Japanese Visual Culture


This paper shall discuss the contemporary popular visual culture in Japan, although a bit of the discussion shall be based on the two different topics of Manga and Anime. However, before the discussion of the two topics mentioned above, there will be sections of the paper that focus on Japan’s culture and visual culture in general. It is a fact that most readers or learners of Japanese visual culture needs a deeper interest in acquiring knowledge of the origins of these cultures, particularly after a familiarization with the Japanese visual culture. The objective is to gain as much as possible of the customs and traditions that originate from the islands of Japan (Brown, 2010). Every consumer of the Japanese popular visual culture must have in mind that these were once taken as cult, and over the years, they have slowly grown to become very common throughout the globe. Visual culture could be observed as being concerned with all the information that can be collected by consumers as a result of their cultural background, and as result, consumers must develop a deep meaning and pleasure from observing visuals. When a person talks about Japanese visual culture, there is usually a clear difference between anime and manga. In simple means, manga refers to the comic book, while anime implies the outcome from the graphic novel. In fact, writers have pointed out that the cultural meaning of the term anime implies Japanese word without due regard to nation of origin, and out of Japan, anime implies a specific meaning to Japanese animation. Japanese animations are normally different from the western concept of cartoons, a piece of information that has proved elusive to many people.

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Japanese Culture

Japan’s culture epitomizes the growth of the visual culture from the ages of the past, while at the same time present popular culture is infused with cultures from the West and other regions of the world. The introduction and multiplication of the art and picture component of Japan’s culture originates from a meticulously held animistic past. The culture in the southeast nation is entrenched in the mystic samurai ideals, the summon wrestling, Zen Buddhism, and amongst others. The sudden increase in Buddhism and the development in the symbolic depiction of fantasy and the truths developed to exist next to with the religion that is common in the economic Far East giant. The visual culture in the islands nation had an influence from their oriental red neighbor, and the religion that the Chinese refers to as 香蕉, and idea behind the education of image and which propelled the growth of picture knowledge and connected it to the physical world. Nevertheless, the twin cultures have grown and shown different paths of displaying own beliefs, and within the islands of Japan, the teachings of Buddhism have grown to be adopted as a distinct that comprises both concrete and mysterious theater. Phonocentric, realistic, perspective and idealistic views are the four main semiotic methods that have risen up at the dawn of the contemporary period. The more than ordinary idealistic and realistic impressions of the Japanses cultural systems have emerged as more discipline, although the level of discipline does not coincide with concealment (Mostow, Bryson, and Graybill, 2003). Realities are built on conceptualism, and even to the extent, that animism grows as a system that shows zonal, citywide, or countrywide identity. On the Island, the emperor remains a significant symbol of the country, and the institution is revered by the people of Japan. The larger community constitutes the way that fiction is built on, and the standard means of understanding a group of ideas begins from a misunderstanding that is pricked through a reality that is part of the larger one.

In spite of the disarticulation that happened in the face of human suffering and destruction of property after the Second World War, Japan moved perpendicularly on the path of immense technological growth that reduced the divide between semiotic thrusts to the affricate and the expressive latent. This has shown the capability to push through modern life, and yet animism has grown to lend itself to the period (Iwabuchi, 2002). This paper shall discuss the Japanese visual culture and provide especially the divide between manga and anime, and the paper shall provide examples of Japanese visual culture that reflect on the assertion discussed above.

Japanese Visual Culture

Language forms the visual thing about culture, and in Japanese culture, people’s names are normally written with the family name as the first and then own name as last. Millions of Japanese are hooked up to reading comic books and graphic novels that form the core of manga and watching animations that form the core of the anime. Literacy in Japan as well as newspaper circulation and Television viewership are amongst the highest and densely concentrated in the world. Modern Japan has been described as a recited community, in which people transverse through heaps of journalism, television, and adverts, and yet they still find time to provide comments o their information absorbed (Duncum, 2003). The country is literary an image nation, as the large part of the country is involved in production and consumption of images, during a period when the mass have the drive to demand realities and are in themselves desirable alternatives for initial experience. The animated pictures that glimmer across the screen and over the pages of comic magazines and books are the main source of the tales that are not local, but from the global audience, are consumed presently.

An instance of pervasiveness of both anime and manga can be seen as early as the works of Hasegawa’s popular サザエさん. サザエさん emerged as fixture celebrated in Japan before the war after the debut in 1920 and later in 1946, after the war debut as Asahi shimbun in Japan. Serialization of the newspaper did end in 1974, though the Fuji televisions animated version of the same has persisted ever since, and it has been one f the long running TV series in the country. The stories around サザエさん quite different as the early versions involved a traditional woman living in the suburban areas and was removed a way from the gadgets that define modern times, and a modern version is a middle class woman with a house full of latest electronic gadget. The by-week chapters are sprayed with small talk honour that involves daily lives of typical Japanese family. The Japanese fans see their typical lives through each season switch with a flicker of a smile, the show normally generates consistently sound ratings, and it has evolved to be a family inclined tack. The サザエさん is a perfect example of the manner in which manga and anime occupy a significant place in the daily lives of the Japanese people.It should be noted that サザエさん forms only a minute part of the larger visual culture in Japan, there are thousands of manga and anime literature in Japan, and consumers spend billions of dollars on these products annually. Much like the comic-on in Los Angles, Shibuya downtown in Tokyo, this normally hosts a very large emporium of managa products. Moreover, the same is available online, and a mere entry of manga or anime into the search engine shall result in very many hits. Japanese visual culture is developed on the realms of exploration of what a person can perceive as vast and unnatural world of Japanese comic, graphic, and animated folklore. Further, it is important to have knowledge of the artists, the stories they create and the manner in which very many people seem attracted to these art. In the present times, a high number of Japanese based English art works have been developed as well as scholarly studies written focusing on the arts (MacWilliams, 2014). The two forms of arts are loved due to their over the top excess conflict, inequity, and open sensuality, as they are especially impressive due to the fact that they are fairly cheap ways of seeking entertainment demands. The period in which the three favourite Japanese Western loved manga and anime titled Akira, Ghost in the Shell and Sailor Moon arrived in the west in the early 1990s they set the tone for a transnational movement of cultural goods that moved towards a very complicated wave of fandom, influence and marketing. Manga The term can be plainly interpreted in English as a humorous picture, and it had began as a mere caricature, much like in the west. The beginnings of manga can be traced back to the 1100s in which the chojugiga were shown through the lenses of artists as humorous birds and animals. The piece rose as graphic stories initially through the works of Katsushika in between in the late 1849, as he shown the Ukiyoe, a floating world. The growth of manga readers from children to adolescents and then adults entrenched the acceptance of the graphic arts into the wider Japanese community as the foremost Japanese national art symbol (Wilson, 2005). Manga exploded within the Japanese visual culture as it reflected the needs showing complicated dramas in picture narratives (Nakano, 2002). The trend was more popularly with the end on the second world was and with the influence from the American comics and Disney cartoons. The comic book of the west features a story line that is two dimensional, and manga contains such things that are known as the elements of manga. The work of every element of manga is slightly dissimilar from those that are from the west comic books from the advent of manga as a simple sketch or bad versus good story line to a complex tale that has varying premises that include politics, religious, social, historical, and cultural issues, and different other premises. In manga, every element becomes a significant role in explaining the high levels of space and mind that respond to a complex tale. The graphic is the substance of manga appearance that is fundamentally developed on such lines, and it is normally split into both positive and negative shapes. Words that include onomatopoeia in manga is ideally differentiated from the outside voice that originates from the subjects and the internal voice that comes from the mind. Further, the word also originates separately in the exterior of the frame that is can be with or without the captions as a connector from the frames (Varley, 2000). The caption, known as fukidashi in Japanese is the vehicle of the internal voice of the mind, or the external voice from the object that is different from the narration. Nevertheless, it is created to offer backup to the expression of manga on a high levels, and this implies both external and internal voice of the object can be shown concurrently in the same frame, separated by the shape of the captions. The growth of extra hard tales in manga is close to the spread of the age range of the consumers. Normally comic books are generally taken to be for children who ultimately move from childish characters after the adolescent stage. In other country’s children ceased consuming comic books after their graduation from elementary school, however, children in Japan did not stop even after high school, as manga appeared more pleasing than television and movies. The generations in manga readership grew into the comics until their adult age, and stories only changed with age containing more drama that is human more than just simple caricature stories. Manga is an important and attractive visual means for Japanese children to live their dreams, and yet adults perceived visual texts as things that satisfy their curiosity of the environment. Internal and external disturbances results from the loss of attention and incentive in developing art, particularly during the middle of the artistic growth in adolescents.Anime Anime is a term that implies in general any sort of cartoon television series or movies that are made in the islands nation of Japan. The word can be traced back to the English word ‘animation’, and though in popular culture it tends to have a more narrow meaning, and at certain time implies a specific genre of a show. Often, every characters move towards the same look, for example, and irrespective of their developers, and the tale lines that propel the action are normally complicated and thorough. This form of art is normally taken to be very popular throughout the globe, and despite the cartoonish presentation, the different shows are really geared towards mature clientele and can even deal with adult themes such as violence and sexuality. However, the major stature for an animation to qualify as an anime is that the show must be developed by an artist from and the production developed in the country. Characters are normally very simple to spot, and in very many situations, the characters are very large, having a doe-like eyes plus spiky or long hair. They are classically tall and slender, and include nearly stylized bodies, and many appear to be oriental in look, though some are decidedly western in appearance as they have blue eyes and the common blue eyes. The fundamental sketchings are in most cases single dimensional and normally have the appearance of customary and vey old form of animation (Poitras, 2008). They should understood as more than just cartoons to the consumers who truly appreciate this form of art, as the most alluring component of the anime is just the plot. The difference between the American cartoon and the anime form Japan is that the former simply rely on typical story line of good versus evil and this is quickly absorbed fast. The normal anime series presents characters that grow as the stories move along a path and most programs involve very complicated issues that include the question of reality and acceptance of death. It is times the most informative to consider these shows as not different from the typical television shows, and that the difference is in the form of characters for the anime show and actors for the typical television drama-based show. The form of series of the latter normally provides information into the Japanese culture and frequently acts upon established Japanese myths and symbols such as karate, summon wrestling, and samurai. Different intellectuals and cultural researchers handle Japanese animation as separate forms of art as means for amusement. In fact, there are series that have been developed for the young audiences; however most anime productions have been geared towards adult consumers. Producers have been known to use their shows as a means of making heavy statements on present and prevailing culture, human emotion and relationships, much like fine artist, stand up performers normally do in the west. There are also fundamentals of literary styles that are involved in very many cases, as genre, anime is perceived as a significant piece of the cultural fabric and viewpoint of creators and consumers (Ortabasi, 2008). Creators often take a lot pride in the particular development of one character at a time, the costumes designed hair styled, the expression brought out perfectly o the paper, and the drawings frequently appear to take on the real life and personality of their own. In fact, people in Japan relate to the characters as it they were real human beings and the storylines and actions in the series have major repercussions among the huge consumer market. Representation of Genders in Manga and Anime Gender roles in Japan is very controversial in Japan, as the country is steepened in deep chauvinistic beliefs, yet the present modernity in the country has providing the women in the country to rebel against this old age system. The target audience for both manga and anime are both boys and girls and can be grouped as either a boy’s comic book or a girl’s comic book, and of course, the distinction is not always there. The girls’ comic books b are more focused towards relationships than that of boys’. The manga, unlike the American comic books, they are very complex, carrying human philosophical and very mature story line. Conclusion This paper has explored the prevailing popular visual culture in Japan in the form of their two distinctive types of visual products; manga and anime. The paper also explored general culture in Japan as a foundational pointer to the specific discussion that was carried out in the paper. Culture is an important aspect in ay society, and in Japan their unusual preference for their visual interests stands out in the world. The goal of any culture is based on the drive to benefit from customs and traditions of a place, and in Japan, this culture has been explored to the bare maximum. The consumers of the different visual products should take into consideration that the storyline associated with the most popular comic or animation were based on tales that were once considered cult like. Visual culture can be seen as being taken as the information that are presently important, or were part of ancient folklore, and it is upon readers and viewers to develop a meaning from their consumption of the products. manga and anime are quite the same although manga is the anime story in print, the comic books, graphic novels, and anime always becomes the story from the manga ‘novels’. In most people have asserted that the cultural meaning of the word anime implies a Japanese term, without caring about the nation in which the animation originated from, and out of Japan, the term means a particular Japanese animation story. Anime are clearly different from cartoons of the west, as they carry deeper story, as opposed to the consistently shallow stories that the cartoons espouse. Referencing List

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Iwabuchi, K. (2002). Recentering globalization: Popular culture and Japanese transnationalism.

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MacWilliams, M. W. (2014). Japanese Visual Culture. ME Sharpe.

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