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intro to japan 2 - Chris Bostick Asian 211 Assignment#2...

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Chris Bostick Asian 211 5/8/2009 Assignment #2 Miyazaki’s Epic Works Hayao Miyazaki is a world renowned anime film director revered for his epic visual master pieces . However, beneath his lucid illustrations lies an analysis of Japanese modern society . Although the animation attracts a younger viewing audience, hidden inside each plot and character are complex themes . According to Miyazaki, “the Japanese people have a strong tradition of telling stories of politics, economy, religions, arts, wars, and other human affairs using Emaki,” were Emaki is described as a method of telling a story combining painting and words . 1 He clearly lives up to this tradition by using his movies as a method of distributing his opinions regarding society . Miyazaki uses his films to discuss the reoccurring themes of the role of women in Japanese society, the devastation of war, and the necessity to preserve nature . In the films Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind , Howl’s Moving Castle , and Princess Mononoke all of these themes are clearly present and drive the direction of the plot . In the aforementioned films the protagonist characters are all teenage females that are highly independent . Napier describes Miyazaki’s female leads as taking on the traditional Japanese qualities of shojo as young innocent girls, offering what she calls “an appealing alternative identity in contrast to the image of the hardworking, highly pressured Japanese male . 2 However, Napier goes on to describe that they differ from 1 Kozo Mayumi, Barry Solomon, Jason Chang, “ The ecological and consumption themes of the films of Hayao Miyazaki ” (Elsevier B . V . , 2007) pp . 1-7 . 2 Susan Napier, “ Confronting master narratives: History as a vision in Miyazaki Hayao’s cinema of de-assurance ” (Ebsco Publishing, 2002) p . 473 .
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Chris Bostick Asian 211 5/8/2009 Assignment #2 traditional shojo because of their strong personalities and independence . 3 The female protagonists are not only the focus of the movies, but they also offer the resolution . Nausicaa saves the village from destruction, Sophie saves Howl, and San and Eboshi class over the sacred forest . In analysis, it is apparent that Miyazaki’s female protagonists are influenced by more than just Japanese societal beliefs .
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