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Chair: Eryk Hajndrych (Yuan Ze University)
Discussion: Japanese animations
Discussant: Li-Chi Lee Chen (Casimir the Great University)
Abstract ID: 207
Topic: A Socio-Pragmatic and Cultural Study of Japanese Comics, Animations and Picture Books: Session B

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Chie Yamane-Yoshinaga
(Sanyo Gakuen University)

The Japanese Animated Drama Film Your Name: Its Universality and Cultural Specificity

Bing-Yi Denny Lin
(University of Taipei)

A Socio-Cultural Analysis of the Father Character in Hayao Miyazaki’s The Borrower Arrietty and the Walt Disney Pictures’ The Secret World of Arrietty

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Japanese comics and animations are flourishing today not only in Japan, but also in most countries of the world, where they help shape the feelings and attitudes of children and young adults. Japanese picture books, on the other hand, demonstrate the distinctive techniques utilized in creating images, as well as in narration, as they combine both visual and verbal narratives. While all the three genres are designed for children and young adults in Japan who share particular attitudes, customs and culture, many of which are still unknown outside of Japan. Therefore, the aim of this colloquium is to facilitate the understanding of the various attributes of the Japanese language and society by looking at these three genres from both socio-pragmatic and cultural perspectives. In the following, each contributor’s findings are summarized:

Chie Yamane-Yoshinaga’s contribution analyzed a 2016 Japanese animated romantic drama film, Kimi no Na wa Your Name,’ focusing on its universality and cultural specificity. Directed by Makoto Shinkai, this film made a big hit not only in Japan and many other Asian countries, but also in Europe and in the United States. Its success in the market is due to its popular theme music, the beauty of its images, as well as the universality and cultural specificity manifested in the film. Yamane-Yoshinaga’s study, thus, intended to illustrate and discuss the universality of love and connection (i.e., the romantic love story between two high school teenagers, including their bodyswapping and the tragic disaster) and the cultural specificity (e.g., kumihimo ‘a braided cord,’kuchikamizake ‘a kind of sake made from rice or other cereal which is chewed before fermentation’ and the classical Japanese language used in the film). As argued by Yamane-Yoshinaga, the two key words of musubi ‘knotting’ and tasogaredoki ‘in the twilight,’ as well as other key expressions, play an important role throughout the film, which have revealed about the Japanese culture.

Bing-Yi Denny Lin’s contribution compared the same father character in Hayao Miyazaki’s 2010 Japanese animated fantasy film Kari-gurashi no Arietti The Borrower Arrietty’ and the Walt Disney Pictures’ 2012 American English-dubbed version The Secret World of Arrietty. Analyzing the lines of the father in both films from a socio-cultural perspective, Lin observed that the American English-dubbed version had been adjusted for the prospective North American audience. For example, many lines are added for the purpose of encouragement and comfort, which are not found in the Japanese original. Not only illustrating the differences of the father’s lines in both films, Lin also discussed how such adjustment helps construct the Japanese father’s ‘stoic’ and ‘caring’ characteristics as more universally accessible. As Lin concluded, this is because doing translation involves adjusting a text to the prospective audience’s frames of reference.