant areas of China, the Koreanpeninsula, Indonesia, the South Sea Islands, and other parts of Asia.Japan’s position as colonized is less clear, but also undeniable. Beginning in theMeiji era, when Japan rapidly adopted a wide range of Western institutions and discoursesin 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 havebeen “voluntary” in the sense that it was a policy decision of Meiji intellectuals andgovernment officials, it was coerced in the sense that acceptance of this culturalcolonization was the only option for maintaining some level of sovereignty. Then, afterthe defeat of the Axis Powers at the end of World War Two, Japan was literally occupiedby a coalition of Western forces (dominated by the policies of the United States) duringthe seven-year Occupation, 1945-1952. Even after the end of the Occupation, Japan hasmaintained “unequal treaties” (one of the hallmarks of the nineteenth century colonialism)with the U.S. in terms of providing bases for the American military.5252For more explanation about Japan’s position as colonized and colonizer, see Orbaugh, Japanese Fiction ofthe Allied Occupation, pp. 76-77.41Moreover, because of the absolute power wielded by the Occupation forces, andwith some influence from the subsequent presence of significant numbers of Americanmilitary personnel on Japanese soil, we can again argue that Japan has “voluntarily” (butactually with little choice) adopted many American (and more broadly Western)hegemonic practices and values. Certainly Japan has existed from at least the nineteenthcentury 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 WarII, and this system is well explained by Köichi Iwabuchi, who describes it as “thecomplicity between Western Orientalism and Japan’s self-Orientalism [which] effectivelyworks only when Japanese cultural power in Asia is subsumed under Japan’s culturalsubordination to the West.”53 Differently put, Japan’s attempts to articulate its ownnarratives of identity using the tactics of strategic essentialism have operated in anenvironment 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 IIin particular, when Japan was forced to shift its position from colonizer to colonized underAmerican 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 beena 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 weshall 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 fromthe 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 representationMikhail 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, hisconcept of “carnival” explains that resistance against authority is realized by thephysicality 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 inthe hegemonic social system. The liminal space created through media representationmay therefore be disordered and liberating, where one can experience having his or hersubject position (temporarily) overturned.The practice of the “carnival” mode in the field of visual media is introduced inJohn Fisk’s study of American sitcoms, such as Married ...with Children and TheSimpsons.56 These texts are carnivalesque in that they destabilize dominant social normsand identity categories by mocking assumed authority. In these shows, patriarchal genderstructures are undermined either by exaggerating female sexuality, or by representingemasculated male characters. Fisk contends that in Married.., with Children Peggy’sexaggerated acts “expose to mocking laughter the patriarchal control over feminine bodiesand behavior.”57 In this way, the media text subverts the “normal” hierarchy of genderedsubject positioning.Similarly, media representations may also function as a canivalesque space forcultural resistance by the racial “other” against racist assumptions though there have notbeen substantial studies on this subject. This perhaps means that the racial hierarchy isMikhail 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.43harder to overturn, or that dominant social narratives about the racial body are moreresistant to deconstruction through media representations. One is hard pressed to findvisual exaggeration of a non-white body to mock white supremacy in film. It is rathermore common to see a strategy of “passing,” by which non-whites act as “white” to beaccepted by the dominant system instead of resisting it. It may follow that in the racialdomain, the concept of “carnival” may be harder to implement through transgressivevisual representation (or exaggeration), unlike observed in Married ... with Children in thegender domain.The concept of “carnival” does not imply a drastic or permanent social change, butonly 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 groupsunder control and to maintain the status quo, by allowing them to “let off steam” for alimited duration of time, which then makes them more willing to return to their normalsubordination. In this sense, both strategic essentialism and carnivalesque modes ofrepresentation can be potentially problematic, because of the possibility that in the endthey just reinforce the hegemonic discourse.(4) Hybridity: an “in-between” space for resistanceConcepts of strategic essentialism and the reversed gaze are both subversive in thesense that they reverse existing hierarchies. However, they do not deconstruct the idea ofcategorization itself. In this respect, Xing suggests that being obsessed with creatingpositive images of those considered “other” is not necessarily an adequate counterhegemonic approach to representation, because it may in turn essentialize identitycategorizations such as East and West. Homi Bhabha’s concept of “hybridity,” however,44possibly provides a way out of the binary system and essentialized categorizations.Bhabha attempts to complicate identity categorization and move beyond simplepigeonholing.Bhabha’ s “hybridity” derives from his concept of “mimicry”—an act of imitationand appropriation of the colonizer’s culture by the colonized—the result of which is thatthe 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 thatis almost the same, but not quite”58—which then disturbs colonial discourse and helpsreclaim the voices and identities devalued by the colonizer.Hence, the practice of “mimicry” exposes the ambivalent and unstable nature ofcolonial rule; while the difference erased by mimicry works to suppress the subjectivity ofthe 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 alternativeculture and identity. Thus, Bhabha describes this condition of mimicry as “the sign of theinappropriate,” through which “a difference or recalcitrance which coheres the dominantstrategic function of colonial power, eventually poses “an immanent threat to both‘normalized’ knowledges and disciplinary powers.”6°Based on this concept, it is not somuch the fixed identities of the (colonialist) “self’ and the (colonized) “other” as thedisruptive distance or “difference” between them that maintains the hegemonic culturalpower, as well as establishing the position of the “other” as a threat.58Homi Bhabha, The Location ofCulture (London: Routledge, 1994),p.86.5960id.45The ambivalence inherent to the dominant culture, which is revealed by theconcept 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, unifiedidentity. For instance, people who are born of parents of different races inhabit in-between categories, or a hybridized space. This condition of hybridity undermines theconcept of binary oppositions in identity categorizations, such as “self” and “other,” whiteand non-white, and East and West.In contemporary society we recognize many people who transgress presumedcategories, such as transsexuals, diasporic people or people of mixed race. This kind ofhybridized or “in-between” identity/location provides the marginalized “other” with aspace for cultural resistance, through reforming the dominant discourse. This alsounderscores 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 onlysubvert the dominant cultural narrative, but would also deconstruct the view of identitycategories as stable and transparent. Bhabha’ s theorization of subjectivity provides anoptimistic vision of cultural resistance through media representations, by which the racialor gendered “other” emerges as a subject.61Homi Bhabha, “The Postcolonial and the Postmodem: the Question of Agency,” in The Cultural StudiesReader, ed. Simon During (London: Routledge, 1993), p. 202.46While Bhabha’s “mimicry” and “hybridity” are concerned with the relationshipbetween the colonizer and the colonial subject, they can also explain Japan’s identity inrelation 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 conceptto examine Miyazaki Hayao’s work as a form of Disney’s (the West’s) “double” which isintentionally “almost the same, but not quite.”(5) The tacticThe production of a “third culture” derived from within the dominant culture is alsosuggested by Michel de Certeau’ s concept of the “tactic,”62which refers to the subordinateappropriating 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 theagency ofthe subordinate who appropriates the culture of authority to disturb it, andsuggests that media texts might provide one context in which marginalized groups couldset their own agenda.These ideas highlight the potential subjectivity of “others” who are oftenconsidered incapable of controlling narratives that define their own identities, thesubjectivity that enables “others” to utilize media representations, or other forms ofexpression. 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 Disney62Michel de Certeau, The Practice ofEveryday Life (Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1984),pp.xvi-xvii.47animations since childhood, and his auteuric creativity through media texts now providesan alternative narrative for viewers to articulate their cultural identities.1.3. Conscious Perception and the Embodied Experience of Visual MediaLastly, to provide a different perspective on the limits of the ideological influenceof mainstream films on identity articulation, it may be worth briefly discussing theviewer’s conscious participation in building perception, in order to avoid the deterministicview 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 apassive victim. Some film analyses (e.g. some psychoanalytic analyses) assume that thestructure of the text determines the viewer’s consciousness, and results in the saturating ofhis/her unconscious with ideologies through the text. Differing from this view, my projecttakes into account the idea that watching film is a form of viewers’ conscious action ofunderstanding themselves. The film experience should be regarded as a sense-makingcircuit consisting of the text, the producers and the viewer, rather than simply a matter ofthe consumption of the text by the viewer. While active audience theory has beendiscussed by different scholars,63this 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.64Merleau-Ponty assumes that we actively create meanings from the world through a unity63Such studies include studies based on surveys, such as David Morley’s Nationwide Audience: Structureand Decoding (mentioned in Introduction), Stuart Hall’s Encoding and Decoding in the TelevisionDiscourse (Birmingham: Center for Contemporary Cultural Studies, 1973).64Merleau-Ponty, The Phenomenology ofPerception.48of 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 aconscious being. In other words, it is the structure of the subject’s conscious experiencethat creates understanding of ourselves and others, though this does not necessarily meandismissing the unconscious. Merleau-Ponty’s “perception” thus undercuts the assumptionof the subject’s absolute susceptibility to ideological systems.Based on this notion of “perception,” Vivian Sobchack’s examination of thephenomenon of vision, incorporating a semiotic phenomenological approach, brings tolight the possibility of human choice and expressive freedom in the film experience alongwith historical and cultural constraints (or specificity). Her approach is premised on theidea that “the structures of being determine the structures of language,”65in contrast to aLacanian 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, Sobchackexplicates the nature of the film experience as a set of intersubjective relations among thetext, 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 bodyis an expressive space as well as a medium to perceive the world. In other words, as wewatch the projection of other people’s (producers’) ways of seeing on the screen, we tooexpress our perceptive experience. This view, as well as identifying subjectivity65Vivian Sobchack, The Address ofthe Eye: A Phenomenology ofFilm Experience (Princeton: PrincetonUniversity Press, 1992), p. 100.6649formation as based on an intersubjective production of meaning, also destabilizes thebinary relationship between object and subject, and recognizes “dialogue” in the viewingcontext. 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, orwriter’s) vision of the world through a set of visual signs that is seen by the viewer. It istherefore an embodied act that makes watching film “reflexively felt and understood,”67and provides both the producers and viewers with a space where they articulate their ownperception and identities.Sobchack’s account of film experience may also be applied to animation, whichshould be likewise acknowledged as a site that allows the viewer to access the world ofothers, and through which the viewer dialectically constructs his or her subjectivity. Inthis regard, Wendy Hsu’s study is inspiring, putting forward the idea of”performative”viewing of anime (Japanese animation). As a non-Japanese, Hsu examines thespectatorship of this transnational media text. Her observation rests on Sobchack’s viewof film watching as an embodied experience in specific social and cultural contexts, andembraces 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: areflexive 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. 3-4.68Wendy 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.50among American fans,69 through the defamiliarization evoked by the text. If animationitself is considered as creating “another world,” this reflexivity could potentially operateamong Japanese viewers of anime as well.Moreover, Hsu’s observation suggests that the anime viewer “performs,” whileacting and reacting to what is happening on the screen. This indicates that the viewer’ssubjectivity 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 (theviewer self) nor the object (the text), but the space in-between. The activeness ofanimation 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 thetext to reflect back on his or her self.The above conceptualizations emphasize the idea of articulating subjectivitythrough 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 thatdiffers from that established by presumed coding that could gain access to the viewer’sunconscious.In the contemporary globalizing, mass-mediated world characterized by rampantcultural boundary crossing, fantasy is central in identity politics. This chapter has mappedout a theoretical framework regarding mechanisms of identity (de)articulation throughfantasy, mainly the fantasy created by/in film. Later chapters examine a particular genre69Susan Napier, Animefrom Akira to Howl s Moving Castle: Experiencing Contemporaiy JapaneseAnimation (New York: Palgrave, 2005),p.242.70Hsu, p. 30. About a migrant’s gaze, also see Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, Destination Culture: Tourism,Museums, and Heritage (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995).51of film: animation. Animated fantasy playsa significant role in articulating individual andcollective identities, and operates similarly with live-actionfilm in some aspects anddifferently in others. The theoretical discussions in thischapter are offered asmethodological tools for analyzing specific animatedtexts.This dissertation does not involve audienceanalysis based on interviews or surveys.While I acknowledge the value of such direct methodsof researching audience response,research based on interviews with sample audiencemembers is always susceptible tobeing 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 deterministicview oftexts, is an explanation of the linkage betweencreators’ intention, text, andintended viewers, a linkage that potentiallybrings about a significant degree of influenceon the production of cultural identities.52Chapter 2: Studies of Animation and AnimeAnimation is an intriguing medium of expression through whichto investigate therelationship between media representations and the articulation of cultural identities,notsimply because of the scarcity of previous research on this medium,but also because of itsunique nature. Thus, while animation shares many qualities with live-actionfilms, it isimportant to study animation independently. In this chapter I sketch out thedevelopmentof animation in the West that influenced animation production in Asia, particularly inJapan (in terms both of techniques and narratives/text). I also introduce the medium’s“morphotic” and “myth-making” characteristics, which facilitate the conveying ofcreators’ ideas and accelerate the function of animation as an ideological apparatus. Ifocus on particular characteristics rather than providing an all-inclusive observation of thismedium. Because of its long-term status as a leading player that laid the foundation in theindustry, and its innovation of genres, styles, and business models, I pay particularattention to Disney animation as a model of animation in the West (particularly theU.S.)in this and the following chapter.Based on these observations, my core discussion evolves around the developmentand characteristics of anime which make it a distinctive medium, and which are influencedby the West and Asia, as well as in turn iiifluencing them. I also discuss and demonstratesome similarities and differences in issues of gender and racial/national representations inboth Western animation and anime, as these are significant factors in articulating viewers’cultural identities.53It is also imperative to note here that some define animationas a genre of filminstead of a medium, considering a “medium” as a “technical form”or physicaltransmission device by which the means of communication areactualized (i.e., radio, TV,books, photographs, and films). However, in this dissertation Icharacterize animation as a“medium,” using the term in a broad sense that refers toa means to convey messages,which is similar to the way that acting and facial expressions mayalso be considered to bemedia of expression. I also define animation broadly in the sensethat it encompassesmultiple modes of delivery, such as film, TV, and video games. Thatis, I consider amedium as “an intermediate agency that enables communicationto take place,” and thattransmits codes to convey messages.’ Animation has its own grammar,codes, andtechniques to convey messages, which differ significantly from thoseof live-action films,as well as other media. (As Paul Wells points out, for example, movements of animationare not directly recorded in the conventional photographic sense, unlikelive-action film.)The view of animation as a distinctive medium of expressionis also suggested byJayne Pilling, who recognizes animation as “a medium that spans afar wider range offilms than that of cartoons only for children.”2Others who see animationin the same lightinclude Paul Wells, John A. Walker and Sarah Chaplin, and Charles Solomon.Likewise, I identify anime as a “medium,” not a genreof animation, since anime,rather than being limited by its theme, encompasses various genres. As Susan Napier andother anime critics such as Christopher Bolton and Thomas Lamarreemphasize, anime‘In this regard, see Key Concepts in Communication and Cultural Studies, eds.Tim O’Sullivan, et al.(London: Routledge, 1994), pp. 176-77.2Pilling, “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 SarahChaplin in Visual Culture: An Introduction (Manchester: Manchester UniversityPress, 1997),p.33; CharlesSolomon in “Animation: Notes on a Definition,” in The Art ofthe Animated Image:An Anthology, ed.Charles Solomon (Los Angeles: American Film Institute, 1987),p. 12.54creates a distinctive aesthetic world that works with “distinctivevisual elements” that arecombined with “an array of generic, thematic, and philosophical structures”and differentsets of codes.3 Therefore, it should not be studied simply asa category of animation.2.1. The Development of Animation and Someof Its Characteristics2.1.1. Definition of animationPaul Wells states that “the animated film has the capacity to redefmetheorthodoxies of live-action narratives and images, and address the humancondition with asmuch authority and insight as any live-action film.”4 Thisnot only indicates thatanimation and live-action film share an equal level of sophistication,but also underlinesthe significant differences between the two forms of media. Beforemoving to morecomplex discussions of animation, it is imperative to defme this medium.Wells definesanimation as follows:To animate, and the related words, animation, animated and animator,allderive from the [L]atin verb, animare, which means ‘to give life to,’andwithin the context of the animated film, this largely means the artificialcreation of the illusion of movement in inanimate lines and forms.5Similarly, Norman McLaren, an eminent British animator, describesanimation as “the artof manipulating the invisible interstices between frames” to createa narrative.6TheseSusan Napier, Anime from Akira to Howl s Moving Castle: ExperiencingContemporary JapaneseAnimation (New York: Palgrave, 2005),P.10. Also, see Christopher A. Bolton, “From Wooden Cyborgs toCelluloid Souls: Mechanical Bodies in Anime and Japanese Puppet Theater,” in Positions10: 3 (2002),p.737.“Wells, Understanding Animation (London: Routledge, 1998),p.4.Wells, Understanding Animation,p.10.6Solomon, “Animation: Notes on a Definition,” p. 11. Scholars and film critics inJapan also understand ageneral technical definition of the medium in the same way. See Tsugata Nobuyuki, Animeshon-gakunyãmon (An Introduction to Study of Animation) (Tokyo: Heibon-sha, 2005); Imamura Taihei, Mangaeigaron (Theory of Animated Film) (Tokyo: Iwanami, 1992),p.16.55defmitions suggest that the creators of animation canmanipulate reality according to theirintentions, producing through animation what Wellscalls a “subjective reality.”7The creation of illusion in animation is done conventionallyin a two-dimensionalspace, which is distinguished from the fictional worldof live-action film that entails ahigher degree of conformity with the laws of physics.8The two-dimensionality ofanimation allows an illusionary world to be illustratedmore effectively than in three-dimensional live-action films, because of animation’sgreater distance from physicalreality. Animation allows creators to flexiblymanipulate the existing assumptionsof“reality” in order to project their own ideas. DonaldCrafton describes animators’ relationto their texts as “self-figuration,”9highlighting the animators’injection of themselves intotheir texts, more so than in any other type of film.Wells strongly believes that flexibility is one of the majorfeatures that distinguishanimation from live-action film.’0Even granting theincreasing overlap between animationand live-action film due to technological advancement(e.g. computer graphics and editingdevices), he argues that animation remains relatively moreflexible than live-action. Wellscalls animation’s freedom of depiction and flexibility“morphotic.” It is because of themorphotic nature of animated images, Wells argues, thatanimation can subvert ourWells, Understanding Animation,p.27.8Paul Wells, Animation: Genre and Authorship (London: Wallflower, 2002),p.15. In recent yearsanimators have experimented with techniques that produce a senseof three-dimensionality, in computer-generated films such as Shrek (2001). None of the filmsI address in this study is in this mode, however, and,in any case, even apparently “three-dimensional” animation isdistanced from physical reality in the sensethat what it depicts never had a material, three-dimensionalexistence 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 whoneeds to know?” in A Reader in Animation Studies,pp.1-4; Solomon,p.9.56accepted notion of reality and challenge the orthodoxunderstanding of our existence andsurroundings.11In addition, in terms of the persuasive power of the “reality” createdby media,different media affect viewers and elicit involvementin the meaning-making process todifferent degrees. In this regard, Marshall MeLuhancategorizes media into “hot” and“cool,” based on the degree of the viewer’s engagement withthat media’s texts. A “hot”medium, such as live-action film, explicitly presentsa significant amount of information(through raw materials), so that it does not requiremuch work on the part of viewers tomake sense of it. In contrast, “cool” media, suchas comics and animation, are composedof simplified signs, which entail a more active role for viewers in meaning-making.’2Itcan be argued that the more actively viewers are involvedin the interpretation process, theless likely it is that they will be affected by the ideologicalmessages embedded in the text.In this sense, I would argue that animation, as a medium that requiresthe viewer’s activeparticipation in meaning making, has a greater potentialto challenge stereotypes than live-action film; and that is a strong motivation to study the ideological messagesin animatedworks.Based on the above observations, in this dissertation, I defineanimation as amedium that generates an illusionary “reality” that reflects creators’woridviews, andthrough which creators provide narratives and tropes for viewers to articulatecultural(national, gender, racial) identities. The animated world is thereforea socially andculturally constructed one, reflecting both creators’ backgroundsand the discourses inSee Wells, Understanding Animation.12Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media: the Extetisiotis ofMan. (Cambridge: MITPress, 1964).57which they are situated. It isa sphere that should not be mistakenfor an innocent form ofproduction, but should be recognizedas one ofthe sites for identity struggle.2.1.2. The development of animationin the WestTwenty-five thousand years ago, inthe caves of southwestern Europe,CroMagnon man made astounding drawingsof the animals he hunted. Hisrepresentations are not only accurate and beautifullydrawn, but many seemto have an inner life combined with a suggestionof movement. Since thattime, we have been inundatedwith artists’ attempts to shape somethinginclay or stone or paint that hasa life of its own.13— Frank Thomas and Ollie JohnstonHuman beings have always had anurge to create representations of non-livingthings that seem animate. This urgewas concretely materialized in theform of theflipbook in the sixteenth century, which operatedbased on the persistence of vision,afundamental cognitive mechanism onwhich contemporary animationalso relies.’4 It isunfortunate that, despite its invention priorto live-action film production, animationhasbeen overshadowed in the research, theoryand criticism of visual media.The history of animation has paralleledthe development of visual technologies inthe West: moving images, filmtechnologies, sound, and color. InFrance, Emile Reynaudinvented the praxinoscope in 1876, basedon a previous moving-image toy,the zoetrope,which was invented by British mathematician WiliamGeorge Homer in 1834. Thepraxinoscope allowed the viewer to watchmoving images projected in a mirror. Reynaudgradually improved the technology of his machine,and eventually in 1982 introducedthe‘Franic Thomas and Ollie Johnston, The illusion ofLife: Disney Animation (New York: WaltDisneyProduction, 1981),p. 13.14Imamura, Eiga mangaron,p.7. According to Imamura and Wells, the theory ofpersistence of vision,which explains how hwnans perceive movement, hademerged as early as 65 B.C.E.58Theater Optique, wherein he sequentiallyprojected images from hand-paintedglass plates,each of which was a little different from thenext, producing an effect of continuousmovement. As an early type of animation,this technique is also considered to bea bigstep toward the current concept of film-makingmore generally. These inventionswereincorporated in Thomas Alva Edison’s inventionof the kinetoscope in 1891, whichwasfollowed by the Lumiere Brothers’ cinematographe(essentially the modem film projector)in 1895 in France.’5The first book specializing in animation wasAnimated Cartoons, published inLondon in 1920, just about ten years afterthe invention of conventional film animation.’6The Disney Studio later made animation prominentin visual culture, but nonethelessthemedium has experienced decades of relativecritical neglect.As the twentieth century progressed, animationbegan to appear in an increasinglywide range of venues—from films, computergames, web sites, and TV commercialstoATM bank machine screens. Against this background,the previously marginalizedmedium of animation began to be acknowledged incultural, economic, and politicalspheres, and began to draw attention in academic circlesas well.After World War II, animation began to be treatedas a distinctive medium byorganized scholarly bodies, suchas the International Association of AnimatedFilm(founded in 1960), the Society for Animation Studies(SAS, founded in 1989), andWomen in Animation (founded in 1993), and thestudy of animation has increasinglygrown to be a recognized research field. In addition, thesuccess of animated feature filmssuch as Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, Wallace& Gromit, and Akira, along with the‘See Wells, Understanding Animation; Tsugata, Animation-gaku.16This book contains the explanation of visual technologies thatcontributed to the invention of animationand of the technical description of the production process. SeeTsugata, Animation-gaku,p.109.59increasing popularity of animation amongadult audiences, started bringingmore scholarlyattention to the medium.17Yet, while film studies have significantly developedsince the 1960s in variousaspects, animation studies—including the medium’shistory, theory and criticism—haveremained marginal, because of the conventionalbeliefthat animation is a transparent and“innocent” form of entertainment for children.This view has been perpetuated alongsidethe concept of “innocent childhood” in NorthAmerican society, which has been taken forgranted in part due to the pervasiveness ofthe aesthetic of Disney animation since1928.18These conceptualizations mask the fact that“innocent childhood” isa fairly recent socialconstruct which allows the dominant discourseto permeate society, supported by adultproducers’ and authorities’ interests rather than children’spreferences or needs. In recentyears the view of animation as an “innocent”cultural form has begun tobe questioned,and in this study I emphasize that this medium shouldbe understood as a manifestation ofpolitical and ideological conflicts.Eric Smoodin provides a useful understandingof the way that “norms” that arefounded on dominant ideologies are constructedthrough Hollywood cartoons and17See Jayne Pilling’s emphasis on a recognition of animation asa field of study in her “Introduction” to AReader in Animation Studies, ed. Jayne Pilling (London: John Libbey& Company Pty Ltd. 1997), pp. ix-xii;Eric Smoodin, Animating Culture: Hollywood Cartoons from theSound Era (New Brunswick: RutgersUniversity Press, 1993),p. l.A Reader in Animation maps out the diversity of contemporary animationstudies. In the introductory chapter Jayne Pilling lists the maindisciplines in which papers have beenpresented at SAS conferences in the 1 990s, including culturalstudies, sociology, film history, and feministstudies. Along with this variety of disciplines, the recent topicsdealt with are also certainly diverse, rangingfrom ethnicity and diversity, the globalization of animationin the industrial context, modes of production,and canon formations, to gender theory. The book encompassesa variety of topics; however, the fact thatthis “international” scholarly organization and yet it focusesmainly on studies of European and Americananimated works indicates room for further progress in this fieldof study. See Pilling, “Introduction,”pp.xiv-xv.‘With regard to the concept (or the myth) of “innocent childhood,”see Neil Postman’s DisappearingChildhood (New York: Vintage Books, 1982). There is a fmeline between “innocent childhood” and“children as hope for the future,” and I will discuss Miyazaki Hayao’sview’s on children as audience inChapter 3.60government involvement in the industry from 1928to l96O.’ From his analysis, heconcludes that cultural products act to impose normsand regulations on viewers throughtheir production and consumption. LynnSpigel verifies this view, emphasizing thecommodification and politicization of childhood,and identifying children’s media as avehicle for colonizing the world through image-makingthat represents Americanjingoisms.2°Julianne Burton-Carvajal concurs:[p]recisely because of their assumed innocence andinnocuousness, theirinherent ability.., to defy all conventionsof realistic representation,animated cartoons offer up a fascinating zone withinwhich to examine howa dominant culture constructs its subordinates.21All of these critics underscore the constructed “innocence”of animation, whichpotentially allows the dominant ideas to insinuateinto the viewer’s mindconveniently and effectively.Many studies have been done on Disney animation,including Walt Disney as anauteur, the studio’s history, its political impact, and soon.22 To many people, “animation”is synonymous with Disney, and largely forthis reason, other animated works (nonDisney productions) inside or outside the UnitedStates have been significantlyneglected,23despite their increasing growth and the significantroles that they play.See Smoodin, Animating Culture, and also studies on Disney asa key player in the construction ofdominant ideologies can go back at least as early as Richard Schickel’sThe Disney Version: The Times,Art, and Commerce of Walt Disney (New York: Simon and Schuster,1968).20L)’rm Spigel, “Innocence Abroad: The Geopolitics of Childhoodin Postwar Kid Strips,” in Kid’s MediaCulture, ed. Marsha Kinder (Durham: Duke University Press,1999).21Julianne Burton-Carvajal, “Surprise Package: Looking southwardwith Disney,” in Disney Discourse:Producing the Magic Kingdom, ed. Eric Smoodin (New York: Routledge,1994),p.139.22Studies on Disney animations include: Paul Wells, Animation andAmerica (New Brunswick: RutgersUniversity Press, 2002); Smoodin, Animating Culture; articles in DisneyDiscourse, ed. Eric Smoodin; andFrom Mouse to Mermaid: The Politics ofFilm, Gender and Culture,eds. Elizabeth Bell, Lynda Haas, LauraSells (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1995).23This is not to say that there are no studies of animation outside the Disney Studios.Significant works inthis field include: Paul Wells, “Animation: Forms and Meanings”, in An Introductionto Film Studies ed. Jill612.1.3. Animation as a myth-making toolSome scholars argue that one of the mainreasons that animation travels with littledifficulty across national boundaries liesin its low level of “cultural discount,”or its“culturally odorless” quality.24 “Culturallyodorless” refers to products whoseculturalspecificity and distinctiveness are negligible,so that they can be easily accepted byaglobal audience. This view of animation is reinforcedby well-known film critic SergeiEisenstein’s naïve yet influential vision ofthe medium as ideologically neutral becauseofits engagement with only the “surfaceof the phenomenon.” In Eisenstein’sview, theanimated form itself resists “looking beneathto the origins, at the reasons and causes, atthe conditions and pre-conditions.”25 Heseems in turn to emphasize the apparentpleasure(form/style) of the animated media text over itsimplications (content/message).These observations have a certain truth; however,they neglect the complexity ofanimated texts, failing to take into account the messagesembedded in and generatedaround specific animated narratives: it is importantto remember that animation is acontent-based medium, which, as Wells suggests, “cancarry important meanings andengage with social issues.”26 In other words, animation,composed of both visual andnarrative textual elements, is a communicationvehicle, purveying narratives or givinginstructions. Although animation embraces variousfunctions, its storytelling or narrativeNelmes (London and New York: Routledge, 2003);Wells, Understanding Animation; Wells, Animation:Genre andAuthorship (London: Wallflower Press,2002); Jayne Pilling, A Reader in Animation Studies; andMaureen Furniss, Art in Motion: Animation Aesthetics(Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1998).24The term “cultural discount” is mentioned in Stuart McFadyen,Cohn Hoskins, and Adam Finn, GlobalTelevision and Film: An Introduction to the Economicsofthe Business (Oxford: Clarendon Press,1997),pp.32-33; “Culturally odorless” is mentioned in Iwabuchi,p.27.25Sergei 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 TheBlackboard Jungle (1955). In the film, there is a scene wherea teacher uses an animation to get delinquentboys engaged in his class, and the animation inspires them to raisequestions about the images on the screen.62creation is one ofthe main characteristics of this medium.Thus, through the viewing ofanimated texts, viewers are acquiring or exchangingideas or ideologies with the texts’creators, and through the production and consumptionprocess, narratives pertaining tonational, gender, or class identities can be established—aprocess of myth-making—inboth producing and recipient countries. As discussedin Chapter 1, consumers also assistin the production of meanings and narratives whenviewing animation. I discuss theelements of narrative creation in animated film whichaid in maintaining dominantideologies below.(1) Linear narrativizationOne ofthe strategies for creating myths that tie to identity politics andourperception of the world is linear narrativization. Linearnarrative refers to a plot thatproceeds from beginning to end without deviation, whoseorganization is preconceived toallow writers to guide the reader/viewer to their prescribedreading.27 This narrative styleassumes that readers gain pleasure not from having a choiceof how to read, but frombeing led. Animated texts in the West often adhere toa linear narrative structure28:atypical problem-solution-happy ending/moralization plotfrom one of Disney’s “princessstories” (from the classic Snow White (1937) and Cinderella(1950) to the more recentMulan (1998)), for example. This can reinforce dominant ideologiesregarding gender27For a more detailed explanation of linear narrative, see Jennifer Fraser, Visualizinga Hypertext Narrative(Ottawa: Carleton University, 1999), p.’7, and also Hayden White, “The ValueofNarrativity in theRepresentation of Reality,” in Critical Inquiry 7: 1 (1980),pp.5-27.28This point is suggested in studies such as Jack Zipes, “Breakingthe Disney Spell,” in From Mouse toMermaid: The Politics ofFilm, Gender, and Culture, eds. ElizabethBell, 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 PoliticsofFilm, Gender, and Culture, eds. Elizabeth Bell, Lynda Haas, Laura Sells (Bloomington:IndianaUniversity Press, 1995).63and/or racial identities: such narratives allow little scopefor imagining alternateinterpretations or alternate gender identity articulations.Linear narrativization also operates to create a narrative coherencebetweendifferent media or between fantasy and reality, whicheven allows for adding“conventional plots to inherently plotless materials.”29 In the case ofDisney’s project, forexample, linear narrativization helps to establish a narrative coherencebetween theanimated film or TV show, theme parks, and merchandise: the WonderfulWorld ofDisney. In this World, the viewing of an animation maybe followed by a visit to one ofseveral theme parks, where visitors are guided in aprogrammed direction. The purchaseof synergetic merchandise completes the “Disney narrative.”In other words, a narrativecoherence maintained by images and plot, as well as productsin daily life, suppressespossible (mis)readings of a text, and subsequently contributes to the uniform perceptionofissues around us, such as identity politics or the view of “self’ and “other.”Linearnarratives make viewers susceptible and subservient to those in a positionof power insociety, through ideologies that are produced, reproduced, and internalizedin the viewer’smind.(2) Escapism: Sugar-coating unpleasant realityComponents such as linear narrativization often work to concealthe cruel aspectsand realities of historical events, sanitizing and simplifying culturalproblems such asracism. This approach is related to a desire for escapism, an important elementforpleasure in the fantasy world. According to Tim O’Sullivan, escapism isa “process which29M. Johnson, “Disney World as Structure and Symbol: Re-Creation of the American Experience,”Journal ofPopular Culture 15: 1(1981), p. 162.64enables the individual to withdraw from unpleasantor threatening situations by recourseto preferred symbolic or imaginative states.”3°The narrativesimplification pertaining toconflicting histories or perceptions of “enemies” practicedby Disney animations explicitlycreates an ideal, simplistic space for escapism, andinstead establishes the “friendlyneighbor of the U.S. Latin America” (Three Caballeros,1944) or “the devious MiddleEast” (Aladdin, 1992), for example.Disney narratives representing specific cultures or peoples, suchas Pocahontas(1995) and Mulan (1998), tend to wipe out complexpolitics and unpleasant realities toguide viewers to a “make-believe” world where everythingis peaceful and transparent.Henry Giroux stresses this aspect of Disney narratives,describing them as vehicles forrationalizing the authoritarian, normalizing tendenciesof dominant culture.31 With thisstrategy, histories of oppression such as colonialism or inter-cultural,racial or sexualconflicts can be effectively purged. In this respect, Disneyanimation does not necessarilyoffer the audience realistic ways of living in society, but often providesonly thecompensatory pleasures of a fantasy world. Theimplications of this will be discussedmore closely in the next chapter.(3) Essentialist representation: gender and raciallnational identitiesAccording to Said, the myth of the “Other” is constructedby “imaginativegeography and history,” which “help the mind to intensifyits own sense of itself bydramatizing the distance and difference between what is closeto it and what is far30Key Concepts in Communication and Cultural Studies, eds. Tim O’Sullivan, et al.(London: Routledge,1994), p. 106.31Giroux, “Memory and Pedagogy in the ‘Wonderful World of Disney,”p. 46.65away.”32 The same argument can be made about animatedfantasy, which is capable ofcreating an “imaginative geography and history” throughthe dramatization of “distanceand difference.” To make myths that “dramatize thedistance” between “self’ and “other”is to over-emphasize or to essentialize the differencebetween the two. Articulating theessentialist mode in which the Western (post)colonialdiscourse of the “Other” operatesthrough the sexualization of race in live-action films,Ella Shohat notes:The gender and colonial discursive intersection is revealed in theways thatHollywood exploited the Orient, Africa, and LatinAmerica as a pretext foreroticized images, especially from 1934 through the mid-fiftieswhen therestrictive production code forbade depicting “scenesof passion” in all butthe most puerile terms Exoticising and eroticizing the ThirdWorldallowed the imperial imaginary to play out its own fantasiesof sexualdomination.33Stereotypical representations of races have oftenbeen seen in animation in theUnited States and other Western countries, providinga sense of security to whitesubjectivity.34 The racial/ethnic representations in many Hollywood animations(such asthose produced by Disney, the Fleischer Brothers Studio, WarnerBros., and MGM)provide good examples of the type of myth-making that resorts to theessentialization ofcertain groups. This mode of representation of the Orient is manifestedin, for example,Disney’s Aladdin, which is closely investigated in Chapter 4. Similarly,in Chapter 6, Idiscuss at length the national, racial and gender images that constituteDisney’s Mulan(1998), which at first glance appears to challenge genderand ethnic stereotypes, butactually reinforces them in a variety of ways.32Said, Orientalism, p. 55.Ella Shohat, “Gender and the Culture of Empire: Toward a Feminist Ethnography ofthe Cinema,” inQuarterly 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 essentializeddepictions ofrace or ethnicity. Racial representation strategies practiced by non-white “others”are discussed in Chapter 1and Chapter 5.66It is important to note that, according to studies of Hollywood animations,asignificant number of animated narratives continuously redefme theway in which genderand race/ethnicity are represented, and this becomes especially noticeablein times ofnational identity crises or conflicts in foreign affairs.35A specific example is introducedby Wells, who examines American animated works that present NaziGermany and Japanduring the Second World War, in which antagonistic codes are usedto portray “other”races, in order to establish American national narrativesof heroism and to secure“masculine identity.”36 In other words, dominant modes of representationcontinuallyshift in the socio-political context. In the age of globalization,decolonization and the decentralization in the world system have heightened identity crisesand a sense of insecurityand anxiety within the power center, resulting, in some cases, in new instancesofraciaL/ethnic or gender stereotyping.As we have seen in Chapter 1, it is a mistake to believe that power relationships ofdominance and oppression are simple, or that they are necessarily stableover time.Nonetheless, inequality between nations or between racial/ethnic groupswithin nationsremains surprisingly persistent, resulting in long-term unbalance in the waysor degrees towhich some groups may be represented in discourse. Since the l940s, increasing publicresistance to stereotyping in the United States has put pressure on filmmakersto addressSee Burton-Carvajal, and Smoodin’s, Animating Culture.36To illustrate the racial representation in animation, Wells uses one episode ofthe 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 stereotypicallydepicted 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 andspeak language (or mere noise) that is not Japanese, and act violently in a barbaricmanner with swords. AJapanese woman with kimono (Bugs Bunny in disguise) is depicted as seductive and manipulative. Also, inAnimating Culture Smoodin discusses “mythologised stereotypical American values” brought into playthrough representations of Mickey Mouse’s masculine characteristics. (See,pp.64-67). Both studiesindicate how closely gendered representations intersect with racial or national narrativesin animated texts,particularly in the 1 930s and the 1 940s.67the issue of unequal representation in film of African Americans, Hispanics,and women,to name just a few examples. Despite the pressure broughtby interest groups, which hasresulted in diminished racist imagery, “positive images didnot increase” until the 1970s,as Maureen Furniss points out.37Essentialized representations of gender are also plentifulin North Americananimation. Wells points out the existence of a male-dominant code of representationinDisney productions, as well as in animated versions ofSuperman (1941, the FleischerBrothers Studio) and Popeye (1932, the Fleischer Brothers Studio). This, Wells explains,derives from the fact that the animation industry in the West is overall “pathologicallymale, run by men in the spirit of expressing the interests of men, creating patriarchalhierarchies in major studios.”38 In these works, male charactersare defined by theirphysical actions, whereas female characters are defined by signifiers of conventional“feminine” appearance (Mickey Mouse vs. Minnie Mouse; Popeye vs. OliveOyl) andportrayed as “difference,” in comparison to their male counterparts.This emphasis on“difference” serves to reinforce the polarization of the genderbinary. According to Wells,these depictions of female characters accelerate the infantalizing or sexualizingof women.In this respect, the animated body is a crucial site for the (re)inscribingof masculinity andfemininity, in the ways that gender (and/or race) is embodied throughcharacters’appearance, behaviors, or physical movements.Since the 1980s, the academic world has been more and more critical ofessentialist aspects of Disney animations, largely because of their problematicrepresentations of certain groups of people and cultures. The issue of representation is anFumiss,p.232.38Wells, Understanding Animation, p. 187. Although I do not address this issue in detail in thisstudy,Japanese animation studios are similarly male-dominated and patriarchal.68issue of power politics, and therefore, the discussion ofanimation texts in relation tocultural identity articulation should address the question ofwho represents whom and withwhat intention, which is the main focus in my casestudies in later chapters.2.1.4. Subversive characteristics of animation: examples inthe West(1) The deconstruction of myths of “gender identity”Wells regards animation as a potential tool to be used to resist the patriarchaldiscourse of media representations, which cannot be accomplishedas easily through live-action film. He states that:[i]f men, in general, have used animation to echo and extendthe premisesand concerns of men in live-action film-making, then women have usedanimation to create a specific feminine aesthetic which resists the inherentlymasculine language of the live-action arena, and the most dominant codes oforthodox hyper-realist animation which also use its vocabulary.39In his study, Wells reveals in the works of several female animatorsa “feminine aesthetic”which deconstructs the concept of masculinity that has beenprivileged in many live-actionfilms and in orthodox Disney animation. According to him,the feminine aesthetic has thefollowing attributes:1) Women’s animation recognizes the shift from the representationof woman asobject, to the representation of woman as subject. This seeks to move awayfrom traditions in which women are merely erotic spectacles or of marginalnarrational interest.2) The feminine aesthetic mistrusts language, perceiving itas the agent ofmasculine 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 abandonconservative forms, and create radical texts which may demand greaterparticipation from the viewing audience.Wells, Understanding Animation, p. 198.694) The feminine aesthetic seeks to reveal a woman’s relationship to her ownbody; her interaction with men and other women; her perception of her privateand public role; her social and political identity within the domestic andprofessional space, as determined by law; and also, the relationship betweenfemale sexuality, desire, and creativity.40Defined by these characteristics, the “feminine aesthetic” in animation is a key element ofsubversive visual and narrative representations, which work either to expose the instabilityof gender identity categorizations or to create representations that transform the female“other” into the female-as-subject. (This account of the feminine aesthetic and itspotential leaves open the question of whether male animators can also employ it to makesubversive animation texts.)Furthermore, animation’s nature of being free from physical laws, a logicalconsequence of its two-dimensionality, also aids in challenging dominant or presumedcodes of depiction, a process that Thomas Lamarre describes as “metamorphosis”41—arejection of fixed forms of expression or a resistance to realistic illustration. That is, themutability presented through the animated body constantly in flux effectively illustratesthe instability of identities (such as gender and race), and this mutable body can thereforedeconstruct essentialist categorizations. Animation characters are effective in this respect,because their bodies can morph into a different sex or even a different species, unlike live40As an example of the “feminine aesthetic” in animation, Wells introduces the work of animator FaithHubley, who employs subjective expression, and eliminates the hard-cel and the hard line in order tochallenge a male-dominated orthodox animation style and the phallocentric aspects of the language ofanimation. Similar practices can be seen in the work of other animators, such as Joanna Quinn’s Girl’sNight Out (1986). Wells’ list also includes Emily Hubley, who addresses sexual confusion, rape, pregnancyand social alienation in The Emergence ofEunice (1980), Alison Dc Vere, who addresses how a womanbecomes more conscious of herself as a woman by interrogating the roles that have been imposed upon herin 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 ofimages that rejects fixed forms of expression. Although plasmaticness, a resistance to realistic illustration, isa characteristic of animation in general, the concept of realism in animation is relative. For example, Disneyanimations after Silly Symphonies focused more on verisimilitude in characters. See Eisenstein on Disney.70action characters who, generally speaking, can changetheir gender only through changesin their outer appearance (costume, hair, behavior).In this way, playing with thesex/gender of the morphotic animated body allows “viewersto both identifywith.. .different kinds of bodies, and create[a] space for polymorphously perversespectatorial experiences.”42 This means that viewerscan relatively easily experienceidentities other than their biological sex by means of theanimated body, and that theseanimated bodies also draw viewers’ attention to theconstructed-ness of identitycategorizations, such as race or gender/sex, whichwe usually take for granted.Joanna Bouldin draws on one of the Loony Tunes episodesin which Bugs Bunnyperforms in “drag” to illustrate this point. In this episode,Bugs changes not justsuperficially, but fully: his body changes shape tobecome entirely feminine, somethingthat would be impossible for a live actor. This mutabilityof sex/gender is accepted by theviewer as plausible because, although animation is highlyimaginary, the animated bodystill resonates with our image of a real physicalbody.With Bugs Bunny, changes in actual body shape allow the characterto perform ina way that live-actors could not, to potentially subvertconventions of genderrepresentation. Examples of live actors enacting gender changes includeRobin Williamsin Mrs. Doubfire (1993) and Dustin Hoffman in Tootsie(1982), where the real bodies ofthe actors can be covered in ways that make them look like women,but their bodies’ realshapes do not change. Unlike Bugs Bunny, for example,the waist size of male actors indrag cannot be reduced to enhance the illusion of femininity.As Bouldin argues, theanimated body offers the viewer a liminal space where he or she transcendscorporeality,and at the same time the relatively “realistic” depictions of peoplein animation make it42Bouldin, “Bodacious Bodies and the Voluptuous Gaze,”p. 63.71possible for real people to identify with the animated characters. “Identity,”in the case ofthe animated body is, therefore, contingent on continuous (re)articulation. Observingthisprocess in the context of animated narratives may make thenotion of constructed-ness ofgender identity—even in real life—more compelling.From these observations, it can be argued that the stereotypical representationsofthe race/ethnicity or gender of characters’ bodies in orthodox animation suchas Disney’sworks tend to confine viewers’ corporeal experience of animation. On the otherhand, therepresentation of subversive corporeal performances by animated bodies may help inemancipating marginalized subjects in society: by watching bodies mutate,those inmarginal groups may be encouraged to think about the constructed nature of typicallyassumed identity categories. At the same time, the recognition of this nature may makethose in dominant groups more accepting of “others” that they formerly ignored ordespised. Although these subversive narratives often tend to target niche markets, theyhave been increasing in number. Animated works that disturb gender/sexual identitycategorization include Girls Night Out (1987), in which a scantily-clad, muscle-boundstripper’s naked body positions female viewers as capable of using the gaze for their ownvoyeuristic pleasure—a reverse of the way that female bodies are typically fragmentedand 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 redefmed, may also be relevant to the question of racial representation.43 However, while anumber of animated works highlight the constructed nature of gender identity, the racialSee Wells, Understanding Animation,p.188.72body seems to remain more often stereotypically depicted. Nor have therebeen manystudies that identify Western animated works that challenge an essentialistview of racialidentities by means of the animated body. This may bebecause, compared to gender andsexuality, 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 oftenas a vehicleto expose and subvert conventions of racial stereotyping.It must be noted that discussions of representation in animation have been focusedon Western animated works, particularly those createdby Disney. Wells’ studies alsoconcentrate heavily on North American and European animated works.A betterunderstanding of mechanisms that link representations in animated texts and potentialarticulation of cultural identities entails the theoretical exploration of works fromAsia—Japan in particular—to which I turn next.2.2. What is Anime?Only it [animej can counterbalance the hegemony of American animation inAsia and the world, showing that globalization of popular culture does notnecessarily imply homogenization or Americanization.’—Wai-Ming NgIn the field of animation, the United States (Disney in particular) has dominatedthe global market. However, the phenomenon of this one-way flow from the UnitedStates to peripheral countries began to change from the late 1980s and 1990s,and thatchange included the tremendous growth of Japanese animation, as Wai-MingNg’s quote(above) suggests. This recent change in the animation industry scene maybe interpretedWai-Ming Ng, “Japanese Animation in Singapore: An Historical and Comparative Study,” in AnimationJournal 9 (2001),p.47.73as a sign of increasing resistance to American culturalhegemony. Supporting this view,Wells describes “a whole range of animation from acrossthe six continents” as “the fullestexample of the appeal of animation to express personal, socio-culturaland nationalconcerns that bear no relation to the American contextat all.”45 This suggests that the“resistance” to American hegemony was not necessarilyintentional—it is just that morecountries have the means and the desire to produce animation,and thus North Americanproducts automatically become less central. As a resultof this, these countries are given ameans through which they may countervail the hegemony.This statement indicates thatin an age of globalization, animation produced inpreviously (or currently) marginalizedcountries plays a significant role in (re)establishing nationalidentity through theimaginary, and in turn undercutting American-centered ideologiesand aesthetics.Anime (contemporary Japanese animation) is a national culturalform that hasgrown increasingly popular—both at home and abroad—since the 1980s and 1 990s.Anime frequently evokes Japan’s problematic national identity in relationto the concept of“otherness,” which, as we shall see, is often intertwined with issues ofgender andsexuality.2.2.1. The history of anime and anime researchThe term anime in this study refers not to the entire slate of animationmade inJapan from the first animated cartoon in1917,46but to contemporary animation producedWells, Animation: Genre and Authorshiv, p. 346Japan’s first animated film shown at a theater was made by Shimokawa Bokoten. Thisshort-lengthanimation was made by drawing with ink directly on the film stock. See YamaguchiYasuo, Nihon no animezenshi (The Entire History of Japanese Anime) (Tokyo: Ten Books, 2004),pp. 44-46.74after the 1960s and 1970s. The history of anime thereforespans only the last thirty toforty years.It was not until after the Second World War thatJapan started to be recognized asa significant animated film production center. Filmcritic Imamura Taihei designates 1958,when Japan’s first feature-length color animationHakujaden (The Legend ofthe WhiteSerpent) was produced, as the moment when Japaneseanimation reached an acceptablelevel of achievement.47 Hakujaden was producedby the first large-scale animation studio,TOei Doga (Toei Motion Picture).The early 1960s was time of rapid economic growthfor Japan, and this allowedmany families to purchase television sets for theirhomes. Soon TV animated cartoonstargeting children sparked a boom in Japan’s animationindustry. Animation at that timewas known as “manga eiga” (comic book film) or “terebimanga” (TV comic book) inJapan.48It was from the late 1 970s and early 1 980s that animebegan to cater to older agegroups, and this became a major characteristic of contemporaryanime. This is also whenanime started to become recognized worldwide as one of the mostappealing visual mediaof Japan. The 1980s and the 1990s witnessed the globalanime boom, a phenomenon thathas shown steady growth for the last few decades. What is especiallynoteworthy duringthis period is the fact that anime began to demonstrate a distinctive “Japaneseness,”orwhat Susan Pointon calls “uncompromising ‘othemess”manifested in its narrative and‘Imamura, Manga eigaron,p.204.48As I discuss later in this chapter, there is a close relationship between anime andmanga, withdevelopments in manga usually preceding those in anime.75visual styles.49 This distinguishes animeworks from animations made inthe 1960s andthe 1 970s, which avoided reflecting specificitiesof Japanese culture or customs.As for research on anime, the first animation study inJapan began in 1934, aboutfifteen years after Animated Cartoons waspublished in London, yet there was nomonograph published on animation in Japan until ImamuraTaihei’s Manga Eiga ron (TheTheory ofAnimated Film) in 1941. This bookdiscusses expressive methods characteristicto Japanese animation, especially those drawnfrom manga (Japanese comic books) andfrom Japanese arts and music. Even inthe 1950s, the majority of books on animationwere nothing more than impressionisticstudies of specific animated works. It was onlygradually that critics learned how to reviewanimation by reading European or Americancritical essays. From the 1960s to the 1970s, wewitness development in the publicationof critical essays and studies of animation,yet these studies mostly deal with animationmade in the United States. It was not until thelate 1970s and 1980s that a significantnumber of critical essays and books specializingin anime appeared.5°2.2.2. Characteristics and types of anilne(1) Anime as a distinctive mediumTsugata Nobuyuki defines anime as characterizedby the following three mainfeatures: 1) the use of cel animation, 2) the use of costeffective strategies (i.e. fewerpictures for the depiction of a scene), called limitedanimation, and 3) a tendency to havestories not simply of good vs evil, but of complicated humanrelationships andSusan Pointon, “Transcultural Orgasm as Apocalypse: Urotsukidöji:The Legend of the Overfiend,” inWide Angle 19: 3 (1997),p. 45.°The first magazine specializing in anime was OUT, published in1977 followed by Animage published in1987, 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.)76worldviews.5’With regard to the visual aesthetics ofanime, world-renownedcontemporary artist Murakami Takashi arguesthat anime draws its distinctive visual stylefrom an aesthetic he calls “superfiat,” anaesthetic that characterizes traditional art,andcontinues to be prevalent in a variety of contemporaryvisual forms. Murakami goessofar as to call the superfiat aesthetic “theDNA that formed Japanese culture.”52As thename suggests, superfiat refers to a culturalpreference for two-dimensional visualpresentations, rather than the rounded, three-dimensional,depth-filled presentation thatresults from the one-point perspectivalism championedin Western visual art after theRenaissance. In anime, one typical evocation of thesuperfiat aesthetic is the use of asingle, static, flat-looking background scene, againstwhich the main characters move.While some film historians link this technique withthe low budgets and high-pressureproduction schedules of early TV anime, others arguealong with Murakami that thisvisual characteristic expresses a Japanese culturalpreference for two-dimensional, flatvisual presentations.53But, as Tsugata suggests above, the definition of animeshould not only refer tostylistic aspects. As Lamarre comments,“to reduce the complexity of anime is to ignorethe complexity ofJapan.”54 By the same token, SusanNapier states that “[tb defineanime simply as ‘Japanese cartoons’ gives no senseof the depth and variety that make upthe medium.”55 Both statements emphasize theneed to differentiate “anime” from51Tsugata Nobuyuki, Nihon animëshon no chikara (The Power ofJapanese Animation) (Tokyo: NTTShuppan, 2004),P.21.52Murakanii Takashi, “A Theory of Super Flat Japanese Art,” inSuperfiat ed. Murakami Takashi (Tokyo:MADRA Publishing, 2000),p.25. No translator listed.L.amarre, p. 338.Lamarre,p.336.55Napier,p.6.77animation made in other countries, and the importanceof examining anime as a distinctivemedium.One of the major features that distinguishes animefrom any other medium as wellas from its American counterparts is its wide rangeof genres or themes—from romance,comedy, tragedy, adventure, and science fiction, to pornography—makingit possible forvirtually everyone, from young children to the elderly,to find anime that appeal to theirtastes.56 This originates in the similar diversity of manga,on which anime are oftenbased.57According to Napier, another point that distinguishes animefrom animation is itsfunction as both a globalizing and a localizing force,reflecting Japan’s problematicidentity in relation to the world.58 That is, anime asa distinctive cultural form maintainsits Japanese roots; while hybridization or reciprocalinfluences of other (Asian andWestern) cultures on anime seem to be very much a partof the development of both itsnarrative forms and techniques, they would not lead toa total convergence. Napier goeson to investigate Japan’s national identity configurationthrough anime as a national56Napier,pp.30-34. She further categorizes anime into three main modes of expression—apocalyptic,festival (carnival), and elegiac—which go beyond any nation-specificsite and elucidate issues commonamong a global audience. The apocalyptic mode of anime,characterized by works such as Evangelion (TVanime, 1995, by Anno Hideaki), expresses social pessimism. The festival mode,similar to MilchailBakhtin’s concept of “carnival,” demonstrates the privilegingoftransgression and carnivalesque themes andnarrative structures. This mode includes works such as Ranma 1/2(TV anime, 1989-1992, by MochizukiTomomitsu) and Urusei Yatsura (1’V anime, 1981-1986, by Oshii Mamoru& Yamazaki Kazuo), both ofwhich exempli1j a festive transgression of gender and sexuality.The elegiac mode refers to lamentation andmelancholy mixed with nostalgia, which links with the long lyrictradition in premodern Japanese culture,celebrating the beauty of transience. Napier points out that these modes are familiarto audiences around theworld, but outside Japan are more usually found in the fields ofliterature or live-action films, rather thananimation. Also see Frederik Schodt’s Manga! Manga! The WorldofJapanese Comics (New York:Kodansha International, 1986).A large percentage of narratives that are made into anime beginas manga. The most typical process is fora manga series that has proved popular to be made into a TV anime series, andthen sometimes to berepackaged into feature-length animated or sometimes even live-actionfilms. Many popular narratives inJapan exist simultaneously as on-going serialized manga, on-going serializedTV anime, and annuallyreleased animated feature films.58Napier, p. 27.78cultural form, drawing on Mitsuhiro Yoshimoto’squestion about the relationship betweenthe global circulation of images and regionalboundaries: does anime reinforce nationalspecificity, or are globally circulated imagessimply subsumed by globalization,effectively losing all national specificity?I will return later to the relationshipbetweennational identities and the characteristics—both formand content—of anime.(2) Anime as a national cultural formLike its Western counterpart, anime isa storytelling medium, and its narrativesprovide viewers with resources for their identityarticulation. This section discusses the“Japaneseness” of anime, and the ways its culturalspecificity (or the lack thereof)influences the kinds of messages providedby creators about gendered, racial, or nationalidentities.The view of anime as both a global anda local force is related to the creation ofnational narrative, and is also associated with what“anime” signifies in the global arena.As Tsugata mentions, the term anime hasbeen used outside Japan since around the1990s.59 This indicates that phenomena originatingoutside Japan contribute to theperception of anime, as well as to the image of Japanitself: anime is now an internationalconcept and an international product, a complex phenomenonthat should not be viewed asemerging from or existing within a purely Japanesecontext.Some critics argue, however, that anime’s popularityabroad should not necessarilybe celebrated. For instance, Darrel Hamamoto attributesanime’s overseas popularity toTsugata, Nihon animëshon no chikara,p. 21.79“Asiaphilia,” a kind of fetishism for Asia that is justanother side of “Asiaphobia.”6°Averification of this argument would require close investigationof who represents whoseidentity for what purpose, as well as examining how thingsare represented in anime, all ofwhich may contribute to understanding the contemporaryconstruction of the image ofJapan. While such an examination is beyond the scopeof this chapter, later chapters willcontribute to a verification of Hamamoto’s thesis.Hamamoto’s view of anime becomes compelling whenwe look at the discoursethat links anime to “Japaneseness,” closely tied to culturalnationalism, where positioninganime as a unique or “different” medium from animationcreates an image of Japan as apowerful “Other” to the Western world. This imageis eagerly promoted by the Japanesegovernment as a tactic to survive in a time of rampantglobalization, especially after the“bursting” of Japan’s bubble economy in the 1990s. Theuse of anime as a national policyhas become evident in the last five years, in governmentstrategy papers.61 One of themost representative cases is the launch of the TokyoInternational Anime Fair in 2002,chaired by Ishihara Shintarö, the governor of TokyoPrefecture. The executive committeeof the event remarked in The Japan Times that thisfair was “started to publicize Japan’sanimation to the rest of the world and promote the animation industryin Tokyo.”62Ishihara is introduced in the article as a ferocious nationalistwho stresses the superior60Darrel Hamamoto, “Introduction: On Asian American Film andCriticism,” in Countervisions: AsianAmerican Film Criticism, eds. Darrel Hamamoto and Sandra Liu(Philadelphia: Temple University Press,2000), p. 11.61Another governmental strategy for promoting anime as a nationalforce can be seen in the new EducationMinistry’s curriculum guidelines implemented in 2002. In the new guidelines, “visualmedia,” such asmanga and anime, was introduced as a new subject in arts for improving students’ability in the area ofvisual communication, which is seen as necessary for the purpose of “internationalization”(kokusaika), agoal 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 TheJapan Times, March 17,2006: Weekend Scene 1.80“essence” of Japan, and, combined with the executive’s commentabove, we get a glimpseof the government’s political intention to generate Japan’snational identity in relation toits “others.” Phenomena such as this highlight the closelink between anime and cultural,economic (trade revenue), and political (cultural nationalism)domains.Ishihara claims that “Japanese are inherently skilledat visual expression anddetailed work,” and suggests that anime can workto push “Japan to stand up to the UnitedStates and assert its intrinsic superiority,”63explicitly highlighting hisintention ofpositioning Japan in relation to the United States. Thus,while encouraging anime toappeal to a global audience, Ishihara’s view of”kokusaika”(internationalization)generates a polarization between Japan and the UnitedStates (the “West”), and assumesthat Japan is recognized and demarcated only in oppositionto, or based on recognition by,the United States. In this respect, anime as a cultural product contributesto Marilyn Ivy’sdescription of Japan’s “internationalization”—paradoxicallya nationalistic project—which aims at “domestication of the foreign and dissemination ofJapanese culturethroughout the world.”64In the meantime, this project is criticized by some who do not believe that thesuccess of anime abroad can be attributed to Japan’s powerfhl “authentic” traditions.Manga critics Otsuka Eiji and Osawa Nobuaki, finding it dangerous toview anime as areflection of “Japaneseness,” make the rather radical claimthat anime is a mere63Virginia Hefferman, “The Award for Best Satanic Rabbit Goes...,” in The NewYork Times, April 2, 2006:Television 1.64Marily Ivy, Discourses ofthe Vanishing: Modernity, Phantasm, Japan (Chicago:University of ChicagoPress, 1995),p.3. It should be noted, however, that the government’s policies on anime do not necessarilyagree with those of actual creators of this medium. For example, an article in TheNew York Times on 2006’sTokyo International Anime Fair mentions the attitude of anime creators,such as Sato Dai, who areindifferent to or critical of the government’s use of anime for Japan’s global expansion.(See HefTerman,“The Award for Best Satanic Rabbit Goes...”)81transformation or extension of Disney animation, andhas no real Japanese roots.65According to this perspective, it is not the Japaneseaesthetic values embedded in animethat have been appreciated by a global audience,but rather the American aesthetic valuesin them. Taking a different tack, animatorTakahata Isao repudiates the idea of anime ashaving purely Western origins, and insiststhat it has roots in twelfth-century Japanesepicture scrolls.66 Both observations arecompelling to a certain degree; however, theorigins of anime are too complex to attributeto a single source. As I will discuss further,all cultural forms are always already hybrid.(3) Anime as text: issues of representationIt is imperative, as mentioned above, to examine animeas a textual productcapable of representing ideologically different kindsof narratives: those that reinforcedominant ideologies (in a manner similar to the Disneynarratives mentioned above); andthose that subvert dominant ideologies. Potential subversivenesscan be observed in manyanime products, effected mainly through parodic or otherwise “twisted”representations ofgender/sex/sexuality, race, and nation. This is wherethis medium makes a great contrastto the ideologically “reassuring” tone of Hollywood or Disney conventions;as mentionedabove, Napier calls anime a medium of”de-assurance.”67As she further argues, anime isthe perfect vehicle to portray “the shifting nature ofidentity in a constantly changingsociety.”68 In other words, a significant number ofanime texts are equipped to potentially65Otsuka and Osawa,p.8, p. 176. Similarly, Iwabuchi argues that what other Asian recipient countriesexperience through Japanese products like anime is “a highly materialistic Japaneseversion of the Americanoriginal.” See Iwabuchi,p.35.Takahata Isao, Jüni-seiki no animëshon (Animation of the Twelfth Century)(Tokyo: Tokuma shoten,1999), p. 54.67Napier,p.33.68Napier,p.12.82destabilize the presumed concept of identity itself—especiallyin terms of the fixedcategorization of racial/ethnic/national, and gender/sexualidentities.2.2.3. Anime and the (re)articulation of nationaLlracialidentityAnimation in general, and anime in particular, has embodieda greater potential forportraying “alternative” identities than many othernations that produce animation, partlybecause of Japan’s post-colonial positionality.Cultural categorization becomes blurred in theanime space. Napier contends thatanime’s distinctiveness prevents it from being “subsumedinto global culture,”69but shealso stresses the existence of “non-Japanesque,”non-culturally specific features of animewhich typically appear in the science fiction genre. Animecharacterized by a lack ofcultural specificity is described by some critics withthe term “mukokuseki”(statelessness),7°which refers to the context-free spacecreated within some anime, and issometimes applied as well as to animators who seemunable to find national or etimicroots (furusato) for themselves. According to Napier,the stateless fantasy space of thistype ofanime provides viewers with an experience of “postethnicidentities.”7’Napier’ sconcept ofthe “statelessness” of anime is applied mainlyto the science fiction genre,because the setting of this genre is often in future cities thatare impossible to identify asany specific nation or culture. I would like to add another aspectto Napier’s “postethnic”69Napier, p.23.70Napier,p.24. Kusanagi Satoshi is another critic who has commentedon the “non-Japanesque” features ofsome anime, although he discusses primarily examples of Japanese animationsin the 1 960s (e.g. MadMonster Party (1967), Little Drummer Boy (1968)), which weresupposedly “co-productions” with anAmerican company (Rankin-Bass Production) but practically Japaneseanimation studios worked under theAmerican company’s control in the production process. See KusanagiSatoshi, America de nihon no animewa dOmiraretekitaka? (How has Japanese Anime been Seen inAmerica?) (Tokyo: Tokuma shoten),pp.90-97.71Napier,p.26.83nature of anime: culture boundary-crossing andhybridization of culture, which also makeit impossible for viewers—both Japanese and non-Japanese—tolocate the anime textwithin a specific culture or nation.72 That is, what makesanime stateless is also how“race” is represented. In this respect, anime (of thiskind) destabilizes the concept ofcultural identity itself, although, as discussed later, anime’sstatelessness also reveals adark side that can draw on the opposite effect—creatingan essentialist view of identity—through an Orientalist perspective.Napier’s vision of stateless anime also reminds us of Köichi Iwabuchi’sdescription of anime as a “culturally odorless” Japanese export, which thereforetravelswell, along with consumer electronics and computer games.I agree with Iwabuchi’s ideaof anime as “odorless,” containing minimal bodily andracial specificities of Japan, to theextent that many anime, especially visually, depict peoplewhose race/ethnicity is hard toidentify. However, it is questionable to apply this idea to allanime works withoutanalyzing messages pertaining to cultural identities in differentgenres of anime texts.While Iwabuchi’s study explicates the relationship between cultural globalizationandnational identity formation through media products, he neither elaborates whatconstitutesthe “cultural odor” of contemporary Japan, nor provides insights into themessagespotentially generated in actual anime texts. Since there are certainly manyanime thatpresent distinctively Japanese referents, it is crucial to examineactual texts in order todiscuss 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—aname that is a cultural reference that only makes sense to those who know Japanese culture, TsukinoUsagi—-and clearly goes to a Japanese high school, wearing a typical-looking uniform as wornby manyJapanese high school girls. But because she seems to have blond hair and generically Caucasianfeatures, sheis easily accepted outside Japan as being “white.” Many Western viewers are shocked whentold that she isJapanese and lives in Japan. At the same time, Japanese viewers are so accustomed to seeing characters whoare clearly meant to be Japanese depicted with blond or red or even green hair, and non-Asian facialfeatures,that they have no trouble accepting that Sailor Moon is Japanese despite her appearance.84Another reason for the need for close textual analyses is the fact that“statelessness” is more complicated than merely the absenceof ethnic/national boundaries.That is, while some aspects of “stateless” anime may offera “postethnic” experience, asNapier proposes, other aspects may simultaneously re-inscribe national/culturalboundaries. Ueno Toshiya and Oshii Mamoru stressthis side of the statelessness of anime,which they believe gives rise to a phenomenon knownas “techno-Orientalism”73—anotherway of Orientalizing or othering Japan. The term “techno-Orientalism”was initially usedby David Morley and Kevin Robins to explain that:[t]he association of technology and Japaneseness now serves to reinforce theimage of a culture that is cold, impersonal and machine-like, anauthoritarianculture lacking emotional connection to the rest of the world.74Oshii and Ueno apply this concept of “techno-Orientalism”to the reception of animeoutside Japan, arguing that a number of works in the science fiction genre,such as Akira,Ghost in the Shell; Innocence; and Evangelion, are understoodby non-Japanese viewers todepict Japan as a technological wonderland, or, more negatively, to depictJapanese peopleas emotionless Japanoid automata. Ghost in the Shell and Innocence, in particular,are notonly set in context-free futuristic cities, but also present mostof their characters ashumanoid or cyborg (for instance, scenes showing the expressionlessface 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 discourseThe concept of “techno-Orientalism” was introduced by David Morley and Kevin Robinsin Spaces ofIdentity (London & New York: Routledge, 1995),p.169. Ueno applies this concept mainly to anime. SeeToshiya Ueno, “Japanimation and Techno-Orientalism,” in The Uncanny: Experimentsin Cyborg Culture,ed. Bruce Grenville (Vancouver: Arsenal Pulp Press, 2002),pp.227-29.David Morley and Kevin Robins,p.169.85of techno-Orientalism actually serves to “other” Japan andthe Japanese, so that the Westmay 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 technoOrientalism operates as a mirror stage, wherein the West not only constructsa fantasizedJapan for its own purposes of self-definition, but the Japanesealso misunderstandthemselves and begin to believe in the fantasy.75 In other words, as in the caseof classic(Saidian) Orientalism, those produced as “Japanoid Other” in techno-Orientalistreadingsof 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 dramaticmodernization and technological development, is still caught in the Orientalistmirrorthrough both the Western Orientalization of Japan and Japan’s self-Orientalizationbasedon the Western definition. This should not be misunderstoodas an argument for theexistence of a “real” Japan, but rather indicates again that how the Japaneseidentifythemselves depends on the West’s perception of Japan.In opposition to the critics who see anime as creating a non-Japanese fantasyspaceare many others (discussed in detail below and in later chapters) who see animeasreflecting a distinctive Japaneseness, and the existence of the disagreementbetween thesetwo groups manifests Japan’s ambiguous and problematic national identity.Due to many and complex factors involved in cultural identity formation sketchedabove, it is necessary to unpack the mechanisms of the articulation of cultural identitiesthrough this medium. This is accomplished by close examination of specific ways thatnational/ethnic identity is represented in specific anime narrative texts. This isa large partof my focus in later chapters.75Ueno, “Japanimation and Techno-Orientalism,”p.229.862.2.4. The role of the “shUjo” in gender/sexual identityarticulation and its evolutionThe issue ofthe (mis)representation of gender, often linked with representationsofspecific nationalities or races/ethnicities, has been studiedconsiderably in the context ofDisney animation, but anime has not yet been analyzedmuch in this light.As introduced earlier in this chapter, the normative (mythologized) conceptsofgender/sex can be interestingly subverted through visual representations thatinvolvephysical metamorphoses, which are more easily and effectively accomplishedinanimation than in any other visual medium. Physical metamorphosis is takento the limitin the representation of characters’ bodies in anime suchas Ranma % (manga: 1987-1996;TV: 1987-1996; film: 1991). The protagonist in this narrative,a boy named Ranma, iscursed when he falls into a magical spring in China. Thereafter, wheneverhis body istouched by cold water he transforms into a female, and wheneverhis body is touched bywarm water, he turns back into a male. (His father, sufferingfrom a similar curse,changes into a panda bear when touched by cold water, and reverts to humanshape withwarm water.) Ranma’s constant transformations between maleand female are sometimesinadvertent and embarrassing, and sometimes intentional, as Ranma useshistransformative abilities to further his own ends, such as spyingon the girls in whom he isromantically interested. This anime poses a challenge to normative conceptsofsex/gender in a number of ways (while also reinscribing someaspects of those normativeconcepts). For one thing, Ranma is frequently made to realize the ways inwhich girls aretreated differently from boys solely because of social convention, ratherthan because ofcharacter or abilities. Viewers are therefore forced to consider the ramificationsof theirown embodiments in ways they might not otherwise have done, and to imaginewhat87alternative embodiments would be like. The target audience for (female manga artist)Takahashi Rumiko’s original Ranma 1/2 manga was young adolescents,from about eightto thirteen years old. Both in Japan and abroad, however, the anime versionof thisnarrative was particularly popular among boys, despite (or becauseof) the fact that itprovides ideological “de-assurance” rather than Disney-esque reassurance regarding thestability and normalcy of sex/gender identities and social roles.76There have been many popular Japanese manga and anime narratives that similarlychallenged the monolithic nature of sex and social/cultural gender through characters’bodies, such as Tezuka Osamu’s Ribon no kishi (Princess Knight, manga serialized in1954-1968; TV anime in 1967), discussed below, Yamauchi Naomi’s Za Chenji (TheChange, manga serialized from 1986), Sutoppu!! Hibari-kun (Stop!! Hibari, mangaserialized 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.77Another characteristic of gender representation in anime can be observed in a shiftin (re)presentations of the “shöjo” (literally, a young girl), corresponding to shifts in socialexpectations 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 culturalconstruct. It emerged in the early twentieth century along with the establishment of girls’boarding schools, magazines and other media targeted explicitly at girls, and other76scholar 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 liminalityseen for instance in the transgender theme of Ranma 1/2, see Napier, Animefrom Akira to Howl’s MovingCastle,p.13 andp.33.more information about the exact nature ofthe sex/gender subversion in each of these narratives, seeYukari Fujimoto, “Transgender: Female Hermaphrodites and Male Androgynies,” trans. Linda Flores andKazumi Nagaike in The US.-Japan Women Journal 27 (2004),pp.76-117.88innovations, almost all of which were for the purpose ofproducing “good wives and wisemothers” for the benefit of the state. In other words,the idea of”shöjo” was originallyconceptualized as part of a constellation of efforts to confinefemale sexuality and toemphasize the conservative gender demarcation between“feminine” and “masculine.”The “shöjo” culture created at that time reflected a newunderstanding ofthe typical lifestages for females, simultaneously recognizing and givingrise to “a period in life when afemale was neither naïve child nor sexually active woman.”78In contemporary society,“shöjo” symbolizes “a state of being that is socially unanchored,free of responsibility andself-absorbed—the opposite of the ideal Japanese adult.”79Thus, the term “shöjo” hasmutated over time to reflect current social expectations.Coupled with the dramatic growth of Japanese popular culture and consumerismsince the 1980s, the image of the “shojo” presented throughmedia representations hasbeen used to associate women with “emptiness,”80or to eroticizethem as the object ofmale sexual desire. This image of the “shöjo” symbolizesas an innocent, pure, butpassive and “toy-like being.”8’Such representations are constructed withinaphallocentric discourse, and feature images of “shOjo” whocannot speak for themselvesand make no claims to true subjectivity.78Sharalyn Orbaugh, “Shöjo,” in Encyclopedia ofContemporaryJapanese 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 ofShojo),eds. Honda Masuko et al. (Tokyo: Aoyumisha, 1991),P.109. For more on the development of the conceptof”shojo,” see Sharalyn Orbaugh, “Busty Battlin Babes: the Evolution ofthe Shojo in 1990s VisualCulture,” in Gender and Power in the Japanese Visual Field, eds. Norman Bryson, Maribeth GraybillandJoshua 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 inJapanese Popular Culture,” inContemporary Japan and Popular Culture, ed. John W. Treat (Honolulu: University ofHawai’i Press, 1996),p.301.81This phrase is used by Shibusawa Tatsuhiko, and which is quoted by lizawa KOtaro’s article,“Shashin,shöjo, korekushon” (Photos, ShOjo, Collection), in Shöjoron,pp.40-41.89Hence, the concept of the “shOjo” draws on the established notion of girlhoodinwhich she transitions into a woman who meets the patriarchalsocial expectation of “agood wife and wise mother”—a notion that continues to have force even today.Yet, atthe same time, postwar popular visual media such as mangaand anime play with theconcept of the “shöjo” through unusual visual and narrative representations,deconstructing the patriarchal perception of gender/sexual identity and providingresources for alternative identity articulation models. What follows sketchesout theevolution of one subversive stream of anime from the 1960s to the 1 990s, which usesdepictions of”shOjo” or “shöjo-ness” to gradually alter traditional gendermodels. Deeperdiscussions of the depictions of”shôjo” and their implications for the way girls (andboys)form a gender identity partly through their consumption ofpopular culture can be found inlater chapters.Anime intended specifically for girls, known as “shojo anime,” originated inthelate 1960s and 1970s. In its early years shöjo anime was created mostly bymen, anddespite some tinkering with traditional gender rules, it generally presented genderaccording 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 herkingdom, and has both a female and male “heart,” the narrative ends with the protagonistgiving up her male persona to enjoy happiness in the traditionalrole of wife and mother.From about the 1 980s, and especially as more women became active as writers ofthe manga on which many anime are based, the representation of the “shöjo” began tochange dramatically, playing a key role in the subversion of conventional concepts ofgender/sexual identity. This change is indicative of conscious attempts to deconstruct thepatriarchal, heteronormative discourse of gender/sex through popular visual texts.90(1) The 1960s and the 1970s: Carnival 1- the birthof female heroes82Educated, middle-class daughters of Japan’s upwardlymobile urbanfamilies initiated what many Japanese women describeas the “radical” or“revolutionary” phase of the women’s movement from1970 to 1977..women’s groups in this period analyzed the inadequacyof Marxistanalysis for feminist revolution, published critiques ofthe “myth ofmotherhood,” and published radical essays.83In 1966, the first girls’ anime, Mahötsukai Sally (Little WitchSally), debuted onJapanese TV. Until then, the protagonists in anime hadalways been male, and femaleviewers had no choice but to identify with the passive femalefigures who were alwayssecondary to the main narrative, or to identify withthe active male protagonists, if theywished to access power. In the 1960s and 70s, female heroesincreasingly appeared onscreen, especially in the form of magical girls—the aforementioned MahötsukaiSally,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— ‘-yShe is a charming princess riding on a magic broom.Sally Sally, Once she says a magic word, love and hope emergeSally Sally, little witch Sally (from the theme song of Little WitchSally in 1966,my translation)- ‘1u-UlW’-) Z)’) t)’- 7APrincess 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)82use the term “carnival,” borrowing Bakhtin’s concept, to signify the early hints of subversivenessshownby some female heroes.83Sharon Sievers, “Women in China, Japan, and Korea,” in Women in Asia: Restoring Womento History,eds. Barbara N. Ramusack and Sharon Sievers (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1999),p.230.91øt2Q)<;L1Lt 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 magicalkingdoms who, by order of their fathers, descend to the human world wherethey not onlylearn about magic but also gain maturity through human interactions in daily life. Whilethere are slight differences in the scenarios of Sally, Akko, and Meg, the magic that theprotagonists use in each is inherently or accidentally given, and they can solve problemswith their magic, just as simply as Sally’s theme song implies: “once shesays the magicwords, 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 eachtheme song.The image of “shOjo” represented by these girls still adheres to conventionalgender categorizations. In terms of both narrative and visual depictions, Sally, Akko, andMeg exhibit the epitome of traditional femininity, as quintessentially represented in the“Cinderella” story. For instance, all of them have big starry eyes and girlishly innocentvoices, and care about how they look to others. The depiction of Meg’s body, particularlyher breasts and frequently shown underwear, present her as a sexualizedobject. At thesame 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 hermagic. While this could be interpreted as a young woman proactively using male desire topromote her own goals, and therefore could be seen as (third-wave) feminist, it could just92as readily be argued that Meg is simply representative of the trend ofpresentingsexualized female bodies to be consumed by a male gaze—whether itis the gaze of thecreators, the characters on the screen, or the viewers.84 Moreover, withineach narrative,the father exists as the absolute authority who keeps the magical girlsunder control.Hence, the magical girls in this phase generally articulatea passive image of the “shöjo,”still constrained within the phallocentric code of sexualityand patriarchal social systems.(2) The 1980s: Carnival 2— the birth of androgynous female warriorsBy the 1980s, many universities and colleges in Japan were offeringcourses inWomen’s Studies, resulting in a boom in published academic researchon women aswell.85 At the same time, gender representation in anime underwenta significant changewith the emergence of the “flying shOjo heroes” found in many of thefilms of MiyazakiHayao. Miyazaki’s shojo heroes attest to the fact that girls can becomenot onlyprotagonists but also warriors who fight for justice on a large scale,and they do so withoutinherited magical power. This type of shöjo protagonist is exemplifiedby “princess”NausicaA in Miyazaki’s Nausicaä ofthe Valley ofthe Wind (manga serializedin 1982-1994, animated film in 1984) and “princess” San (in PrincessMononoke, 1997), with theiradeptness at piloting flying machines (in the case of the former)and ruthlessness in killingenemies (in both works). They signify a new image of “shojo” that embodiesconventional “masculine” attributes.84This view is taken from Christian Metz, The Imaginaty Signifier: Psychoanalysis andthe Cinema(Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1982). He identifies three sources which formthese looks incinema, which are mainly male’s: the instrument projecting the images (creators), thecharacters who shapepart of the imagery, and spectators who watch the images.85Mioko 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 AtsukoKameda (New York: The Feminist Press, 1995),pp.155-73.93Moreover, some critics see the way these femaleheroes are depicted as asexualand/or androgynous: their bodies are farfrom being depicted as objectsof sexual desire,86and their primary charm does not arise fromtheir “femininity,” unlikethe magical girls inthe previous phase. For example, Kiki(in Kiki ‘s Delivery Service)can be seen as a youngfemale figure who is free from “sexualdarkness”; Kiki’s power and her abilityto fly areacquired through perseverance and increasingself-confidence, and the notion of girls’power as magic that has to be hiddenis defamiliarized and demystified.I will discussMiyazaki’s depiction of shojo protagonistsat greater length in subsequent chapters.(3) The 1990s onward: Carnival 3— thepossibifity of sexual and heroic girlsThe long-legged teenager [Sailor Moon] is the firstfemale to become acartoon superhero in her own right--incontrast to .. .Supergirl or the femaleMorphin Rangers, who were copied from malestars. In Japan and all overthe world, women are assuming more and morepositions of power insociety. They don’t want to be discriminatedagainst as soft orgentle.. .Sailor Moon is a role model for that typeof girl.87Sailor Moon was very popular through the 1990sin both Japan and internationally.This is a story about a 14-year-old girl named TsukinoUsagi (literally Moon Rabbit;Serena in the English version); she is given magicaltools and power, with which shetransforms into the sailor-suited soldier called SailorMoon, to fight evil forces with threeother female “sailor scouts.” This anime, introducinga girls-only fighting team, illustratesgirls’ double longing to be desired andto become powerful, which is signifiedby the titleBishöjo Senshi Sailor Moon (Beautiful Girl SoldierSailor Moon). In the previous phase,Murase Hiromi, Feminizumu sabukaruchã hihyO sengen (FeminismSubculture Critic Manifesto) (Tokyo:Shunjyflsha, 2000),pp. 53-5887T.R. Reid, “Move Over, Morphins, Sailor Moon is Coming,”in Washington Post (July 22, 1995): A16. Itmust be acknowledged that there are a significant number of previousfemale superheroes in Japanesepopular culture.94princess NausicaA was able to become a warrior, butto do so she had to suppress hersexuality because a warrior cannot manifesta sexual body. That is, in NausicaA theassociation of masculinity with a heroic warrior andfemininity with a passive princess isstill maintained. In contrast, Sailor Moon challengesthe mutual exclusiveness betweenmasculinity and femininity, and posits a female characterwho can fight without giving upthe liberation of her (hetero)sexuality. Some viewersof Sailor Moon might argue that sheis still presented as an object of desire forthe heterosexual male gaze, especially given hersuggested/suggestive nakedness in the transformationsequences, and the frequent viewsof her underwear, and in fact, Sailor Moon figurinesand other “character goods” arepopular among male buyers in Japan. But other viewerswould no doubt argue that thefemale writer who created Sailor Moon, Takeuchi Naoko,intended to present a liberatedshöjo protagonist who can be both strongand have romantic/sexual love.Another radical change in gender representationcan be seen in Cardcaptor Sakura(TV anime: 1996-2000; animated film: 1998). Thisshow was created by a group of fourfemale animators who go by the name of CLAMP. Sakura,the show’s nine-year-old girlprotagonist, represents one aspect oftraditional “femininity”—signifiedby her romanticinterest in a high school boy as well as her “girlish”costumes. However, traditionalmodels of “femininity” are constantly mocked in this showthrough the characterization ofTomoyo, a friend of Sakura’s, who presents exaggeratedultra-feminine body movementsand over-polite speech.Cardcaptor Sakura features a more radical subversion ofthe “normative”gender/sexual representation through destabilizing the conventionalnotion of the femalebody as the object of male desire and the male gaze. Instead ofmale characters gazinglustfully at Sakura, it is Tomoyo who acts as if shewere a stalker, obsessed romantically95and erotically with Sakura she videotapes all ofSakura’s actions, and enjoys watchingSakura on-screen afterward. Tomoyo also takes pleasurein sewing Lolita-like fantasycostumes for Sakura, and watching Sakura putting themon. In this respect, Sakura isTomoyo’ s kisekae ningyo (dress-up doll)—the object ofdesire and the object of herconsuming gaze. Tomoyo’ s behavior overthrows theconvention of a male as the lookerand the female as the looked-at. This depiction of “shöjo”destabilizes the typical male-dominant power dynamic and problematizes the mechanismof heteronormativity.88Sailor Moon and Sakura embody the idea that female sexualitydoes not have to berepressed or imposed by males. Differently put, the “shöjo”as represented by thesefemale heroes provides an alternative for female identity,an alternative that does notrequire girls to identify with passivity. They represent “femininities” insteadof“femininity,” and play a significant role in female empowermentby undermining someaspects of the hegemonic concept of gender and sexuality.Princess Mononoke: a wild princessAs discussed above, the notion of “princess” gradually changed after the 1970s,and Princess Mononoke (1997) furthers changes into what I calla “wild princess,” a termthat sounds like an oxymoron. In this film, the protagonistSan—a “princess” raised by awolf—completely contradicts the traditional (Disneyesque) notion of “princess,”andinstead provides a new model of”shOjo-ness,” a girl who can become violentand eventurn against others jumping from rooftop to rooftop carrying a dagger intendedfor herarchenemy. Another challenge to a typical “princess story” is that the evident love88In addition, the unconventionality of this show is further highlighted by the fact that it is broadcastbyNHK, which is otherwise known as the most conservative national TV station in terms of programmingcontent.96between San and the male co-protagonist Ashitakadoes not result in their marriage in theend; the usual “happily ever after” Disney ending. Instead,the two go off to live inseparate worids—Ashitaka in the world of humans andSan in the world of the forest.Chapter 5 further discusses the way gender is interestinglyrepresented in this anime.Bubble2um Crisis Tokyo 2040: female heroes in mecha-suitsIn Bubblegum Crisis Tokyo 2040 (TV anime in 1998-1999,directed by HayashiHiroki), female characters occupy positionsof power. What is novel about this anime isthat the female heroes wear mecha-suits, conventionallyconsidered symbols of“masculinity” in earlier anime.89 While the female characters inthe show are older thanthe “shöjo” introduced above, this new modelof female heroes also contributed to asignificant change in female representation in animefrom the 1 990s and onward. Thisscience fiction subgenre, characterized by femalesin robotic suits, became markedlypopular in this phase in examples such as NeonGenesis Evangelion (manga serializedfrom 1994 by Sadamoto Yoshiyuki, TV anime in 1995by Gainax) and Appleseed (mangaseries in 1985 by Masamune Shiro, the film in 2004directed by Aramaki Shinji). Just asin the case of Sailor Moon, it is still open to debate whetherthe female depictions inBubblegum indicate women’s empowerment or disempowerment,considering that themecha-suits and other aspects of their depiction accentuate theirbody lines, and thereforethey may act as a sexualizing spectacle for males. Nonetheless,it is safe to say that89Mecha-suits, typically appearing in SF and cyborg genres of anime,are human-shaped powered armorsuits, which were pioneered by the Gundam series in I 970s where human pilots(typically men) in a hugerobot fights interstellar battles. These suits are usually worn as vehicles or weaponsby the protagonists tofight battles. In Bubblegum Crisis Tokyo 2040, unlike a robot-typeseen in Gundam, mecha-suits are fitting,and worn by female protagonists. See Napier, A nimefrom Akira,p. xv, and Ueno Toshiya, Kurenai nometarusutsu (Matalsuits, the Red: Wars in Animation) (Tokyo: Kinokuniyashoten, 1998),p15 and p. 125.97female heroes in this subgenre shed light on the possibility of conceptualizingwomen asbeing as powerful and technologically savvy as men.2.3. Anime as an “Other(’s)” Cultural FormAs discussed above, animation is by nature a subversive medium of expressionthatpotentially aids in questioning essentialist identity categorizations maintained in thedominant discourse of the West. Nonetheless, white phallogocentric myths sustainedbythe powerful Disney Empire and others without doubt consistently prevail amonga globalaudience.Based on the observations in this chapter, the elements that make anime distinctfrom animation do not lie simply in style: anime’s increasing global popularity arisesalsofrom its unraveling of time-honored archetypal Western conventions of animationaesthetics, particularly in terms of gender and national representations. I examinespecificaspects of gender and national representation in later chapters, in the context of specificanime texts. Also important is the fact that anime, allegedly a hybrid of Western andJapanese (or other Asian) media forms, has become recognizedas a mature cultural formin its own right, and as a medium “other” to its American counterpart, despite somesimilarities between them. As a cultural form that is produced in Japan, a countryconsidered an “Other” by and to the West, anime also plays a key role in challengingthestill persistent American cultural hegemony that reigns in global popular culture, inbotheconomic and ideological terms.98Chapter 3: Miyazaki Hayao’s Philosophy of Animation AestheticsMy view ofanime is an imaginary space that can be achievedonly by thismedium, not by comics, children ‘s literature, or live-actionfilm.’—Miyazaki HayaoWhile acknowledging that the meanings of media textsare bound to the sociocultural discourse of their time and place of production, it is unrealisticto study film textsas completely independent of creators (and others involvedin the creative process),because directors such as Walt Disney (and his successors) and MiyazakiHayao havesignificant control as auteurs throughout the creative production.Thus, if a directorproduces a body oftexts that display a consistent style and a consistent set of themes,it isreasonable to assume that those texts reflect something aboutthe director’s (auteur’s)woridview, which is in turn rooted in his or her experiences andbeliefs from childhood on.This emphasizes the director’s agency, but does not deny theagency of the viewers.Nonetheless, my study looks at animated narratives by auteurs, which,allowing a certainlevel of viewer activation, demonstrate their producers’ creativity and intentions moreexplicitly than “a viewer-based creativity.”2Without resorting completely to an auteur study of Miyazaki, in this chapterI willdiscuss his formal and narrative style, as well as the philosophicalinfluences that underpinthat style, in order to give a context to the textual analysis of the followingchapters.3‘Miyazaki, Shuppatsuten (Starting Point) (Tokyo: Studio Ghibli, 1996),pp.42-44. My translation.2Torben Grodal, “Agency in Film, Filmmaking, and Reception,” in Visual Authorship: Creativity andIntentionality in Media, eds. Torben Grodal, Bente Larsen, Ibsen Throving Laursen (Copenhagen: MuseumTusculanum Press, 2004), p. 23.The term “auteur” means “author.” Auteur studies, focusing on the creator of a film rather than otheraspects of its production, distribution, or narrative content, was popular among film scholars in the 1960s,and continues to be an important stream of cinema criticism. One ofthe key concepts ofthis theory relevantto my research is that a director’s film reflects his or her creative vision.99Miyazaki is famous for involving himselfin every step of the production processtocommand control over the vision, workingas a story-writer, animator, director,andproducer for many of his works, as wellas other films made by other directors undertheStudio Ghibli banner.Miyazaki has often been called the Walt Disneyof Japan by film critics, and bothdirectors can be classified as globally-recognizedauteurs, yet Miyazaki’s approachtofantasy and his woridview are significantlydifferent from Disney’s.4Miyazakioccupiesan interesting position in the history ofboth animation and anime, notonly because heintroduced new aesthetics of animationthat differs from both Disney and fromotherglobally exported Japanese anime, butalso because his works have given rise toaperception of animation as a mature art form, bothdomestically and internationally.Having received the Golden Bear Award at the BerlinInternational Film Festival in 2002,and the award for Best Animated Featureat the75thAcademy Awards in 2003, MiyazakiHayao’s Sen to Chihiro no kamikakushi (Spirited Away,released 2001 in Japan, 2002 inthe U.S.) brought anime to a new level of respectabilityinternationally. In the U.S., thetotal box office gross of SpiritedAway topped$10,055,000. Also, according to theInternet Movie Database (IMDB), this anime is rankednumber 54 among the top filmsfrom all over the world, and number one in the animatedfilm category.5This chapter is concerned with Miyazaki’sphilosophy of animation and hisworldview, as demonstrated in his work, his interviews,and inferred from informationabout his background. It particularly focuseson his conscious self-positioning in4Although Walt Disney died in 1966, his legacy has been carriedon up to the present by The Walt DisneyCompany, including Walt Disney Pictures, which makes the animatedfilms for which Disney is mostfamous.The IMDB keeps a listing of the top rated 250 films, basedon ratings by the registered users of the websiteusing the methods described there. Over 1300 theatrically releasedfilms are considered.100opposition to Disney and also to other types ofanime. A comparison of the approachestaken by Miyazaki and Disney not only identifiessome distinctive characteristics ofMiyazaki’s anime, but may also reflects his view ofJapan in relation to its “others,” bothWestern and Asian.3.1. The Foundation of Miyazaki’sFantasyIt is fascinating to speculate about how muchMiyazaki’s personal background iswoven into his narratives, ranging from his experienceof the war to his vision ofglobalization. He was born in Tokyo in 1941,in the middle of what the Japanesecall theFifteen-Year War (from 1931, with Japan’s invasionof China, to 1945, the end of WorldWar II). Between 1944 and 1946, the Miyazakifamily took refuge in Tochigi Prefecture,which kept his family from becoming victims ofthe relentless bombings of Tokyo.6Whatseems to have influenced his view of technology mostis the fact that Hayao’s father,Miyazaki Katsuji, was the director of Miyazaki AirplaneCompany, which made ruddersfor the Zero fighter planes used by the Japanese troops,including the suicide corps(“kamikaze”), during the Second World War. It is nottoo farfetched to speculate thatcoming to terms with the sense of guilt over his family’sactive involvement in the war ledto the filmmaker positioning himself as a pacifist. Hearticulates his perception of the warthrough his anime characters, such as the mentallystruggling ex-soldier in Kurenai nobuta (Porco Rosso, 1992), and through his unorthodoxrepresentation of weapons of warin Nausicaa ofthe Valley ofthe Wind (Kaze no tani noNausicaa, 1984) and the6By the end of World War Two, Tokyo had lost over 65% of its residentialbuildings to fires caused byincendiary bombs. In one night alone, March 9-10, 1945, over 2000tons of incendiaries were dropped on thecity, leaving at least 80,000 people dead and untold numbers homeless. Overthe course of the warapproximately one million Japanese civilians were killed, a largepercentage 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” messagein Mononoke hime (PrincessMononoke, 1997). These examples willbe illustrated in greater detail in later chapters.From 1947 to 1955, during his elementary schooldays, Miyazaki’s mother wassick in bed with spinal tuberculosis. The experienceof his mother’s sickness and herabsence is to some extent integrated into Tonari no Totoro(My Neighbour Totoro, 1988).Set in the countryside (Saitama Prefecture, where Miyazakilived after getting married) in1950s Japan, this is a story of two sisterswho find a way to grow up without theirailingmother, and experience a fantastic encounterwith nature. These girls may embodyMiyazaki’s own childhood experiences and feelings,as well as his own early adult life inSaitama.Miyazaki’s interest in the world of animationand children’s media started in thelate 1950s, when he was a senior highschool student. He saw Japan’s first feature-lengthcolor anime, Hakujaden (The Legend oftheWhite Serpent) (1958) directed by YabushitaTaiji for Toei Doga,7and through it he became fascinatedwith the power of animation.And it was when he watched the Russian animatedfilm Snow Queen (1957) that he finallydecided to dedicate his life to animation.8At GakushUinUniversity, he joined thechildren’s literature research club.9 He graduated fromthe university with degrees inpolitical science and economics, and then started workingat Töei Animation in 1963.Soon after joining Töei, Miyazaki led demonstratinganimators in a union dispute, and thefollowing year he became the Chief Secretary of thecompany’s labor union. These events7Hakujaden is a story of romance between a girl, whois an incarnation of a white snake, and a youngboywho helped her in the past. It presents the strength of their love,which overcomes any obstacles orinterference put in their path. Miyazaki fell in love with the heroinefor her dedicated passion to her lovedone. See Miyazaki, Shuppatsuten,p.100.8Though acknowledging that the story ofSnow Queen itself wasquite ordinary (the lonely and powerfulSnow 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’ passionthat came through in the drawings.Many clubs at Japanese universities are very serious and requirelarge commitments of time and effort.102both reflected and furthered his political conscience.(His generally critical view ofmaterialistic capitalism is explicitly demonstratedin the themes of some of hisfilms, suchas Spirited Away.) In the following year, hehelped the production team on Taiyö noojiHorusu no daiböken (The Adventures of Prince ofthe Sun Horusu) (1968).Around this time, Miyazaki married OtaAkemi, who was working as a keyanimator on The Adventures ofPrinceofthe Sun Horusu. Their first son, Gorö,was bornin 1967,’° and in the following year, theMiyazakis moved to Saitama,a neighbouringprefecture of Tokyo.In 1971 Miyazaki left Töei Animation and joinedTakahata Isao (his future partnerat Ghibli Studio) and Otabe Yoichi at A-Production.Seven years later, Lupin III: TheCastle ofthe Cagliostro (Lupan: kariostorono shiro) the first anime Miyazaki directed,debuted on television, and was made intoa theatrical feature in the followingyear. In1983, Nausicaä ofthe Valley ofthe Windwas released. More than any of his previousworks, Nausicaa launched him as an animatoron the world stage.The year 1985 was critical for Miyazaki in achievinghis current status as ananimator and a director. Studio Ghibliwas established with funds from TokumaShoten,the publishing company that released the mangaversion of Nausicaa ofthe Valley oftheWind (also by Miyazaki).” From this year onward,Miyazaki started traveling to Europeas well as within Japan in order to gather inspirationfor his later works. He tooka trip toWales, for example, to prepare him to make the studio’sfirst film, Laputa: Castle in the10Miyazaki Gorô is the director of the animated film, Gedo Senki(Tales of Earthsea) (2006) by StudioGhibli.Suzuki Toshio, the manager of Tokuma Shoten, Takahata Isao, andMiyazald are the directors of GhubliStudio. Miyazaki chose the name “Ghibli,” which in Italian hastwo meanings: a wind blowing from theSahara; and the name of a model of Italian airplane that was usedduring World War II. According to Suzuki,the name signifies Miyazaki’s determination: “Let’s blow a sensationalwind through the Japanese animationworld.” (Margaret Talbot, “The Auteur ofAnime: A Visit withthe Elusive Genius Hayao Miyazald,” in TheNew Yorker, January 17, 2005,p.72.).103Sky (Tenkã no shiro Laputa, 1986), whichwas seen by about 775,000 viewersin its firstyear alone.’2 The studio produced twofeature-length anime releases in 1988:MyNeighbour Totoro and Grave ofthe Fireflies(Hotaru no haka). Although the studio’sthree directors (Miyazaki, Takahata, Suzuki)and others were reluctant to embrace the ideaof selling ancillary merchandise along withthe anime release, in reality, product spin-offsof Ghibli’s anime, especially from Totoro,brought in a significant amount of revenueforthe studio and helped to cover productioncosts.’3In 1989, Miyazaki’s Studio Ghibli releasedKiki ‘s Delivery Service (Majonotakyabin), which became the number onebox office attraction among Japanese filmsreleased that year. This not only brought ina significant amount of revenue to financethestudio’s next anime production, but also allowed thestudio to expand and help with moretechnologically sophisticated production of animation,including digital techniques.3.2. Miyazaki’s Aesthetics (1): whatis anime to him?Miyazaki describes the function of anime as “fillingin our sense of emptiness” or“substituting for what is lost” in our life.’4One couldconclude that this outlook is theresult of witnessing Japan’s dramatic growthinto a materially affluent nation after itsdefeat in the war. What Miyazaki considersto have been lost includes humans’attachment to nature, sensitivity to the minutiaof everyday life, and a willingnesstounderstand the world around us. For this reason, Miyazakidoes not appreciate the recentforays into virtual reality or video games that simplycreate an alternate reality to makethe12Dani Cavallaro, The Anime Art ofHayao Miyazaki (Jefferson: McFarland& Company, 2006),p41.13Ibid. Also, see Miyazaki, Shuppatsuten,p. 78.14Miyi, Shuppatsuten,pp.42-44. My translation.104audience oblivious to issues in the real world.’5 InPrincess Mononoke, for instance, hearticulates this vision through words spoken by the oldshaman in the village: “kumorinakime de misadameru naraba, aruiwa sono noroi wo tatsumichi ga mitsukaru kamoshiren”(If you look hard at the world with unclouded eyes,you might be able to lift the curse thatis upon you [or you will find a way out of the problem]).This is the way in whichMiyazaki hopes to encourage his audienceto approach problems in the world—with eyes“unclouded” by fear or illusion.As stated in the quote at the beginning ofthis chapter,to Miyazaki, anime is adrama through which he communicates his woridview.In doing so, instead of reducinganimation to simplistic and sanitized children’s entertainment,which, according toMiyazaki, Disney does,16 he attempts to presentcomplex matters in a comprehensiblemanner. This is because, to him, “childhood” shouldnot be a time when children aresimply protected, but it should instead be a time whenthey are exposed to reality, so thatthey will be able to take on the challenges thatawait them later in life. This idea mayoriginate in his own childhood, which had its share ofstruggles (such as his family’sinvolvement in the war, and the absence of his motherdue to illness).Animated fantasy for children: the concept of“childhood”While some say that Miyazaki’s anime is not for childrenbecause of itscomplexity and depth, Miyazaki consistently stressesthat his target audience is ten-year-old children, because that is the age when childrenstart 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: ThreeJapanese Directors), eds. SaitO Makoto, Ikeno Jakkyu, and Takebayashi Shoko(Tokyo: Rockin’ On, 1993),p. 132-33.105world to be.17 In fact, many of his works are coming-of-age stories. Inthis respect,Miyazaki’s work resembles much of Disney’s: they are both primarilytargeting childviewers. However, there is a significant difference between the twoin terms of theirconceptualization of “childhood,” which surfaces through their narrativesand imagisticrepresentations.Since his encounter with Hakujaden in childhood, Miyazaki has nevertakenpopular media lightly. Instead, he contends that the role of popular mediasuch as animeshould be:to make it possible for the audience to get energy to go through reality,byletting them release repression from their daily livesand offering them aspace where they can discover aspirations, innocence, and self-assuranceinside themselves.18The concept of “childhood” to Miyazaki is not associatedso much with protection as withenergy for survival: children’s media does not necessarily requiredumbing down the textto appeal to the masses. Rather than simplifying and sanitizing the text,he attempts tocreate a fictional sphere anchored in reality, which is filled with the messinessandambiguity of human nature. This fantasy is meant to encouragechildren to live up tochallenges without falling into simplistic nihilism or escapism, despitethe bleakness ofsome aspects of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.The term “innocence” in the above quote, however, reminds us of the world ofDisney. While these two studios offer a different fantasy experienceto viewers, they both17In his book, Miyazaki states that even if he even if he were to change his target audience,his focus isalways on children. See Shuppatsuten,p.123. Also, he says that he has no intention of making animation foradult audiences, in the interview with Rockin’ On Inc. (See. Kurosawa Akira MiyazakiHayao, KitanoTakeshi: Nihon no san ‘nm no enshutsuka,p.116.)‘Miyazaki, Shuppatsuten,p.102. My translation.106attempt to bring back a sense of “innocence” that seems to havebeen lost, and which themedium of animation can more effectively manifest than other media.This suggests that,whether animation is used as a means of escapism or as an energysource for facing reality,“innocence” or the willingness to accept things is an elementthat both studios value inchildhood (and for life).Miyazaki’s message above is often explicit in his narratives, andis verballyarticulated on the promotional poster of Princess Mononoke, reading: (Live!).”Miyazaki’s fantasy attempts to maintain a realism that dealswith what it is to live—fearand 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 yourchildren.’ I drew Princess Mononoke with her mouth coveredin blood. It iswrong to interpret blood as a representation of terror, because bloodis aproof of life...’9In addition, the following remark encapsulates his view offantasy for children,questioning the escapist view of fantasy:It is no use expressing groundless hope in films—having themassure abright future. Yet this does not mean that life is not worth struggling for.Some films tend to construct “hope” in order to mask reality, especiallywhen society is depressed... I would never think that films should alwaysprovide hope for the audience.2°Miyazaki’s approach to children’s media intends not only to inspire his audience toface a brutal reality, but also to make them realize their potential and help them release it19Miyazaki 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 originallyincluded 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) Mytranslation.107through the power of fantasy. Thus, forexample, Miyazaki does not see death and bloodas offensive to his audience, because his educationalpoint is to teach children of the painand struggle which they will need to overcomein life, This view of “childhood” is alsosupported by Japanese clinician Yamanaka Yasuhiro,who acclaims Miyazaki’s SpiritedAway as a source that may return energyback to today’s children, who lack energyandambition, he claims, because they have beenoverprotected from the reality of unpleasantand complicated issues such as life anddeath.2’Based on his philosophy of “realistic” fantasy, Miyazakidoes not producenarratives that produce a predictable happy ending, butinstead develops a protagonist whohas to cope with reality, which “will be filled with eczemaor AIDS patients, with theworld population exploding. In this environment,we still have to go on,” because“ouronly choice is to keep living while making thesame mistakes over and over.”22From all these aspects it can be seen that Miyazaki’sconceptualization of“childhood” contrasts with the understandingof the term commonly embraced incontemporary North America—a phase of life thatneeds to be sheltered from the darkside of reality—which is manifested and maintainedparticularly through Walt Disney’slegacy of fantasy. Positioning himself explicitly in oppositionto Disney, Miyazakistresses this contrast:Media products should have mass appeal but, simultaneously,they shouldintellectually stimulate the audience. I dislike Disneyanimation, becausethe audiences leave a Disney fantasy in the same conditionas when theyentered it. This is an insult to the audience.2321Yamanaka Yasuhiro, Han to chihiro sedai no kodomotachi (Childrenof the Generation of Hariy andChihfro) (Tokyo: Asahi Shuppan, 2002),PP.3740Miyazaki, Shuppatsuten,p.364, and p. 519.23Miyazaki, Shuppatsuten,p.102. My translation.108Elsewhere, Miyazaki expresses the same frustration towardthe “fake” quality ofhumanism that is seen in “Disney-esque” animation.He similarly criticizes TezukaOsamu, the so-called “Father of Japanese manga,” forhis often-expressed admiration ofDisney’s humanism. Miyazaki sees Tezuka’s enthusiasmfor Disney as advocating“Eurocentric” values, and as revealing Tezuka’s senseof inferiority toward Disney and“the West.”24Another characteristic of Miyazaki distinctive fromWalt Disney is his emphasis oncreating a fantasy that is not much “bigger” than everydaylife—a fantasy (re)discoveredin the “everyday-ness” of daily life, whichhe aims for through his characters andnarratives. He explicates this philosophy as follows:I think that even the most trivial everyday experiences, or..., the things wetouch or what we feel, become important parts of ouressential selves. Asthe layers of fallen leaves enrich the soil when they losetheir shape, theaccumulated layers of memories that we gain throughexperience must beenriching the essential parts of ourselves. In other words,I think that iswhat “imagination” is about.25The everyday nature of Miyazaki’s fantasy effectivelybridges the gap between reality andthe imaginary, creating a fantasy that is neither much largerthan life itself nor completelyseparated from reality.It is also important to point out that, given the globalchanges happening within ourmodem material civilization, Miyazaki identifies other Asian countriessuch as SouthKorea, North Korea, and China, as inevitable followersof Japan in terms of modernization;24See Kurosawa Akira, Miyazaki Hayao, Kitano Takeshi, p. 132. This does not meanthat Miyazaki rejectsall 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, Kazeno kaeru basho, p. 46, p. 80,p. 334.25Miyazaki Hayao, “A Message from the Managing Director,” in Ghibli Museum, MitakaCatalog (Tokyo:Tokuma Memorial Cultural Foundation for Animation, 2004),pp.246-47. No translator listed.109he says that they all are bound to encounter the sameproblems that Japan has faced andstruggled with. One may argue that Miyazaki thus bravelyreveals and problematizes thereality of modernization for young viewers in Japanand in other Asian countries, yet,simultaneously, his comment can be also interpretedas his nationalistic, Orientalist viewof these “other” Asian countries as Japan’s “followers.”The significance of Miyazaki’s female charactersAn almost exclusive use of “shöjo” protagonists is one ofthe characteristics ofMiyazaki’s work. He comments in an interview thatgirls are more suitable than boys todraw out human emotions, because of the assumptionthat the former express them morestraightforwardly than the latter, and he adds that boyprotagonists would be too realisticand too painful for him to deal with.26 I will examineMiyazaki’s (mis)use of “shöjo” bylooking at specific works in later chapters to see howhis “shojo” perform in relation to theconcepts of gender and national identity; this sectionwill provide a brief overview of thefunctions of the “shöjo” and other female characters inMiyazaki’s works.As explained in Chapter 2, the concept of the “shOjo” arose inmodernizing Japanas part of a constellation of policies and discourses intended to confinefemale sexualityand to maintain the gender demarcation between “feminine”and “masculine.” From thetime of its origins to the present, the concept “shöjo” hasbeen used in a variety of ways bymany different artists, politicians, cultural critics, andothers, to signify various (usuallynegative) aspects of Japanese femininity. Discussing thesignification of”shöjo” inJapanese popular culture in the 1990s, Sharalyn Orbaugh listsexamples of the ways thatthe “shöjo” has been used to stand in for the Japanese national subjectin the work of26Miyki Shuppatsuten,p.505.110cultural critics and politicians in particular.27 In the1970s, 80s, and 90s, “shöjo” has beenused to signify everything from utter passivityto sexual excess; from the most useless andparasitical of national subjects to the freest, mostliberated of post-modem subjectivities;and so on.Examining the depictions of”shöjo” in manga andanime from the 1960s to the1990s, Orbaugh emphasizes the emergence ofa new type of female protagonist: a “battlin’babe” who exhibits traits that are a hybrid of elements traditionallyassociated with “shojoand elements traditionally associated with “shönen”(boys and young men).28 It issuggested that, taking in Orbaugh’s argument, manyof Miyazaki’s protagonists fit thedefinition ofthe “battlin’ babe.”Similarly, Susan Napier stresses the liberating aspect of Miyazaki’s“shöjo”protagonists—she views them as a vehicle foran implicit cultural resistance to Disney (ordominant Western) aesthetics and to some Japanese traditionsin the realm of gender andnational identity articulations.29 Napier argues thatby depicting a “shöjo” that is detachedfrom such typical associations as “femininity” and “purity,” Miyazakidefamiliarizes themythologized image of Japanese women “as long-sufferingand supportive,”30andproblematizes the existing concept of gender itself. Napier alsopoints out that Miyazaki’sfrequent depiction of “flying girls” (as in Nausicaa and Kiki‘s Delivery Service, for27Orbau “Busty Battlin’ Babes,”p298. The use of (young) women to signify the national subject isnotunique to Japan. As Anne McClintock has observed, women are “typicallyconstructed as the symbolicbearers of the nation but are denied any direct relationto national agency.” Anne McClintock, “No Longerin a Future Heaven,” in Dangerous Liaisons: Gende,, Nation, and PostcotonialPerspectives, eds. AnneMcClintock, Aamir Mufti, and Ella Shohat (Minneapolis: Universityof Minnesota Press: 1997),p.9028Orbaugh, “Busty Battlin’ Babes,”pp.295-310.29Napierp.33. For more on the cultural role of the “shOjo” in Japanese society,see Napier,p.118, as wellas Chapter 2 on “shojo.”30Napier,p.177.111example) also reveals his intention to exhibit empoweredwomen, through the associationof flying with liberation.Further, Miyazaki’s imagined worlds are generallygoverned or controlled byfemale characters (e.g. Lady Eboshi, who runs the ironvillage in Princess Mononoke; thekingdom ruled by Kushana in Nausicaa; Yubaba, whoruns the batlthouse in SpiritedAway; and Osono, a powerful lady who runs a housein Kiki, etc.). Male characters areoften supporting figures who have less visibility orare depicted as infantile. In this sense,Miyazaki, too, like the cultural critics, artists and politiciansquoted in Orbaugh’ s article,is using the figure of the girl/woman to represent Japanese societymore generally. It istherefore crucial to examine the specific uses hemakes of this symbolic figure.According to Napier, Miyazaki’s “shOjo” representsan active, assertive, andindependent female, who embraces both “masculinity”and “femininity.”3’Hisnarrativization of female protagonists as warriors—demonstratedby NausicaA’s and San’sviolent behavior—challenges the classic ultra-feminineimage of girls, and destabilizes thefeminine-masculine dichotomy. Thus, Napier acclaimsMiyazaki’s work for its genderfluidity. In this respect, Miyazaki’s protagonists drawon the Jungian idea that anyindividual carries both feminine and masculine principles,rather than thinking of them asmutually exclusive.Thomas Lamarre understands Miyazaki as playingwith the notion of “shöjo” in asimilar, but slightly different way. He argues that Miyazakidoes not necessarily abolishgender demarcation, but instead creates a space where bothboys and girls can existautonomously without one subordinating the other.32 This viewsuggests a new31Ibid.32Lamarre, p. 351.112visualization of gender identity, which problematizes the myth of “femininity”that hasbeen closely associated with Japan (and other modem nations as well, of course). Despitesome differences, both Napier and Lamarre agree on the potential destabilizationofconventional gender and sexual dynamics through Miyazaki’s fantasies.One may also identify that this destabilization of the dichotomy is not realized onlyby “shöjo,” but also by representations of different types of (older) females in Miyazaki’swork. Conventionally, women are associated with nature, and men withculture/civilization/technology, but Miya.zaki often represents both features withinwomen.For instance, Kushana (Nausicaa), Eboshi (Mononoke), and Mosley (Mirai shonenKonan[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 closeto nature.Female characters are thus used to embody various roles in Miyazaki’s work, and whilesome are more central than others, all have both good and bad elements; they arecomplexly 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 thestereotypical “shOjo” characters of anime since the 1 960s (with huge starryeyes,disproportionately tiny waists, and long, slim legs), who are often entrapped in Cinderella-type narratives, Miyazaki’s protagonists seize the power to combat representation ofJapanese 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, andMulan) 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 romanticrelationship with them. See http://disney.go.com/princess/htmllmainiframe.html.113“shôjo” protagonists functions as a potential tool tochallenge the dominant Westernideologies about “femininity” in contemporary society.Yet, Orbaugh also complicates representation of femalewarriors, by concludingher discussion of the battling female protagonists inthe 1990s manga/anime with theunsettling observation that a “shöjo” can have poweronly as long as she remains avirgin.34 In other words, female charactersare only depicted as being strong and capableas long as they do not take claim adult sexuality—a verymisogynistic representation ofwomen. Most of Miyazaki’s “shojo” characters fitthis description of virgin—strong onlybecause they are dissociated from any sign of sex,35 andthis can be interpreted asMiyazaki’s choice, inevitably resulting in depriving olderwomen or mothers of an accessto power.Nonetheless, it is fair to say that Miyazaki’s“shojo” transgress the conventionalgender boundaries to the extent that they act as aggressivewarriors—traditionally a“masculine” attribute. Accordingly, male-female relationsin his films becomeunpredictable. In this sense, his narratives are “de-assuring,”and deploy a carnivalesquemode (in the Bakhtinian sense).36 Romantic relationshipsin his films are also notnecessarily consummated with marriage or pledges ofmarriage. In Princess Mononoke,for example, Ashitaka and San decide in the end to liveseparately, each in his/her ownworld. For all these reasons, I would argue that Miyazaki’s“fictional truth” generallyrevolves around progressive, yet credible characters.37See 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 hisfilms still have a romance between the female protagonist and one ofthe male characters—in other words,love/romance is still considered a crucial plot element for a narrativethat features a girl or girls. And all theromances are totally heteronormative. This aspect does not have to undermine everythingI have argued, but114Miyazaki’s philosophy of anime fantasy the GhibliMuseumJ1i’-U i (Let’s Lose Our Way, Together.)—excerpt from a Ghibli Museum pamphletMiyazaki’s fantasy narratives are also associatedwith fear or feelings of theuncanny, as well as a sense of ambiguity—allof which evoke curiosity rather than simpleclosure, the possibility of multiple interpretations andresponses. This is unlike Disney’snarrative philosophy, where a policy was implementedin 1933 to discourage any elementscontributing to the possibility of multiple interpretations.38The result is the promotion ofnarratives ruled by predetermined consequences thatleave no room for the viewer’simagination to operate. Disney’s unambiguousnarrative is replicated in Disney’s themeparks, where visitors are guided from one point toanother, so that at the end of the visitthey establish a singular narrative which is arrangedby Disney’s “imagineers.”39 Thefollowing 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 ofenchantment, the age of chivafry, magic, and make-believeare reborn, andfairy tales come true. Fantasyland is dedicatedto the young at heart, toit suggests that even Miyazaki is limited in his progressive-ness,and is still bound to some socialconventions.38Robe Skiar, Movie-Made America: A Cultural HistoryofAmerican Movies (New York: Vintage Books,1994),p.204.39Regarding the linearity of Disney theme parks, David Johnson explains thatto make sure that the visitorsare provided with a single interpretive context for the images that contain elementsof the historical,economic and social background of America, “the Disney peopleadd conventional plots to inherentlyplotless materials.” See Johnson, “Disney World as Structureand Symbol,” p. 162. The word ‘imagineers,’used officially by the Walt Disney Company, is, obviously, a conflation ofthe words ‘imagination’ and‘engineers.’ This suggests the conscious and acknowledged instrumentalityof the fantasies that it is the‘imagineers” job to create and guide.115those who believe that when you wish upona star, your dreams cometrue.40 (my emphases)—Walt Disney at the dedicationof FantasylandMiyazaki’s contrary philosophytoward fantasy is evident at theGhibli Museum.4’The museum’s structure and philosophyemphasizes multiple possible interpretations,reflecting the ambiguity of Miyazaki’sfilm narratives. There is no “correct”route tofollow at the site. Instead, the museum’scatch-phrase, “Let’s lose our waytogether,”suggests the multiplicity of ways to enjoythe museum space. The visitorsare expected tobe entertained by their own creationof narrative and the mingled pleasure/fearofuncertainty. His intention is articulated more explicitlyin the following “manifesto”written by Miyazaki and printed inthe museum catalog Mitaka no Mon GhibliMuseum(Ghibli Museum, Mitaka).“This Is the Kind of Museum I Want toMake”A museum that is interesting and which relaxesthe soulA museum where much can be discoveredA museum based on a clear and consistentphilosophyA museum where those seeking enjoyment canenjoy,those seeking to ponder can ponder, and thoseseeking to feel can feelA museum that makes you feel more enrichedwhen you leave than when you entered!To make such a museum, the building must bePut together as if it were a filmNot arrogant, magnificent, flamboyant, or suffocatingQuality space where people canfeelat home,°“Fantasyland” in Hong Kong Disneyland official siteathttp://park.hongkongdisneyland.com/hkdl/enUS/parks/landing?name=FantasylandLandingPage.(accessedon April 25, 2005).41The Ghibli museum is directed and operated by Miyazaki and hisassociates at Studio Ghibli. While Igrant that the size of the Ghibli Museum is much smaller than anyDisney theme park, the purpose of thetwo is similar: to provide a physical space in which fans of thecompany’s (Ghibli’s or Disney’s) filmscanhave a similar experience in real life.116The museum must be run in such a way so thatSmall children are treated as fthey weregrown-upsThe handicapped are accommodated as muchas possibleThe staff can be confident and proud of theirworkVisitors are not controlled withpredetermined courses and fixed directionsIt is suffused with ideas and new challengesso that the exhibits do not get dusty or old,and that investments are made to realize thatgoalThis is the kind of museum I don’t want to make!A pretentious museumAn arrogant museumA museum that treats its contentsas if they were more important than peopleA museum that displays uninteresting worksas if they were significant.42Here we see clearly Miyazaki’s consciousself-positioning in oppositionto Disney,particularly in phrases such as “Not .. .magnificent,flamboyant,” and “Visitors are notcontrolled with predetermined coursesand fixed directions.” These are insharp contrastto the structure of Disney theme parks, where, asmentioned above, visitors are literallyand ideologically guided (or controlled) into goingin certain directions, justas Disneyfilms tend to feature predictable, safe plots.While one may argue that Disney’s slogans havea number of similarities withMiyazaki’ s—creating a world of “imagination,”a happy world, and a world forchildren—the way they are actualized differs. Disney’stheme parks stress the negationofeveryday-ness and instead emphasize their powerto transport visitors to a completelyseparate realm. Part of the technique for creating sucha complete fantasy world isDisney’s intentional concealing of the operation ofanimation “magic” from the visitors.42Miyazaki Hayao, “This Is the Kind of Museum I Want to Make,” inGhibli Museum, Mitaka Catalog(Tokyo: Tokuma Memorial Culural Foundation for Animation, 2004),pp. 186-188. No translator listed.© Studio Ghibli. All rights reserved.117Rather than revealing the way its fantasiesare created, thus bridging thegap betweenfantasy and reality, Disney wants its visitorsto “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 worldis created step by step, and exhibitsthe history of animation technologies, revealingwhat goes on behind the fantasy screen.The museum is also far from an enclosedspace, and is very flexible in terms of thedirection visitors should take. It is in a sensea place where all people—includingchildren—are treated as “intelligent grown-ups” whocan exercise their own choice ofmovement, imagination and interpretation, while adultvisitors at Disney theme parks areencouraged to return to the mindset of children to enjoytheir visits.The fact that Miyazaki’s stated philosophy of fantasyis diametrically opposed toDisney’s is no coincidence, of course: Miyazaki isintentionally positioning himself inopposition to Disney, a political—one could even saypostcolonial—decision, which I willaddress in later chapters.3.3. Miyazaki’s Aesthetics (2): Miyazaki’sOccidentalist and self-Orientalist viewsThis section discusses one of the most intriguingyet puzzling aspects ofMiyazaki’s worldview: his depiction of “Japan”and its “others.” It should be no surprisethat his anime problematize the concept of identity itself.This is partly because of hisexperience of dramatic shifts in Japan’s subjectivity inrelation to its others, from wartime,the post-war Allied Occupation (led by the U.S.),to contemporary globalization and neonationalistic movements, all of which have troubled Japanin re-establishing a nationalsubjectivity. On the one hand, his animated texts appearto present nationally hybrid118features in their form and content; on the other hand,they can be understood assignificantly local or even nationalistic. Althougha close textual analysis will be done inthe following chapters, it is useful to discuss here hisvision of the world as manifestedthrough the overarching characteristics of his work, particularly interms ofrepresentations of national identity.It seems that Miyazaki has two general modes: 1)pastiching European culture,which can be seen in his representations ofthe Mediterranean landscape depicted in PorcoRosso, starring a Humphrey Bogart-like pig, or themishmash of European towns in Kiki‘sDelivery Service; or 2) portraying an idealized “traditional”Japan, such as thefictionalized thirteenth-century Japan of PrincessMononoke, or the peaceful postwarcountryside in My Neighbour Totoro (1988). (SpiritedAwayis a bit of a departure fromthese two modes, as it depicts a fantasy world withincontemporary Japan, whichincorporates elements of nostalgic Japanese tradition,elements from other East Asiancultures, as well as elements of Western—particularlyEuropean—landscapes.)Of his nine feature-length anime films including those producedin pre-Ghiblidays, six feature clearly “Western” settings: Lupin III:The Castle ofthe Cagliostro;Nausicaä ofthe Valley ofthe Wind set in an European-lookingtown; Laputa: Castle inthe Sky, modeled on nineteenth-century Wales; Kiki DeliveryService; Porco Rosso; andHowl’s Moving Castle, which features European architectureand scenery. The remainingthree (My Neighbour Totoro, Princess Mononoke, and Spirited Away)are set in “Japan,”and feature mostly Japanese (or other East Asian) visualelements.At a glance, Miyazaki’s works, especially in the early years,appear to exhibit hisadmiration for the West—similar to other Japanese anime that so oftenfeature Caucasian-looking characters with blond hair. While this may indicatea “typical” inferiority119complex; at the same time, his negative depictions ofan imaginary “West,” asdistinguished from Japan, can be interpretedas his way of maintaining a particular visionof Japan—a potentially Occidentalizing perspective.As an example, the depiction ofWestern modernization as a cause of environmentaldisaster in Nausicaa and Laputa, candraw on the image of “good old Japan” beforethe influx of Western culture and ideology.Yet, it is hard to write this off as completeOccidentalism, because Japanese viewersareexpected to identify with the “Western” characterssuch as NausicaA and Sheeta (inLaputa), and these viewers are mostly accustomedto seeing blonds or characters withother hair colors as “Japanese” in anime, so they clearlyidentify across visually“racialized” boundaries.The seif-Orientalizing, on the other hand, is visiblein Miyazaki’s works set inJapan, such as My Neighbor Totoro and PrincessMononoke. One can certainly argue thatthese films seif-Orientalize Japan for the purposeof emphasizing a specific vision of“Japan,” and simultaneously distancing it from “others.”These concepts are furtherdiscussed with specific examples in Chapter 4 and 5.Miyazaki’s relationship to the West (1): narrativesconcerning technologyIn the United States—the global center of popularmedia—computer-generatedanimation has been the dominant trend. Disney and othermajor animation studios in theUnited States were quick to adopt computerized production,and in 2004, Disney FeatureAnimation management decided to produce only fullycomputerized animations fortheatrical release. In contrast, Miyazaki prefers the aesthetics ofeel-based animation.43In this regard, Miyazaki’s friend and producer Suzuki Toshio associates Miyazakiwith Charlie Chaplin,who held out the longest for the artistry of the silent film after the coming oftalkies, and with Kurosawa120Using cel-based animation that conveys visual clarityand plainness certainly contributesto one of his goals: communicating complex conceptsto child audiences. Despite theWalt Disney Company’s introductionof computer-generated scenes into animationwith1991’s Beauty and the Beast, Ghibli did notfollow suit until the production of PrincessMononoke in 1997. While Disney launchedtheir first fuliy computer-generated featurefilm, Toy Story, in 1995, it was not until2001’s SpiritedAway that Miyazaki (Ghibli)produced his first hilly digitaly animatedfilm. And despite Ghibli’s increasing useofcomputer animation, Miyazaki has not shown anyintention to abandon cel animationcompletely.Thomas Looser contrasts what he calls “anime-ic” animewith Miyazaki’s cel-styleaesthetics, which he terms “cinematic,” introducingan interesting perspective on thenational/cultural identity of Japan in an internationalcontext. Contrary to the cinematicstyle, the “anime-ic” style is characterized bya lack of three-dimensionality and depthlessness (lack of authenticity). This two-dimensional stylehas been called “superfiat,”referring to the aesthetics in various Japanese media,including the popular art ofMurakami Takashi. Although the concept of “superfiat”aesthetics is a recently namedphenomenon, it is attributed to the “limited animation”—relativelyfew eels and a simplevisual style resulting from limited budgets—that hascharacterized TV anime in Japansince the 1960s.45On the one hand, some critics regard “superfiat-ness” as a means ofemancipatoryunderstanding of subject identity, because it stresses identityas a surface relation,Aidra, who kept making black-and-white films long after the comingof color. See Kevin Moist and MichaelBartholow, “When Pigs Fly: Anime, Auteurism, and Miyazald’s PorcoRosso,” in Animation: AnInterdisciplinary Journal 2: 1 (2007),p.30.Lamarre,pp.333-39.Thomas Looser, “From Edogawa to Miyazaki: Cinematic and Anime-ic Architecturesof Early and LateTwentieth-century Japan,” in Japan Forum 14: 2 (2002),P.307-10.121negating the single-point perspective commonto visual three-dimensionality thatconstructs a unified subject position fixedby hierarchically organized relations.46On theother hand, from a different perspective,it has also been argued that the awkwardnessandjerkiness of characters’ movements generated in limitedanimation anime potentiallypromote a view of Japan as the “Other”—animage of Japanese automata moving clumsilylike machines provides a spectacle for laughter,which is reminiscent of what Rey Chowidentifies as one of the factors that evokesthe idea of “otherness.”47(See “Construction ofSelf and Other and politics of vision” inChapter 1.)The latter is Miyazaki’s view: he expressesfrustration with animators who createtypical anime-ic anime, and thereby disseminate the“othemess” of Japan. In particular hefeels frustrated over their obsession with exaggeratedexpressions, which accentuate theunrealistic-ness and deformation of characters.48 He istherefore apprehensive aboutpolicies promoting massive anime exportsto Europe and North America as symbolsofJapan’s national pride.Lamarre and other critics regard Miyazaki’s workas “the least anime-ic and mostcinematic” among popular animators,49based on hismarked preference for theatrical (asopposed to TV) release, his studio’s investment toproduce full three-dimensionalanimation rather than limited animation, andhis entire involvement as auteur in all aspectsof production to ensure continuity in style and story.Nonetheless, Miyazaki’s position interms of style is rather ambivalent, because he managesto create depth even out of the46Ama Hiroki, “Super Flat Speculation,” in Superfiat, ed. MurakamiTakashi (Tokyo: MADRAPublishing, 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 thatalthough some scenes in Miyazaki’s works rely on “flat’ relationswithin frames” that are devoid of gravityor weight, Miyazaki is very careful to provide a three-dimensionalperspective, by means of colordifferences and camera movements.122anime-ic eel-animation condition of flatness, bygenerating “a more organicallyperspectival mode of space.”5°Considering that an anime-ic stylemay disseminate theimage of the Japanese as automata, there is arguablyless likelthood of Miyazaki’s animecontributing to the association of Japan with “otherness”in the eyes of Westerners.Moreover, unlike many popular cyberpunk anime creators,Miyazaki’s hesitationin shifting to digital production reflects his ambivalentperception of technology. On theone hand, the narrative world of Miyazaki illustratestechnology and Westernmodernization as a cause of destruction, or as an alienatingexperience. On the other hand,it also shows the positive side of technology as well:how it can serve as a conduit ofintimacy and humor. In his work, humans and technologiesare not necessarily placed inantagonistic relationships. Howl c Moving Castle providesan example where the use offire is personified and made effective in the characterizationof the fire demon known as“Calcifer,” who enables the castle to move. Anotherexample is seen in My NeighbourTotoro. The most powerful and effective technologyin this film is a transportation devicecalled the “Neko-bus” (Cat-bus), which helps theprotagonist to find her little sister.These aspects suggest that in the contemporary animation industry,Miyazakioccupies an anomalous position. While criticizing the emphasis onpopularizing thetypical anime style that promotes “Japaneseness” to non-Japaneseviewers, and rejecting acomplete switch to full computerization, his version of theanime medium hybridizes theWestern perspectival mode and anime “flatness.”Looser, p. 318.123Miyazaki’s relationship to the West (2): narrative and themeSimilar to his stylistic form, Miyazaki’s narrative inspiration comes in largemeasure from European and American sources; he has beenan avid reader of Greekmythology and Western folktales, fairy tales, andfantasy literature, including works byJonathan 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 WorldWarII he kept hearing that Japan was a poor and helpless country,and he believed it. It wasonly after he started traveling abroad, he writes, that he realized thebeauty of nature inJapan.51 This suggests that he is not only fascinated with Western culture, butalsoappreciates what makes Japan “Japan.” Moreover, he states:I have never illustrated Europe simply to express admiration toward it,or toplease viewers with “fantastic” blond-haired characters. Instead, what I aminterested in is the distinctiveness that each culture and customs hold,particularly in the countryside.... I have no judgment on which culturesaresuperior to others. Japanese people tend to choose things European to feelexotic. 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 mywork, not simply because it shows Europe, but because it makes theminterested in specific aspects of Europe.52 (my emphasis)This statement indicates that Miyazaki does not intend in any simplistic sensetopractice “Occidentalism,” a discursive practice that allows the Orient to participateactively 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 imaginaryWest that is often presented in anime, by depicting Caucasian characters or Western51Miyazaki Hayao and Kurosawa Akira, Nani ga eiga ka (What Counts as Cinema?) (Tokyo: Tokumashoten, 1993),p.136.52Kurosa Akfra,Mz>’azaki Hayao, Kitano Takeshi,pp.142-150. My translation.124civilization as trouble-makers. At the same time, Miyazaki’s West is not simply a symbolof 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 hedepicts neither a technologicallyadvanced, superior West, nor a destructive, modernized West, but rather depicts a pastoral,visually attractive West (eg, the settings in Kiki DeliveryService and Nausicaa in theValley ofthe Wind). Moreover, he seems to make an effort to create characters whoembody cultural heterogeneity: NausicaA, for example, is modeled after both PrincessNausicaa from the Greek Odyssey and an insect-loving princess from the Tei ChanagonMonogatari, an eleventh century Japanese short story anthology,53andits narrative is alsoinspired by the Russo German war depicted in Paul Karel’s Operation Barbarossa.Miyazaki’s attempt at cultural heterogeneity is also reflected in his articulation ofthe concept of “universality,” which differs significantly from the kind of universality theWalt Disney Company strives for. Disney’s “universality” is often associatedwithhomogenization of taste across the world. Here is the way critics have described thisphenomenon: “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 timeMiyazaki 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 natureand 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’sparents worried that she might fall in love with Odysseus and pressured him to set sail. NausicaA watchedhis ship until it was out of sight. According to legend, she never married, but traveled from court to court asthe first female minstrel. Miyazaki states that “[u]nconsciously, Nausicaa and this Japanese princess (fromthe 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 moreon 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 ofFilm, Gender, and Culture, eds. Elizabeth Bell, Lynda Haas, and Laura Sells (Bloomington: IndianaUniversity Press, 1995),p.2.125has come to lay aside one’s own imagination, andtogether all shall dream Walt Disney’sdreams.”55 This slogan is indicative of Disney’s primary concern:encouraging the massesin North America and around the world to set asideconsideration of conflicted andcomplex histories, and set aside consideration of ethnic/racialdifferences and tensions, inorder to foster “global friendship” in the name ofthe Disney principle. Hence, Disney’s“universality” refers to the permeation of its single (American-centric)narrative to allcorners of the earth, with the effect of homogenizingperipheral ideas in the American“melting-pot.” In other words, this approachto universality entails lowering the level ofnarrative complexity or intellectuality.What makes Miyazaki’ s idea of “universality”different, as some scholars assert,are his themes of “globally consequential issues”56—issuesthat are relevant to a globalaudience—despite his insistence that he makes hisanime specifically for Japaneseviewers.57 “Globally consequential issues” include:the conflict between nature andhuman technologies; human greed and capitalism (consumerism);gender issues; and theinfluence of globalization. Although Disney animations, particularlyrecent ones, alsodeal with some of these issues, they present them in a light and simplisticmanner. Forexample, in terms of gender issues, among Disney’s “princessstories,” Mulan and TheLittle Mermaid seem to present female empowerment andassertiveness; however, theyboth conclude with a typical “Cinderella-style” happy ending:their heroines do not gain acomplete sense of independence.58Skiar, p. 205.Cavallaro,p.8.57Masaki Yamada, Shin’ichi Okada, and Tadahiro Ohkoshi, “The Cutting Edge ofCool,” in Asia-PacjficPerspectives: Japan+ 2: 1 (2004), p, 11.58It has to be noted that some of Miyazaki’s protagonists do not necessarily achievetotal independence. Forexample, Chihiro in Sprited Away achieves a significant level of maturity duringher stay in the bathhouse,126To Miyazaki, “universality” is not, at least consciously, associatedwith thehomogenization of different ideas and tastes into a single aesthetic standard,but is, instead,intricately (and perhaps paradoxically) tied to his philosophyof cultural hybridization. Inhis works one can observe his intention to combineelements from Western narratives andsettings with elements from Japanese narrative and visualtraditions as well. Miyazaki’sintended fantasy, composed of narrative and imagisticelements from different culturalsources, transgresses national or cultural boundaries withoutgenerating culturalhomogenization.This suggests that Miyazaki’s overarching themes allow identitypolitics to surface,and this may be his way of engaging in polities, unlikeDisney’s apparent influence on andreflection of the U.S. relationship with other countries and events in theMiddle East,which can be observed in Aladdin. To a certain extent,this harks back to the way Disneyinfluenced U.S. foreign affairs in the U.S. in the 1930s and 1940s—particularly,itsrelationship with Latin America—through representations in SaludosAmigos (1942) andThe Three Caballeros (1944), which were intended togenerate a goodwill message forLatin American “friends.”It is, however, also possible to argue that Miyazaki does not show usthe unique ordistinctive aspects of any specific European culture—an elementof Occidentalism. Inother words, instead of showing a distinctive Germany, England, orItaly, for example, hecreates an imaginary generalized “Western European” or “SouthernEuropean/Mediterranean” culture. Thus, it is open for debatehow far his insistencementioned above—his respect for cultural specificities—is actualized inhis work. It alsobut at the very end ofthe film, when she reunites with her parents, she acts in a way that is similar to herbehavior at the beginning of the film (i.e. clinging to her mother).127may be debatable whether his creation of “multipledifferences” merely represents abifurcation between “foreign” vs “local,” rather thanactual heterogeneous elements.Hence, it is arguable that Miyazaki’s “Europe” is nomore culturally specific thanDisney’s China (in Mulan) or “Arabia” (in Aladdin).In subsequent chapters we will see in more detail theways that Miyazaki does ordoes not succeed in representing difference in ideologicallynuanced and useful ways.Based on the discussion above, what can be said hereis that Miyazaki consciouslypositions his work in opposition to dominant Westerndiscourses of identity, which heregards as too simplistic.3.4. The Reception ofAnime outside Japan and “Japaneseness”In order to understand the potential self-Orientalismof Miyazaki’s films it isnecessary to consider their reception outside Japan. Thisis because their receptions(particularly in the U.S. and Europe) not only shape the image ofJapan among non-Japanese, but also affects how the Japanese—both the creatorsand viewers of anime—understand their own identities in relation to their “other.”In the field of Japanese live-action film, the 1950swas called the “Golden Age,”when “great masters” such as Kurosawa Akira, Mizoguchi Kenji, and KinugasaTeinosukereceived numerous awards in international film festivals. Film critics in Europewereamazed by the production of masterpieces in Japan—a countrythat had appeared to becompletely devastated after its defeat in the Second World War. The presidentof DaieiMotion Picture Company, Nagata Masaichi, eagerly exported films directedby Kurosawa,Mizoguchi, and Kinugasa to Europe. In his book on film, Nagata writes: “Japanesefilms128that attract foreign audiences need to have a simple narrative and mysterious characters.”59This statement indicates Nagata’ s principle of stressingthe exoticism of Japan to cater toWestern viewers’ (Orientalist) taste. This is not a practice of strategic essentialismbut ofseif-Orientalization (or seif-othering), because the definition of “Japaneseness”sold to theWest is determined by the West. Indeed, all of the films that received awards,includingRashomon (Kurosawa), Gate ofHell (Kinugasa), and Ugetsu (Mizoguchi), areperiodfilms whose narratives revolve around samurai and “exotic-looking” womenin kimono,which fit the stereotyped Western image of “Japan.”Miyazaki’s perception of Japan’s identity configuration throughanime is partlysuggested by the 1996 Tokuma-Disney Deal, which grants worldwidedistribution rightsfor eleven of Studio Ghibli’s anime to the Walt Disney Company. The executiveproducerof many of Miyazaki’s works and managing director of Studio Ghibli, SuzukiToshio,intended through this deal to ensure that the studio’s workswere distributed around theworld.6°Unlike other anime products popular in the West(by which I mean Europe andNorth America), which are created to seem “stateless”/”odorless” or are even sometimesmodified to erase cultural specificities,6’this deal does not allow Disney tocut or modifyeven one second of the films. Moreover, Miyazaki frequently says that hedoes not haveforeign viewers in mind when making his anime. Hence, his philosophy is notbased on59Nagata Masaichi, Elga Jigakyo (Film and My Sutra) (Tokyo: Heibon shuppan, 1957),pp. 122-230. Mytranslation.60Suzuki clarifies that other companies such as Fox and Time-Warner contacted Tokuma, but GhiblichoseDisney as the partner because it was the only company willing to agree to this condition. See “The DisneyTokuma Deal” at Nausicaa net (http://www.nausicaa.net/miyazakildisneyl) (accessed on September20,2005).61The success of many TV anime exported to the U.S. in the 1960s, including Speed Racer,Astro Boy, TheEighth Man, and Mann Boy, owe to the fact that they did not reflect Japanese culture. For example,SpeedRacer is not simply the English version of Mahha Go Go (the Japanese original), but it was heavily edited inthe U.S., particularly in action and allegedly violent scenes, by which Japanese aesthetics and values arediscounted.129seif-othering for commercial benefit, but on inscribing another versionof “Japaneseness”through his anime without accommodating foreignviewers.Based on these points, one could argue that Ghibli or Miyazaki’sunbendinginsistence on keeping a “Japanese flavor” intact is indicativeof a kind of nationalisticstance. Yet, his stance seems very different from Nagata’s seif-otheringpromotion of“Japaneseness,” which is created to fit what non-Japanese viewers expectof “Japan,” foreconomic benefit. It also differs from the promotion of “Japaneseness”based on thestateless “anime-ic” style. Miyazaki’ s adamant position on the integrityof his worksdistributed abroad, including the imagery of traditionalJapan in Princess Mononoke or theEuropean settings in Nausicaa, signifies his resistanceto the Western aesthetic standardand its ideology.The question of whether Miyazaki’ s works promote nationalism, or in other cases,promote an Occidentalist view, remains complex. It is problematic, forexample, tosimply assume that the popularity of the semi-historical PrincessMononoke outside Japanderives from Orientalist expectations to which it caters. If foreign viewersappreciatedPrincess Mononoke only because of its traditional or “exotic” elements,for example, it isunlikely that Miyazaki’s other films would have been so popular: itseems evident thatnon-Japanese viewers could to some degree identify with the charactersin the films ratherthan simply finding them exotic. Miyazaki’s promotional tour in theU.S. and Canadaobserved the enthusiastic reaction to Mononoke among North American viewers. Atthattime Ghibli staff commented that it is pretentious of Japanese peopleto assume that130foreign viewers could not understand Mononoke because of its historical setting or theuniqueness of Japanese culture.62The association ofMononoke with cultural nationalism or a self-Orientalist viewcannot be completely denied. Nonetheless, the popularity of Miyazaki’s anime is nodoubt partly attributable to his use of cultural pastiche or heterogeneity. The perception ofnational identity through film representation is a multifaceted issue, which I havediscussed only in very general terms in this chapter. Subsequent chapters will address thisquestion in greater detail, with reference to specific Miyazaki films.62Ghibli staff were impressed by the knowledge North American fans demonstrated regarding Miyazaki’sanime, and by the number of questions based on their solid research about Mononoke. There wasconsiderable 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 suchas 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.20-29.131Chapter 4: Western Orientalism &Japanese OccidentalismAladdin, Nausieaäofthe Valley ofthe Wind, and Porco Rossowithout people such as he (Morroe Gerger, Orientalist),the Middle Eastwould be neglected; and that without his mediating,interpretative role, theplace would not be understood..., partly becauseonly the Orientalist caninterpret the Orient, the Orient being radically incapableofinterpretingitse(f’—Edward Said, OrientalismAs suggested in Chapters 1 and 2, media narrativesand visual representations play asignificant part in the process of viewers’ understandingof their own identities, while(mis)recognizing the “other,” as well as the “self,” throughcomplex mechanisms.Assuming the significance of directors/auteurs’ controlover the production of animatednarratives and the influence of discourses and power relationsthat embody theirsubjectivities, this chapter and the following two chaptersexamine animated folklores byDisney and Miyazaki. The examinations point towardexplaining a link between theidentities circulated through the texts and the resultingcultural identities potentiallyarticulated by utilizing these texts.As mentioned in previous chapters, Disney animations havebeen contributing tomedia-based ideology creation since the 193 Os, and,according to many critics, incombination with theme parks, they have also served anAnglo-phallogocentric discourse.However, a better understanding of the complex mechanismsof identity articulation viamedia representations requires taking into accountthe context of the globalized animationindustry, as representations presented in the emerging mediumof anime have become quiteinfluential since the 1980s and 1990s, rivaling Westernaesthetics. Thus, although NorthSaid, Orientalism, p. 289.132American animations still occupy a dominant positionin the global market, the increasingnumber of widely distributed anime offer alternativenarratives for cultural identityarticulation, which may in turn offer alternatives tothe dominant model of representation.Miyazaki Hayao’s (Studio Ghibli) anime, in particular,in many aspects defy the Westernideologies conveyed through many of Disney’s texts,as well as destabilizingAmerican-centered cultural flows.Close textual analyses of works from these two studiosreveal the complexity ofself/other construction, by attending notjust to concepts of Orientalizing (the West’sconstruction of “the East” for its own purposes) or Occidentalizing(the East’s constructionof “the West” for its own purposes), but alsoto concepts such as seif-othering by “others,”and seif-Occidentalizing on the part of the Occident,which operate in the narrative-makingprocess of some texts. Based on these ideas, the followingthree chapters examine specificanimated works through the prism of self/other constructsin media representation frompostcolonial and gender studies perspectives.They attempt to demonstrate how thetheoretical and historical discussions of previouschapters are (or are not) embodiedorexecuted in actual texts.The following analyses also attend to the socio-political(cultural) backgrounds ofthe texts’ production and the creators’ intentions, as wellas to the receptions of the filmbased on information from reviews and box office numbers. Thisis done because, asMartin Barker asserts, the production history behind a mediaproduct is essential for acomprehensive understanding of the media text,2as thetext is always produced andinterpreted in a specific temporal and spatial context.2Martin Barker, Comics: Ideology, Power & the Critics (Manchester: ManchesterUniversity Press, 1989),p.275.133The animations examined have all been theatricallyreleased: Disney’s Aladdin(1992), Pocahontas (1995), and Mulan (1998);Miyazaki’s Nausicaä ofthe ValleyoftheWind (1984), Porco Rosso (1992), PrincessMononoke (1997), and SpiritedAway (2OO1).These films were chosen becauseeach of them provides viewers with storiesthat explore orevoke issues of cultural identity, and withspecific notions of “self’ and “other,” composedof interrelating politics of gender/sexual,racial/ethnic, and national identities. Eachof thethree Disney works is paired up with oneor more of Miyazaki’s films.This chapter examines Aladdin—an archetypalrepresentation of”otherness”derived from a classical Western Orientalistview—in relation to Nausicaäand PorcoRosso—versions of Occidentalism, or Orientalmedia representation of itsWestern “other.”Nausicaa and Porco Rosso reflect Miyazaki’sperception of “the West,” “the East,” andJapan.4.1. Aladdin (1992): manifestationof classic Western OrientalismOh, I come from a land,From a faraway place,Where the caravan camels roamWhere they cut off your earIf they don’t like your face.It’s barbaric, but hey, it’s home.(from the original lyrics of the opening songofAladdin, “Arabian Nights”5)was directed and produced by Ron Ciementsand John Musker, and written by John Musker,RonClements, Ted Elliott (screenplay), and Terry Rossio (screenplay),as well as others. Pocahontas was directedby Mike Gabriel and Eric Goldberg, and produced by JamesPentecost. The story was written by CarlBinder(screenplay), Susannah Grant (screenplay), Phillip LaZebnick(screenplay), and many others who contributedto additional story materials. Mulan was directed by Tony Bancroftand Barry Cook, and produced by PamCoats. The story was written by Robert D. San Souci, as wellas many others who contributed to additionalstory materials.4Ncn,sicaa was written and directed by Miyazaki Hayao, andproduced by Takahata Isao. Porco Rosso,Mononoke, and Spirited Away were all written and directedby Miyazaki Hayao, and producedby SuzukiToshio.Disney Animation Studio, after discussions with Arab communities,agreed to change these lyrics for thesubsequent video release from “Where they cut off your ear ifthey don’t like your face,” to “Where it’sflat134Since the end of the nineteenth century, the UnitedStates began to take the place ofthe fading European imperial powers,and has wielded its hegemonic powerover the Orient.Particularly after all the Arab-Israeli wars since WorldWar II, the Arab Muslim has becomeone of the major figures in American popular media,such as Disney’s Aladdin, almostalways portrayed as an enemy. With an ideologicalcombination of semiotic typologyandsocio-cultural “facts” (or incidents), Aladdin providesin animated fantasy a narrative thatreflects the archetypal Western Orientalist view,which prevailed throughnineteenth-century paintings and literature. Thelyrics quoted above encapsulate theexoticization that is manifested throughout this animation.In fact, the ethnic and othertypes of representation in the film have sparked intensecontroversies among the Arabcommunity in the United States and elsewhere.6The significant influence ofAladdin can also beestimated based on its box officenumbers. According to a report by The Los AngelesTimes on April 21, 1993, Aladdin hadgrossed over $200 million in North Americaby mid-April 1993 (after 22 weeks of release,while ticket sales were still relatively strong), andan estimated $250 million in theinternational market, with a large portion of that drawnfrom Asia. The article stresses thesignificance of this number, stating that “a $200-million-grossingfilm means that 50million movie tickets have been sold, which is the equivalentof 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 landinstead of the people.6Aladdin was to a certain degree controversial in Southeast Asia,notably Malaysia and Indonesia,where there are significant Muslim populations. Although protests againstAladdin in these countries,particularly in Malaysia, ended up quietly backing down, largely dueto the difficulty in publicizing theirclaims, this should not discount the fact that some conservative Islamic communitiesdid pressure thegovernment to ban Aladdin because of its offensive depiction of Islamicculture. (See Timothy R. White and J.E. Winn, “Islam, Animation, and Money: The Reception of Disney’sAladdin in Southeast Asia,” in Themesand Issues in Asian Cartooning, ed. John Lent (Bowling Green: Bowling Green StateUniversity Popular Press,1999).135population.” (Note that the ticket price for Aladdin wasU.S. $4.OO.) Aladdin was Disney’stop grossing animated feature ever up to that point.SynopsisReleased in 1992, Aladdin was adapted from a versionof the story of “Aladdin andthe Magic Lamp” from a work of medieval Middle-Easternliterature, The Arabian NightsEntertainment (also known as A Thousand and One Nights).8Set in the mythical city ofAgrabah, the story follows a poor but street-smart youngman, Maddin, and his mischievouspet monkey, Abu.We learn that the sultan of Agrabah is secretly being controlledby the evil vizier,Jafar, who is also a sorcerer and is plotting to takeover the sultan position for himself. Hehas spent years searching for the Cave of Wonders,in which lies the magic lamp whosepower he hopes to exploit. Jafar, however, learns thatonly one person, a metaphorical“Diamond in the Rough,” can enter the Cave.The sultan is having problems finding a husband forhis daughter, Princess Jasmine.Jafar hypnotizes the sultan and convinces him to give hismagic ring to Jafar, claiming thathe needs the ring to find Jasmine a husband. The truthof the matter though, is that Jafarneeds the ring to discover the identity of the “Diamond inthe Rough” in order to bring himcloser to the location of the magical lamp.7i J. Fox,” ‘Aladdin’ Becomes a $200-Million Genie for Disney Movies,” in TheLos Angeles Times(April21, 1993), Fl.8According to The Reader Encyclopedia, The Arabian Nights Entertainment(also known as A Thousandand One Nights) is a collection of tales from ancient Persia, India and Arabia, which attainedits present formin about 1450. The Arabian Nights Entertainment was first translated into French in1704-17 17, and intoEnglish in 1882-1884. (William Rose Benet, The Reader c Encyclopedia. New York:Thomas Y. Crowell Co.,1965.)136Jasmine, on the other hand,not wanting to be married,decides to run awayfrom thepalace. Amidst thechaos in the street, sheis rescued by a streetscamp, Aladdin. Aladdinbecomes attracted tothe free-spirited Jasmine,but by law Jasmineis allowed to wed onlyaroyal suitor. Inthe meantime, Jafar discoversthat Aladdin is the “Diamondin the Rough,”and he sends palaceguards to capture him.Jafar then lies toJasmine, claiming thatAladdinhad been executedfor allegedly kidnappingher. Disguised asan old man, Jafar takesAladdin to the Caveof Wonders, telling himthat if he brings backthe lamp from the Cavewithout touching anytreasure, he will be rewarded.Aladdin successfullyfinds the lamp,but his pet money, Abu,attempts to take a jewel,which causes themto be trapped inside.Although Aladdinand Abu initially manageto escape the cave withthe help of aflying carpet, in evadingJafar they are forcedback into it. In thecave, Aladdin discoversthat the lamp is hometo Genie, who serves hismaster with any threewishes—except that hecannot force a personto fall in love. Aladdin,having fallen inlove with Jasmine, wishestobecome a prince in orderto try to win her love. WithGenie’s help,he “becomes” PrinceAliAbabwa, and seeksher hand in marriage. AlthoughJasmine is initially notinterested in thisseemingly typical richprince, he eventually winsher love aftertaking her on a romanticrideon the flying carpet.Meanwhile, Jafar findsout that Aladdinhas the lamp and, withhiswisecracking parrot,lago, manages to steal it.As the Genie’snew master, Jafar makeshisfirst wish: to becomethe sultan.Jasmine and her father,the real sultan, defy Jafar,at which point he makeshissecond wish: to becomethe most powerful sorcererin the world.Jafar then reveals thatPrince Ali Ababwais merely a street scamp namedAladdin, and imprisonshim. WhenAladdin tries to get the lampback, Jafar turns himself intoa giant snake in orderto kill137Aladdin. At Aladdin’s suggestion, Jafar makes hisfinal wish: to become the most powerfulgenie, which consequently imprisons him inthe lamp.While Aladdin is no longer a prince andcannot marry Jasmine by law, there-instated sultan is convinced that Aladdin has provenhis self-worth. The sultan thereforechanges the law so that the princess is ableto marry anyone she chooses. In the end,Aladdin and Jasmine begin their new life togetheras a happy couple.Table 4.1. Main characters and voice actorsin AladdinCharacters Voice actorsSdaddinfPrinceAli Ababwa Scott Weinger (white American)JasmineLinda Larkin (white American)3enie Robin Williams(white American)The Sultan DouglasSeale (white British)Jafar JonathanFreeman (white American)R.azoulJim Cummings (white American)bu FrankWelker (white American)[ago Gilbert Gottfried(white American).ajah FrankWelker (white American)Table 4.1. shows the main characters andtheir voice actors in Aladdin, since somecharacters and corresponding voice actors raiseissues to be discussed in this chapter.It isimportant to note that the “Arabian” characters arevoiced by “white” American or Britishactors.9For the purposes of this discussion, “Arabian” willbe used to refer to the characters in Aladdin,whose“actual” nationality or ethnicity is obscure. Because the originalArabian Nights Entertainment, from whichAladdin is adapted, was an amalgam of tales from Persia, Indiaand Arabia, it is unclear where the mythicalcity ofAgrabah is supposed to be located, or who its inhabitantsare supposed to be in cultural or ethnic terms.The characters in Aladdin are represented, as I will argue, asundifferentiatedly “Middle Eastern,” suggestingArab and Muslim identities. By “white” in this discussion I referto people whose ethnic backgrounds are notArab (or other Middle Eastern ethnicity, such as Persian/Iranian)or Muslim.138Social background of the productionand origin ofAladdinIn examining Aladdin as a Western representationof the Orient, we should notignore the background of social and politicalevents against which the film was produced:inparticular, the (first) Gulf War, whichtook place in 1991, during theproduction of the film.Dianne Sacbko Macleod describes the productionofAladdin as revealing DisneyCEOMichael Eisner’s approach to the culturalglobalization (or domination) that “parallel(s)thecauses and unfolding of the Gulf War,”She also adds that both Eisner and the Pentagon“relied on the same storehouse of racialand cultural images.”° This observationindicatesthat, bolstered by the Gulf War as its context, Aladdinfurther dramatizes stereotypes of the(Middle) East. That is, media reportson the Gulf War in the UnitedStates and Disney’sAladdin were interdependent and workedtoward a mutual interest: the emphasisonfreedom and quality of life forU.S. citizens, in opposition to the evil(or, at least,unliberated and inferior) “Other.”The popular tale The Arabian NightsEntertainment, upon which Aladdin isbased, isknown as an important text within Orientalistdiscourse. Although the collectedtales dotrace their roots to the parts of the Middle East andIndia—what nineteenth centuryEuropeans called “the Orient”—they were interpretednot as fantastic tales, but as an“accurate” depiction of “the Orient,” according tonineteenth century Orientalists’ needs:exhibition of “the Orient” as the exotic and sexuallyseductive “Other,” to fulfill Westerndesire and give an excuse for the Anglo-Europeanimperialist and colonialist powersinorder to put Oriental lands under their control. InOrientalism, Said cites Richard Burton’swell-known nineteenth century English translation ofThe Arabian Nights Entertainmentas‘°Dianne Sachko Macleod, “The Politics of Vision: Disney, Aladdin,and the Gulf War,” in The Emperor’sOld Groove: Decolonizing Disney’s Magic Kingdom, ed. Brenda Ayres(New York: Peter Lang, 2003),p.180.139one of these “Western discoveries” of“the Orient” that contributedsignificantly to thecharacterization of fabled “Arabia.”11 Thischaracterization has carried on, if notaccelerated, through contemporary popular culturalforms—film, music, and pantomimeetc.—in Europe (the U.K. in particular)and North America. This importanttext evenreveals the slipperiness of Western definitionsof “the Orient,” as it has beenused to keepstereotypical and racist views ofChinain circulation through the famous Britishpantomime“Aladdin,” which moves the setting of thestory to China.’2 Through its Orientalistrepresentations, Aladdin succeeds in its myth-making,partly because the origin of TheArabian Nights Entertainment is also ambiguousenough to be modified to fit different“Oriental” contexts.4.1.1. The Oriental “Other” as peril anddomestication of the “Other”Classic Orientalism dies hardFrom the very beginning, besides the openingsong, the film provides an Orientalisttone. A peddler introduces the audienceto the story, starting with theline: “A dark manwaits with a dark purpose.” This line undeniablylinks one’s skin colorto what one is,activating the old Anglo-American stereotypeofdark skinned people as dangerousand evil.Thus, Aladdin starts out with the stereotypicaldepiction of the Western imaginaryof “theOrient,” which overlooks what the Orientalis in reality, and re-creates itby visual andnarrative representations throughout the film. Theserepresentations almost perfectlycorrespond with a comment made by Mazin B. Qumsiyeh,the director of Media Relationsfor the American Arab Anti-DiscriminationCommittee in the United States.He describesiiSaid, Orientalism, p. 19412Gregory B. Lee, Chinas Unlimited: Making the Imaginaries ofChina and Chineseness (London: Routledge,2003), p. vi.140Hollywood films stereotyping Arabs as exhibitingwhat he calls the “B-syndrome”: they areportrayed as bombers, belly dancers, or billionaires.Qumsiyeh, more specifically assertsthat many of films considered offensive aresubsidized by Michael Eisner-run Disney.’3By the same token, an article from The Los AngelesTimes in 1997, “Arab-Bashingfor 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 characterizedas belly dancers.’4 Most of thesecharacteristics appear on the screen ofAladdin. Forexample, the merchant in the openingscene wears a huge turban and has a strong accent;the palace guards all have turbans,beards, and big noses; and the leader of those guardsuses rough language. As well, thedepictions of female and male characters in Aladdinto a large extent verify Qumsiyeh’scritique ofthe “Orientalized” Arab, which Idiscuss below with more specific examples.When Jasmine sneaks out ofthe palace to the street,she sees ordinary people’s livesin Disneys’ “imagined geography” of “Arabia.” Theiconic significations of a“mysterious,” “savage” Oriental “other” include: streetvendors speaking in strong accents,Street performers demonstrating sword swallowing andfire eating, and gangsters chasingAladdin to cut off his hand for stealing a loaf of bread,just as another peddler threatensJasmine with the same “savage” punishment when shesteals an apple to give it to a starvingchild. All of these images feed Anglo-European stereotypeof the inscrutable “other.”After meeting “Prince Au” (the disguised Aladdin),Jasmine is shown a spectacle ofher 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 LosAngeles Times (July 28, 1997): EntertainmentDesk 3.141[her] the world” on the magic carpet. The song of “AWhole New World” in this scenereads:[Aladdin] A whole new worldA new fantastic point of viewNo one to tell us noOr where to goOr say we’re only dreaming[Jasmine] A whole new worldA dazzling place I never knewBut when I’m way up hereIt’s crystal clearThat now I’m in a whole new world with youNow I’m in a whole new world with youAs Au/Aladdin assures Jasmine at the end of thefirst stanza above, their whirlwindtour of the world is not just a dream. This assuranceis not only for her, but also to drawviewers into Disney’s “illusion of life,”5encouragingthem to believe that what is on thescreen is at least partly true. As the second stanza demonstrates,Jasmine is shown the world,including her own culture, as “a dazzling place.” Whatis important here is that she is notsimply introduced to the world that she “never knew”by All/Aladdin—a brown malecreated by white Americans—but she is also fed the“fantastic point of view” framedbyDisney. Guided by All/Aladdin, who is in a sense a missionarysent by the white Americancorporation, Jasmine “(re)discovers” her own culture, whichsupposedly liberates her fromthe constraints ofher society. Differently put, the sceneimplies that Jasmine, an epitome ofthe Orient, shapes her woridview through the eye, orguidance of the West, as she isincapable of defining herself and others.‘The term is taken from Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston’s description of Disneyanimation. See, FrankThomas and Ollie Johnston,p.13.142In this manner, Aladdin resurrects the old Orientalistview; it acts as if Disney knewthings that even “Orientals” cannot know on theirown—one of the fundamental claims ofOrientalism: Orientalists know things that even Orientalscannot know on their own.’6 Thequote at the beginning ofthe chapter is Said’s sardonicstating ofthis point, and here we seeit brought to light again through a modernmedium—animation. It is also with thismechanism of Orientalist discourse that Aladdin sustainsmyth-making, in a similar waythat Barthes’ “myth” operates (as discussed in Chapter1).As mentioned briefly above, another significant factorthat bolsters an Orientalistview is the set of “prior texts” that madeup the context ofAladdin; at the time of itsreleaseit was framed by a significant number ofU.S. media representations of Arabs as“enemy”around the time ofthe Gulf War. The villain Jafarcould potentially be associated withSaddam Hussein, whose menacing image was foregroundedin a number of publicationsand news programs.17 It is reasonable to speculate that,along with the actual events of thewar and the conflicting relationship between the twosocieties, demonized images of theMiddle Eastern people and customs were intensifiedthrough the production andconsumption ofAladdin.Moreover, what makes Disney’s “Orientalistproject” viable lies in the intricateoperation of the familiar and the unfamiliar. Art historianErnst Gombrich notes that “thefamiliar will always remain the likely starting point forthe rendering of the unfamiliar; anexisting representation will always exert its spell overthe artist.”8 This suggests that whenanimators depict a culture other than their own, they arelikely to first draw the information16See Said, Orientalism, p. 321.17See Macleod,p.186. She mentions the stereotypical images that promoted acharacterization of Arabs asenemies found in political cartoons.18Ernst Gombrich, Art andillusion: A Study in Psychology ofPictorialRepresentation (New York: Pantheon,1961), p. 82.143about that culture from existingcontemporary sources such as mediareports or other mediaforms, or from stereotyped representationsspawned through various earliermedia, withwhich they already feel familiar. In otherwords, the racist view of the Oriental“other”prompted by Aladdin is effectivelymaintained by the media intertextualitythat viewersencounter in a variety of contexts.Given the fact that media representationoften contributes to fixing falseidentities ofcertain cultures, based on the dominantperspective, Aladdin can aid inprojecting theMiddle East—a region unfamiliarto America—with a binary viewof good/bad, Self/Other,or Subject/Object. This correspondsto Bill Nichols’ concept of “recognition,”introducedin Chapter 1, which allows people(or viewers, in the context ofviewing Aladdin) to buildrelationships with others and theworld based on references fromtheir own familiarencounters. It should be therefore acknowledgedthat the producers may havea hand inarticulating Arab identity through representationsin Aladdin, but only whentheir intendedmeanings are consistent withviewers’ pre-viewing knowledge(or referents).4.1.2. The mechanisms of gendering, sexualizing,and racializing of the “other”As Said points out, Orientalist discourse alsoinstigates genderizationl sexualizationof the Oriental “Other” to solidif’ the distinctionbetween the Westerners and Orientals.Issues of race/ethnicity/nationalityand sexuality/gender are often intertwinedin identityarticulation in fantasy space. Accordingto Ella Shohat, the intersectionbetween them wasmanifested saliently through filmic practiceespecially from the 1930s tothe 1950s whenthe U.S. production codeprohibited sexually suggestive scenes, allowingthe Westerncolonial discourse to operate more effectively.She explains about the system:144[e]xoticising and eroticizing the Third Worldallowed the imperial imaginaryto play out its own fantasies of sexual domination. Alreadyin the silent era,films often included eroticized dances,featuring a rather improbablymelange of Spanish and Indian dances,plus a touch of belly-dancing.’9This reveals that in order to avoid exhibitingsexual representations bymeans ofthe body ofits own race/nation, the West (mainly Hollywood)used generalized “Orientals” to fill in itsown sexual appetite. Although Shohat’s examplesare from more than fifty yearsago, it isamazing to see how this kind of condition remainssignificantly similar in today’s filmrepresentation.This Orientalist quest is exemplified in Aladdin,particularly through thegenderized/sexualized depiction ofJasmine, as well asofbelly-dancing women in the street.Jasmine has a perfect hourglass figure, exaggeratedby a “belly dancer” outfit, thickmake-up with vivid red lipstick, eye shadow, mascara,and blush. [Figure 4.1.]Figure 4.1.This figure has been removed dueto copyright restrictions. It wastaken from Disney’s Aladdin(1992). The figure shows Jasminewith a midriff-exposed dress andleaning against her pet tiger.Jasmine perfect “hourglassfigureThis type of representation of Arab women is not uniqueto Aladdin; we can find the sameimage and similar romantic narratives in other media,such as the erstwhile sitcom I DreamofJeannie(1965197O).20The animated opening of this show introducesJeannie whoappears to have the same body features and style as Jasmine,except for her blond hair.While white women have arguably gained ground sincethe 1960s in terms of the politicalShohat, “Gender and Culture of Empire: Toward a Feminist Ethnographyof the Cinema,” p. 69.201Dream ofJeannie is a story of a female genie and an astronaut with whom shefalls in love and marries.145correctness of their representation on U.S. TV, the continual representation ofstereotypicalArab female heroines still perpetuates the notion of Arabwomen as belly-dancers—acompelling sexual icon.Figure 4.2. Figure 4.3.Jasmine seductive eyes toward Aladdin Jasmine seductive eyes toward JafarJasmine’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 winyourdaughter.” Moreover, the scopophilic male gaze upon her body is inducedby the look shecasts on men, both Aladdin and Jafar. When Aladdin takes Jasmineto his hide-out toescape from an angry vendor in town, they are attracted to each other, almostkissing, andshe gives a seductive sidelong look to further draw him in. She uses a similarlook when sheis testing “Prince Au,” as he tries to impress her outside her roomin the palace. A moredramatized version of her “seductive look” is illustrated when she is pretending tobeattracted to Jafar, while in fact she is tricking him to get out ofthe marriage that he is tryingto force her into. [Figure 4.2., 4.3.] In these scenes, the look she gives both mendemonstrates her conscious behavior to gain an advantage, rather than simplybeingexhibited as a passive object. While this seems to show Jasmine’s agency to some degree, italso is a clear instance of her playing the role of the seductive “Oriental femalebody,”which epitomizes the image of the femme fatale.This figure has been removed due tocopyright restrictions. It was takenfrom Disney’s Aladdin (1992). Thefigure shows Jasmine looking atAladdin and gently touching him atthe balcony outside her room.This figure has been removed due tocopyright restrictions. It was takenfrom Disney’s Aladdin (1992). Thefigure shows Jasmine trying to seduceJafar with her alluring eyes.146The gazes of the two male characters constantly genderizeand sexualize Jasmine’sbody. For example, Aladdin’s determination to becomea prince is partly for the purpose ofaccentuating Jasmine’s “princess-ness”—a quintessentiallyfeminine role—so that he canbe in the more authoritative position of “showing herthe world.” As well, Jafar’spenetrating and violating gaze explicitly shows hisobjectification of Jasmine for his sexualdesire. At the next level, the viewers of the film alsowatch Jasmine as she is presented totheir gaze, and watch her being gazed upon by Aladdinand Jafar. It seems therefore that allthree groups in Christian Metz’s paradigm—the filmproducers (overwhelmingly male), themale characters in the film, and the male heterosexualviewers—are all participating in thepleasure of consuming Jasmine sexually, thus generating scopophilic pleasure—”thedesireto see”21—in their experience ofAladdin.As in the mechanism of classical Orientalism, sexualization of the woman’sbody isclosely intertwined with racialization in Aladdin. Sexualization ofthe female body inAladdin solicits the questions of which racial body is eroticized, forwhat purpose, and towhose advantage, reminding us of Rey Chow’s “technologies of visuality”that play asignificant role in creating unequal power dynamics, interms of both gender andrace/ethnicity. Because Jasmine’s representation seemsto be organized for the pleasure ofheterosexual males—the characters in the film, the film’s creators, andthe male viewers—itseems unlikely that the abovementioned scenes of Jasmine’s seductivelook might be meantto represent Jasmine’s (and brown women’s) power and subjectivityto subvertconventional racialized and gendered representations. Furthermore,it is intriguing thatwhen Jafar traps Jasmine, he puts her inside an hourglass,which not only reinscribes herbody shape but also draws upon the idea that “brown men oppress brownwomen” from the21 Metz,p. 58.147Western-Oriented view. Even only temporarily,this draws attention away from thefact thatwhite men have dominated brown menand women, as well as white women,for centuries.Another indication of the gendering/sexualizingof race in Aladdin is exposed in theambiguity of brown male characters, perceivedas either oversexualized peril or passivefeminine “puppets”—two major characterizationsof the Oriental “other” in oppositiontothe Western “self.” Good examples of thesecharacterizations are Jafar and thesultanrespectively. Jafar’s appearance incorporatestypical sinister signifiers: a beardandelongated mustache, slanted eyes, hooked noseand gaunt face. (Figure 4.4.,4.5.1Thebeard also matches one of the attributes of“successful anti-Arab films”mentioned above.(Jafar shares some features with GovernorRateliffe in Pocahontas and CouncilorChi Fu inMulan, 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 blownup like a balloon, turning himinto amassive, red-skinned monstrous entity (“morepowerful than Genie”) and intensifyingtheimage of Oriental as the irrational, menacing “Other.”This reinforces the image ofaggressive and frightening Oriental males.Jafar’s ethnic identity is, however, morecomplicated and ambiguous than a mereembodiment of Oriental peril. He certainlyhas some stereotypical Arab features, suchasjewelry, a beard, and a rather swarthy face, but he alsospeaks with a strong “high-class”This figure has been removeddue to copyright restrictions. Itwas taken from Disney’sAladdin (1992). The figureshows Jafar frustrated about thesultan’s being fascinated withPrince Abu.This figure has been removed dueto copyright restrictions. It wastaken from Disney’s Aladdin(1992). The figrne shows Jafarsitting in the sultan’s throne withscepter in his hand.148British accent, or “the language of thecolonizer.” On the one hand, this may beinterpretedas a caricature of white British people, and Jafar is alocal Oriental who is bought offbythem. On the other hand, it is also possibleto assert that Jafar symbolizes an Arabwho turnsinto a threat as a result of “mimicry”of white Westerns (British), as Bhabha describes(seeChapter 1)•22It has to be noted that since the story ofDisney’s Aladdin is set in a fictional,generic “Middle Eastern” place, it is notpossible to posit a real British colonizer/MiddleEastern colonized relationship; nonetheless,a generalized sense of colonizer/colonized iscertainly suggested. With this interpretation,it follows that while the white Westput “theOrient” under its control and made themadapt to white ways of behaving andthinking, thelatter’s act of “mimicry”—being almostwhites but not quite—also hintsat a potential spacethat allows them to subvert the white dominant discourse.In this respect, one could arguethat while Disney had a chance to subvert the whitedominant discourse, they instead furtherdemonized “the Orient” by portraying Jafar’s hybridityas part of the constellation of evilthat makes up his characterization.Another example of gendered race in Aladdin ispresented by the emasculated sultanand male suitors. While classic Saidian Orientalismcritics primarily discuss the sexualizedor effeminized Middle-Eastern female body, Aladdinalso evokes feminized Oriental males,a powerful tool for distinguishing the Western “self’ fromthe Oriental “other.” Forexample, one of Jasmine’s suitors leaves the palacerunning in a “feminine” manner, withhis red heart-patterned underwear exposed after the tigerRajar bites a hole in his pants.More evidently, the sultan is literally a “puppet” ofJafar—ignorant of his kingdom’spolitical matters, naïve and easily manipulated. Most ofthe time, he remains under a spell22Bhabha “Of Mimicry and Man,” in The Location ofCulture,pp.85-92.149cast by Jafar, trusting his decisions and obeying hiscommands. In one scene, the sultanliterally acts as a puppet in a clown costumeunder Jafar’s spell. [Figure 4.6.,4.7.1Figure 4.6. Figure 4.7.The sultan ofAgrabah, father ofJasmineThe sultan put into a clown costumeby JafarIt is Jafar, the Oriental who follows white Britishmannerisms, who is effectively inthe position of authority. Whetherthe British are intended to be caricatured or not,andalthough Aladdin and Jasmine win in the end,the film lays out “normal” power hierarchiesbetween the white British (colonizer), the local authorityin the colony (Jafar), and marginalgroups such as effeminate males, women, andlower class people (the sultan, Jasmine,andAladdin).The incapability and powerlessness of “the Orient”is also signified by theinfantalization of Oriental male characters in the film.The sultan easily panics and isoverwhelmed when things get tough to handle, and his behavioris sometimes childlike,exemplified in the scene where he yelps with delight while playingwith the magic carpet.Feminization of the Orient is also implied throughthe infantalization of Aladdin as well. Itis natural for viewers to compare Aladdin and Jafar invarious scenes throughout the film.In comparison to the tall, intimidating presence of Jafar, Aladdinhas a relatively small and a“cute” rather than stocky figure, despite some muscle. He isafter all a boy, daydreaming oflife in the palace with Jasmine, rather than a realistic grown-upman. Indeed, Jafar treatsThis figure has been removed dueto copyright restrictions. It wastaken from Disney’s Aladdin(1992). The figure shows the sultanstunned by looking at one of thesuitors’ torn underwear.This figure has been removed dueto copyright restrictions. It wastaken from Disney’s Aladdin(1992). The figure shows the sultanacting like a puppet of Jafar.150Aladdin like a child, calling him “PrinceA Boo-boo,” which emphasizes his infantalization.This is further reinforced by Aladdin’s remarkto Genie, “without you, I am justAladdin.. . The only reason everyone thinksI’m worth more than anything is becauseofyou... Genie, I can’t keep this up on my own.”Even Jafar, who appears to be the strongest andthe most powerful character of all, isalso seen as being feminized: except for his magicalpower, his physique is very skinny andfar from masculine—both in his regularfigure and his disguises. Moreover, hishystericallaugh and extremely high-pitched voicewhen he gets the lamp from Aladdin alsosuggestfeminized elements of his representation.It is important to point out that the Western projectof “othering” the Orient forself-demarcation also involves domestication of the “other.”This follows Bhabha’saccount of “mimicry” as the colonizer’s scheme to forcethe unfamiliar colonized to becomelike themselves—the familiar—so that the former cancontrol the latter effectively.Gombrich’s view, mentioned above, ofhow people areeasily drawn into the familiar beforefacing the unfamiliar also explains the allure of thedomestication scheme. This view isuseful to understand the process of building characters inAladdin. For example, Aladdinwas explicitly modeled after (Caucasian) Tom Cruise—the“familiar”—instead of theanimators looking to a local (Asian or Oriental) characterfor inspiration.23 This seems tosuggest that one can become a hero only with some elementof “whiteness.” It is yet open todebate whether this should be interpreted as an attemptto avoid emphasizing stereotypicalracial features, or as a domestication of the Oriental“other”—a “whitening” of Arabs by23Sean Griffin, “The Illusion of ‘Identity’: Gender and Racial Representationin Aladdin,” in AnimationJournal (Fall, 1994), p. 65.151Disney—for Western consumption. Henceit is also arguable that Aladdin is an example ofsympathetic representation of Arabs or the Orient.4.1.3. Color complex: embracing “whiteness” andposing as whiteThe issue ofthe racialized “other” in Aladdin seemsto boil down to the problematicfounded upon the perception of color. Racial hierarchyis structured, broadly, on whetherone is white or non-white. Additionally, the degreeof darkness makes a difference within“the brown.” In Aladdin, while all the characters aresupposedly “Arab” and have “brown”skin, their skin tones determine their characteristics:the darker the skin, the more evil thecharacter. For example, the skin of the“good” character Aladdin is light brown. TheSultan’s skin is also quite light, and he wears a white, SantaClause-like beard and mustache.Combined with his characteristics and mannerisms, thissignifies his “innocence” and“ignorance.” Jafar’ s complexion, on the other hand,is noticeably darker, similar tothe evilleader Shan Yu in Mulan, and his color darkens furtherin some scenes. (Figure 4.4.,4.8.1Figure 4.8.This figure has been removed dueto copyright restrictions. It wastaken from Disney’s Mulan(1998). The figure shows ShanYu’s sinister yellow eyes and hisdark face color.___________________________Shan Yu (the evil leader ofthe Huns)Although complexion has no inherent connectionwith human qualities, peopleconsciously or subconsciously generate hierarchiesbased on skin color; this is alsopracticed in the fantasy ofAladdin. Whereas “racism” refers to inter-groupdiscriminationfor the purposes of subjugation, “colorism” refers particularlyto prejudice regarding degree152of skin darkness reflected within a non-white ethnicgroup.24 Kathy Russell, Midge Wilson,and Ronald Hall describe the link between skin tonesand power dynamics among BlackAmericans as a “color complex,” a “psychologicalfixation about color and features.”25Like racism and colorism, this “color complex”privileges lighter skin tones and Westernaesthetic standards, revealing again the dichotomousview of light and dark, and that degreeof “desirability” depends on the question of whomwhite people desire. This enables thewhiter/lighter “self’ to be distinguished from thenon-white/darker “other.”According to psychiatrist Frances Cress Welsing’stheory of “color confrontation,”when whites recognize non-white skin as the norm, andwhite as minority in the worldpopulation, their deeply seated feelings of inferiorityand the inadequacy of white peopletoward non-white skin drive them to conquer those non-whites.26Thus, whites project theirself-hatred onto non-white “others.” In the UnitedStates, the connection betweenpigmentation and power is deeply rooted in historybefore the Civil War, when skin colorcould mean the difference between living free and livingas a slave.Russell, Wilson and Hall, analyzing different literary works,conclude that“darkness causes suffering; lightness brings love.”27In Aladdin, both Aladdin and Jasminehave skin tones lighter than other Arab characters,so that they are after all “good guys”despite some stereotypical depictions. In this sense, theypass as white, which allows them24For the defmitions of those tenns, see Larry D. Crawford, “Racism,Colorism and Power”(http://www.nbufront.org/htmIJFRONTalView/ArticlesPapers/Crawford_RacismColorismPower.html)(accessed on July 28, 2007). It has to be noted that colorism also refersto the discrimination against lightertones by darker ones, although this phenomenon is less discussed.Kathy Russell, Midge Wilson, and Ronald Hall, The Color Complex: The PoliticsofSkin Color amongAfrican Americans (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1992),p.2.26Russel, Wilson, and Hall, p. 56-57. Frances Cress Welsing explores the practiceof White supremacy.27Russell, Wilson, and Hall,p.43.153to have some of the privileges attached to the white body, although their passingas whiteends up as a passive act of spectacle in the dominant discourse.28The power dynamics pertaining to skin tones become further complicatedby theissue of gender. Jasmine has light, rather pinkish skin, lighter than any othercharacter in thefilm. It is possible to speculate that, were her complexion darker, she wouldnot gainAladdin’s attention and his love. In order to attract a “prince charming” andbe rescued byhim, her skin color needs to be lighter than his own.There is also a possible contribution of religion to the color complex, whichfurthersupports the notion that “lighter is righter.”29 For instance, Russell, Wilson, and Hallseethe conflicts between Christ and Satan, spirit and flesh, good and evil as essentiallyaconflict between White and Black. They also show how the image of Christ—theincarnation of God—is deliberately “whitened,”3°as revisionists transformedhim from aSemite to an Aryan. In a similar way, in Aladdin it has to be a “whitened brownman”—anincarnation of Tom Cruise—who can rescue a (light) brownwoman from “oppressive”(darker) brown men: the sultan (who almost forces Jasmine to marry) [Figure 4.9., 4.10,4.6.], Jafar (swarthy skin tone) [Figure 4.4.], and the head palace guard Razoul(soiledbrown skin tone) [Figure 4.11.].28It has to be noted that the term “passive” here differs from “passive passing” used by Peter X. Feng. Feng’spassive passing assumes that an (multiracial) individual has control over howhe or she is read or misread.Unlike Keanu Reeves, who, having a Chinese-Hawaiian father, became popular via his white appearance(passive passing), Aladdin and Jasmine do not have much control over their “whitening,” since they arecharacters based on white-oriented production of Disney. (See Peter X. Feng, “False and DoubleConsciousness: Race, Virtual Reality and the Assimilation of Hong Kong Action Cinema in The Matrix,”inAliens R Us: The Other in Science Fiction Cinema, eds. Ziauddin Sardar and Sean Dubitt (London: Pluto Press,2002), p. 155.29Russell, Wilson, and Hall,p.159.°Russell, Wilson, and Hall, p. 59.154Figure 4.9. Figure 4.10.This figure has This figure hasbeen removed been removed duedue to copyright to copyrightrestrictions. It restrictions. It waswas taken from taken fromDisney’s Aladdin Disney’s Aladdin(1992). It shows (1992). It shows thethe figure of figure of Jasmine.Aladdin.Aladdin with light tone brown (left) and Jasmine with pinkish brown (right)Figure 4.11.This figure has been removeddue to copyright restrictions. Itwas taken from Disney’sAladdin (1992). It shows thefigure of Razoul and hisfollowers.Razoul with soiled brown skin color4.1.4. Can “parody” work?: difficulty in deconstructing “race”As discussed above, Disney’s representation of characters in Aladdin lays itselfopen to criticism that it contributes to falsely fixing gender/sexual and ethnic identities. Inresponse to this criticism, one could bring in one of the animation’s subversivecharacteristics— parodying the dominant representations of “norms”by exaggeratingthem—and argue that stereotyped images ofthe “exotic Orient” in Aladdin actually worktoexpose the constructed-ness of racial identity. This is, however, problematicbecause onecan never tell whether stereotyping intended to be subversive is identifiedby viewers assuch.The difficulty of interpreting Aladdin as a subversive text is also demonstrated byaseries of disputes against Disney’s Aladdin since 1992. In the year it was launched, Aladdinwas accused of reinforcing negative stereotypes of Arabs by racialized accents, facialfeatures and so forth. Anti-Arab messages in the film were also pointed outby many155Arab-American people, including former spokespersonfor the South Bay IslamicAssociation Yousef Salem, who said that:All of the bad guys [in Aladdin] have beards and large,bulbous noses,sinister eyes and heavy accents, and they are wielding swordsconstantly. Aladdin doesn’t have a big nose; he hasa small nose. Hedoesn’t have a beard or a turban. He doesn’t have anaccent. Whatmakes him nice is they’ve given him this Americancharacter ... I have adaughter whosarsshe’s ashamed to call herself an Arab and it’s becauseofthings like this.3On the one hand, the constructed-ness of gender/sexual identity is wellexposed inAladdin. Genie, in particular demonstrates the fluidity ofidentity by frequently changingboth shape and gender. Genie in drag (as a female tourguide, cheer leader, and so on),using the metamorphic nature of animation, deconstructsthe myth of fixed gender identities.On the other hand, while his blue skin makes his raceambiguous, it is not too difficult toassociate the depiction of Genie with the feminization of Arabs, consideringthe origin ofthe story. As Griffin points out, Aladdin uses “the imagery oftheOrient to imagine a settingcapable of allowing a variety of sexual identities, but [does] so byreplaying the colonialimagery—reinstituting Western domination.”32 In other words, inAladdin the subversionof gender/sexual identity construction is actualized at the expenseof the emancipation ofthe racial “other,” seeming to suggest that the categorizationof race/ethnicity is potentiallymore difficult to transgress by means of animation’s metamorphosisthan that ofgender/sexuality.Said in the “Afterword” of Orientalism emphasizes that his intentionis not to insistupon the existence of the “true” Orient, but to argue that the “Orient”is itself a constructed31Richard Scheinin, “Angry Over ‘Aladdin’,” in The Washington Post (January 10,1993): G5.32Griffm,p.70.156entity. However, in the viewer’s experience of the “other” through the “illusion of life” inAladdin, the distinction between the “true” and constructed “Orient” becomes extremelyobscure. In the contemporary world where media fabrication and reality have becomevirtually indistinguishable, analysis ofAladdin reveals that what is important is notdepiction of the “true Orient,” but understanding the mechanism of constructing “theOrient”: who represents it and for what purpose. My analysis of its narrative and visualrepresentations suggest that Aladdin is both a contributor to, and the result of, the“neo-postcolonialism” that controls “the Orient.”4.2. Construction of the Western “Other” (1): Kaze no tani no Nausicaä(Nausicaä ofthe Valley ofthe Wind) (1984)Orientalism has been accompanied by instances of what might be termedOccidentalism, a discursive practice that, by constructing its Western Other,has allowed the Orient to participate actively ... in the process ofself-appropriation, even after being appropriated and constructed by WesternOthers.33The Orient’s participation in the construction of the “Other,” and its construction ofthe Western “Other,” either ofwhich potentially subverts Western hegemony, are not Said’sfocus in Orientalism. In contrast, Xiaomei Chen, as in the quote above, emphasizes thatOrientalism and Occidentalism are complementary views. In other words, the notions ofthe Western “Self” and the non-Western “Other” do not necessarily exist independently oras fixedly as Said’s work seems to imply; this is also reflected in the world of animation.The following sections examine two of Miyazalci’s texts that unfold this point, particularlyfocusing on how and for what purpose the Orient may construct the Western “Other.”Xiaomei Chen, Occidentalism: A Theory ofCounter-Discourse in Post-Mao China (New York: OxfordUniversity Press, 1995), pp. 4-5.157SynopsisThe plot revolves around events occurring in a mystical world, withsceneryreminiscent of old Europe. It has been a millennium sincea global nuclear war known asthe “Seven Days ofFire” destroyed human civilization, andonly a tiny remnant ofhumanitysurvives, huddled in small enclaves across the continents.The images and backdrops in theopening scenes, along with the theme song, unfold theessence of Europe.34 [Figure 4.12.,4.13.1The narrative centers on a teenage princess, NausicaA, whose homeland is theidyllicValley of the Wind. It is so named because of the constant winds that keep it frombeingswallowed up by the Fukai, a thick jungle whose spores and plants are poisonous tohumans,due to their ingestion of pollutants and toxins resulting from the expansion of humantechnology. Riding far above the desert on her glider “Mehve” (derived fromthe Germanword “Moewe,” meaning “seagull”), Nausicaä demonstrates an empathic bondwith theenvironment, and with giant insects called Obmu, which protectthe Fukai.One day, warships from the Tolmekian Empire descend upon the valley. AsNausicaA rushes back to the castle, she arrives to fmd a squad of Tolmekian soldiersThese tapestries are speculated to be based on Bayeux Tapestry, which has allegedly European origin.See“Is there a model for the tapestry in the opening of the movie?” (at Nausicaa net)http://www.nausicaa.net/miyazaki/nausicaa/faq.html#tapestry (accessed on December 10, 2003).Tapestries in the opening sequence © Studio Ghibli. All Rights Reserved.158standing over the dead body of her father. Consumed with rage,she engages the soldiers inviolent combat, only letting up when one of her Lords, Yupa, intervenesto halt the fight.Queen Kushana ofthe Tolmekian Empire, the commander of the invasionforce, tells thepeople ofthe valley that the Tolmekians intend to bum the Fukai in order to reclaimtheearth for humans. In doing so, the empire plans to revive the Giant God Soldiers(kyoshinhei) who destroyed civilization during the global war, and use them againsttheObmu and poisoned forest. Kushana takes NausicaA and thevalley’s elders back with her ashostages to ensure that the residents of the valley will not intervene with herempire’sproject of reviving one of the Giant God Soldiers.During the journey to the Tolmekian capital, Nausica faces death,war, destructionand the truth behind the Seven Days of Fire as she tries to bring peaceto the world and savewhat is left of the ecosystem. Once airborne, the Tolmekianforce is set upon by a Pejiteiancraft under the control of Prince Asbel. He managesto destroy the Tolmekian transports,but Nausicaä, horrified at the death around her, climbs onto the transport to thwartthePejiteian from attacking. Asbel hesitates, allowing a Tolmekian soldier to shoot himdown.NausicaA boards her glider and flies over to rescue the unconscious Asbel.Back in the valley, Kushana returns and gathers her forcesto quash the rebellion. Asshe arrives, she sees an advancing Ohmu horde and orders her troops to take upa defensiveposition around the warship while they prepare a gigantic Fire Demon, the lastof the GodSoldiers which the Tolmekians have restored. The troops retreatas they see the angryOhmu horde bearing down on them, while Kushana appears on the hill atopan annoredvehicle. At Kushana’s command, a beam of pure energy penetrates acrossthe hordes ofOhmu and a massive nuclear fireball erupts. In the end, despite attacking withall theirweapons, the Tolmekians fail to control the Obmu horde, and it is Nausicaä who sacrifices159herself to save her people, re-establish a bond betweenhumanity and the Ohmu, and settlethe conflict between the Valley of the Wind and theTolmekians.4.2.1. Representation of the Western “Other” in NausicadIn its narrative and imagery, Nausicaä shows little signification ofthe East/Orient;most images represent the white West. More specifically, Nausicaä demonstratespowerdynamics upheld within the white West. For example, struggles take placebetween twosocieties that are racially indistinguishable: the Tolmekians andthe people ofthe Valley ofthe Wind. This exclusive presentation ofthe West reflects Miyazaki’s idea that Japanesepeople would not like seeing themselves onscreen or in their fantasy.35 Yet thisis notnecessarily a sign of self-hatred, as it can be interpreted as a way of evading thedichotomous East vs. West discourse. By removing non-Western elements altogether,Nausicaä also succeeds in removing a potential Orientalist gaze, onewhich is oftenexercised in Aladdin.From a slightly different perspective, presenting only the West also allowsthe East(in this case Japan) to construct a fantasy ofthe Western “Other.” Thatis, in Nausicaa, it isthe Orient (Japan) that constructs “the West” as its “Other” that is primarily representedas adystopian symbol—its obsession with technological development. The TolmekianEmpire,a symbol of Western technological advancement and urbanization, is contrasted withthenature-loving villagers. Based on the director’s background (see Chapter 3), onecouldreasonably read the Tolmekians’ weapons and the Seven Days of Fire as signifying theatomic bombs that caused Japan so much suffering.35Miyazaki Hayao, Kaze no Kaeru Basho p. 55.160Miyazaki’s woridview as conveyed through Nausicaais reflected by ObayashiNobuhiko’s notion of civilization and culture:Civilization is for making our life newer, quicker,more expensive, moreeffective, and more convenient. But when our lifegets too convenient, wewould not use our brains and go numb. In other words,excessive civilizationcan destroy human beings. In contrast, culture maintains thingsor styles thatare older, slower, deeper, more inefficient, and more inconvenient,whichmay require a lot of patience. But culture can makeus wiser and spirituallyrich, because we attempt to overcome all inconvenienceby our intelligenceand ingenuity.36Applying Obayashi’s notions of “civilization” and “culture”to Nausicaa, the formeris represented by the Tolmekians and the latter by thevillagers in the Valley of theWind. “Culture” by Obayashi’s definition encompassestraditional values andapproaches, and the roots from which those values derive.For instance, thevillagers’ tools are slow and old, yet steady and sound,and born of people’sintelligence rather than made by advanced machines.Similarly, Nausicaä’s flyingmachine does not employ a mechanical engine yet requirestalent and skil