Chōjū-jinbutsu-giga (鳥獣人物戯画, lit. "Animal-person Caricatures") 12th century and 13th century

Animism (from Latin Anima "soul, life") refers to the belief that non-human entities are spiritual beings, or at least embody some kind of life-principle. Animism encompasses religious beliefs that there is no separation between the spiritual and physical (or material) worlds, and souls or spirits exist, not only in humans, but also in all other animals, plants, rocks, natural phenomena such as thunder, geographic features such as mountains or rivers, or other entities of the natural environment.

As Tachikoma is modeled after a jumping spider by Shirow Masamune who loves spiders, much of Japanese Anime design emanates from the insect obsession of artists like Tezuka or Miyazaki Hayao. Japanese have a friendly feeling for machines designed to resemble insects or animals, but also for ones like industrial robots or man-made satellites. One example is found in the sympathy and emotional attachment to the Japanese space probe Hayabusa (はやぶさ, peregrine falcon), who overcame many troubles and finally burned up on re-entry while the capsule landed successfully after traveling six billion kilometers in seven years to the asteroid Itokawa. The Japanese sentiment mentioned above can be called techno-animism; we can see many representations of earthy animism in Manga and Anime as well.

My Neighbor Totoro

The success of Miyazaki's films has invited comparisons with American animator Walt Disney, British animator Nick Park and American director Robert Zemeckis.  ´ on click

  • Spirited Away

Chōjū-giga (鳥獣戯画, lit. "Animal Caricatures") is known as the fist Manga in Japan, a famous set of four picture scrolls, illustrates anthropomorphic rabbits, monkeys and frogs as early as the mid-12th century. Okuno Takuji, a Japanese anthropologist points out that “Animation” is a compound word of “Anima” (“Animal” comes from “Anima”) and Animate. Few Japanese Manga and Anime don’t contain any animistic connotation; Miyazaki deals with animism itself as the motif in several works such as My Neighbor Totoro (となりのトトロ, Tonari no Totoro), Princess Mononoke (もののけ姫, Mononoke-hime), Spirited Away (千と千尋の神隠し, Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi, lit. "Sen and Chihiro Spirited Away"), and Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea (崖の上のポニョ, Gake no Ue no Ponyo, lit. "Ponyo on the Cliff").


Feature Story

  • バードスタジオ/集英社・東映アニメーション

    Violence in Amime & Manga

    Violence is another prominent feature of Japanese Manga and Anime. Besides the works whose main theme is violence itself, those for younger target depict violence with no restraint as well.

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    The sexual expression in Amime & Manga

    “In certain contexts, Japanese culture can combine the auras of sexual energy and violence without creating an atmosphere of seedy perversity or provocation.” Roland Kelts

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    Anthropomorphism and Amime & Manga

    Beyond its cool design, in the context of taboo-free expression, mechanical nature in Manga and Anime may take on a meaning of anthropomorphism or animism.

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    The "Ghost" in the Shell

    In the Ghost in the Shell universe, "ghost" means soul, essence, being, mind that separates humans from robots and Ais. If a cyber-brain can generate its own ghost, then there is no particular importance to be placed on “the human.”

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