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  • Hayao Miyazakis World Best of Booklet

    Japan in Todays World Program (JTW)

    Professor Tamah Nakamura Edited by Bobby Recinos and Hiroshi Kudo February 2013

  • In Japan, Miyazaki Hayao is more than just an animation director, he is

    a thinker and a philosopher

  • Acknowledgements

    I would like to express my deep appreciation for Professor Tamah Nakamura who kindly allowed me to undertake this project together with Bobby Recinos. Her heartfelt instruction and encouragement drew out the best of us.

    Bobby always showed will to express his deeper thoughts far and wide. He studied the essays and advanced this project earnestly. I appreciate his advice.

    Also, I thank all of the students of the class for their outstanding work. This booklet is theirs.

    Finally, I want to credit Kyushu University and the JTW (Japan in Todays World) office at that school for their unconditional support.

    Hiroshi Kudo Editor

    My sincere gratitude goes out to professor Tamah Nakamura for inspiring us through word and action to pursue this humble yet valuable enterprise. Your skill and sensibility guided us along the way. Certainly, without her, there would be no Best of Hayao Miyazakis World.

    To my colleague and partner in this venture, Hiro-San, I thank deeply for opening the path that led to this project. Your experience, knowledge and selflessness were the key for completing it.

    I feel privileged to have been able to share the experience of the JTW course Miyazaki, Hayaos World with many beautiful minds from around the world, without whom this booklet would have been impossible to consider. I particularly cherish the time I spent together with my friend Mark Solis, as he would later introduce me to this fantastic program and to Nakamura-Sensei.

    I want to thank Kyushu University and the JTW office for trusting our abilities and judgment to put this together and kindly allowing us to make use of their resources.

    Finally, I cannot help but express my most heartfelt appreciation for this magical country and its people. The biggest thank you of all, however, goes to life for allowing me to be in the right place at the right time.

    Roberto Bobby Recinos Editor

  • Contents

    Introduction By Hiroshi Kudo and Bobby Recinos

    I. My Neighbor Totoro Tonari no Totoro

    1. A Reflection on Ecologism in Miyazakis Work

    2. Totoro as a Neighbor: Spirituality through Simple Shinto and the Nostalgia of Furusato

    3. The Importance of Nature-Centric Spirituality

    4. The Search for Roots: Creating a Hybrid Modern Myth though Totoro

    5. Interpreting Totoro through the lens of Jungian Psychology

    6. Spirituality in Totoro Represented through Miyazakis Divine Feminine

    7. Totoro as More than Religious Spirituality

    8. Shintoism and Entertainment

    9. Religious, Unreal and Natural Spirituality

    10. Religious Symbols in My Neighbor Totoro

    11. Exploring the many Notions of Furusato Japan

    12. Shinto Consciousness and the Fundamental Connection

    13. Childhood Memories as Japanese Spirituality

    14. Religious Imagery in Totoro: A Mere Reflection of Everyday Japan

    II. Nausica of the Valley of the Wind Kaze no Tani no Naushika

    1. Harmonization of Humanity and the Natural World through the Spirit of Motherhood

    2. The Clash of Species and the Deceit of Human Progress

    3. Nausica and the Ancient Elements of Nature

    4. Rediscovering the Koshinto ways and the Spirits of Nature

    5. A Crossing of Boundaries: Deconstructing the Illusion of Opposites

    6. On Nature, Human Nature and the State of Nature

    7. Nausica and Kushana: Princesses of Symbols

    8. A Reflection on a Nuclear World Order, the Natural Realm and the Spirit of Mankind

    9. Interpreting Nausica through the Principle of Gaia

    10. Mankinds lost Sensibility and the Current state of Disconnectedness

    11. Wakefulness and Contemplation: Healing through the Voices of Nature

    12. The Purity of Princess Nausica: The Idealization of Mankind

    13. The Jungle in the World of Nausica as a Symbolic Extension of the Human Body

    14. Miyazakis Developing Ambivalence Portrayed

  • III. Princess Mononoke Mononoke-Hime

    1. A Word on Miyazakis Evolving Worldview as Revealed in Mononokehime

    2. The Materialization of Miyazakis Influences: A Consideration of the Notions that Surround Modern Japanese National Identity

    3. The Medium is the Message: Weaving the Historical Fabric through Fantasy

    4. Japanese Contemporary Identity Paradoxes Mirrored in the Conflicting Aspects Between Mythology and History

    5. The Legend of Princess Mononoke

    6. Princess Mononokes Structure as Defined by Claude Levi-Strausss Idea of Binary Oppositions

    7. Richness of Symbols through Words and Imagery and the Current State of Mankind

    8. On the Importance of Nature and Love

    9. The Many Myths of Mononoke-hime Revealed

    10. Fusing Opposites Together to Tell a Universal Story: There and Back Again

    11. Gendered Representations in Princess Mononoke

    12. A Historical Examination of Princess Mononokes Setting

    13. Revisiting Shoku Nihongis Mythological Accounts through Princess Mononoke

    IV. Spirited Away Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi

    1. A Noble Aim: Building the Foundation for a Healthy Sense of Identity Since Childhood

    2. Heroic Humility and the Plague of Greed

    3. Inner Self-Discovery through an Epic Outer Journey in Spirited Away and a Commentary on Gender Identity

    4. The Haunting of the Past: Specters, Alternative Space-Time, and the Logic of the Imaginary

    5. The Concepts of Self, Identity and Hope in Spirited Away

    6. The Last Link in the Chain of Miyazakis Criticism?

    7. The Dangers to Self and Identity Amid Raging Capitalism

    8. Lost In Translation: A Swedish Interpretation of a Japanese Master Craft

    V. Other Outstanding Contributions (Only found in hard copy. Ask JTW office)

    1. A look into other Works by the Master Storyteller: An Axiomatic Approach to the Analysis of Howls Moving Castle, Porco Rosso and Laputa: Castle In the Sky

    2. Recurring Themes and Symbolic Imagery in the Works of Miyazaki Hayao: The Examples of Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away

    3. Distinctive Use of Gender Archetypes by Studio Ghibli vis--vis Disney Animation Studios

    4. Historical Spiritualized Gender Ideologies in Miyazaki's Works

    5. Jomon, Yayoi, Emishi and Ainu: A Historical Account

  • Introduction to The Best of Miyazaki Hayao's World

    By Hiroshi Kudo

    Hayao Miyazaki () was born in 1941. After he graduated from university,

    he joined Toei Animation in 1963. The company was the only studio able to

    produce animation feature films. There, Miyazaki was presented with the chance

    to work with extraordinary senior animators such as Yasuji Mori, Yasuo Otsuka,

    Isao Takahata and Yoichi Kotabe. Of special significance was Miyazakis work and

    learning process with Isao Takahata. An early collaboration between the two

    resulted in the birth of the TV animation series, Heidi, Girl of the Alps (1974),

    which enjoyed high interest from audiences. The nature of the programs

    scenography (western settings) came from Takahata but we can already see

    Miyazakis strong hand in that work, which he later built on when producing such

    features as as Kikis Delivery Service, Porco Rosso and Howls Moving Castle.

    In 1978, the cannon of Japanese animation was greatly enriched by a new

    TV series that would influence the field ever after: Future Boy Conan directed by

    Miyazaki himself. Fans and executives started identifying his name with the idea

    of good quality animation thanks to Conan and his previous work in Hols:

    Prince of the Sun (1968), Lupin (1971) and Heidi (1974). They recognized

    Miyazaki as Takahatas chief assistant director, because he had been working as

    key animator and/or scene designer since before the days of Conan. What came

    next would change anime forever: In 1984 Hayao Miyazaki directed Nausicaa of

    Valley of the Wind, and with it, established the foundation of what would soon

    become Studio Ghibli. Isao Takahata has been his partner in this extraordinary

    venture ever since. Additionally, producer Toshio Suzuki, then Animage

    magazine head editor, believed in the project and provided invaluable support

    and access to significant social capital.

    Looking back into Japanese animation history, we can think of several great

    directors, but I believe that Hayao Miyazaki is the best one among them. His

    ideas, story development, depth of thought and rich backgrounds are all

    extraordinary even amidst the best creators and creations. Furthermore, he was

    able to break-through over the limits of the field of animation, and is now

    regarded as one of the greatest Japanese film directors ever, together with the

  • likes of legends Akira Kurosawa, Shohei Imamura and Takeshi Kitano. Today, his

    talent is admired worldwide.

    In fact, a central interest of mine is to understand why Miyazaki is so

    appreciated and followed internationally. Although there are many popular

    domestic directors, most of them have not succeeded in projecting themselves

    overseas. After going through this selection of best essays, I can better

    comprehend the reasons why Miyazaki has. His stories develop in unexpected

    ways; his themes are common to every country and people, yet his worldview is