Manga And Anime Essay, Research Paper
Manga and Anime, as inviting and open as they may seem, are at heart the products of Japan’s culture. Despite its technological
advancement, Japan somehow manages to retain much of its historical character, in addition to blending in the overwhelming influences of
the West. The Japanese treatment of gender and gender relations has taken many turns over the last millennium, and manga and anime
reflect those changes. Still, at the core of the culture lies certain fundamental beliefs that are proving difficult to change.
Recently, too, there is growing controversy over gender roles in Japan. An American friend recently complained bitterly over the
pervasiveness of sadistic, (heterosexual) male-oriented Japanese pornography in Japan. She says that the message that women are sexual
objects has become almost epidemic in Japanese culture, and that male chauvenism is everywhere. Many career women in Japan seem to
be so disgusted with things that they refuse to marry. And too many men are expected to sacrifice themselves to their jobs, to the point of
having no family involvement. When a man retires, he sometimes becomes trapped in a family he doesn’t know, with nothing to do, and he
tends to die soon after from his sudden lack of purpose.
I am not an expert in this topic; however, maybe I can provide some insight into Japanese culture and its reflection in manga, as well as
some recent trends in manga. I am writing, by the way, from the point of view that individuality is more important than one’s gender — and
hence to stereotype genders and to force people to conform to those stereotypes is not a good thing. I personally think we’d all be better
off if each of us picked up the stereotypical strengths of both genders, if, say, men were more nurturing and women were more likely to
speak and be heard.
Historical and Modern Attitudes
Historically, like almost every culture on the planet, Japan has tended toward idealizing male dominance and female submissiveness.
However, women have not been invisible, especially in Japan’s early years. Some of Japan’s greatest literary figures were women, such as
the novelist Lady Murasaki, who lived about a thousand years ago. Some of Japan’s earliest rulers were empresses. However, when
Japan became war-oriented and feudal, women quickly became second-class citizens. Most women were treated as they have been
treated throughout history: as merchandise, or servants, and as heir-producing machines. This is not to say men were free from societal
chains; men in Japan are expected to conform to societal expectations, too, and males were expected to devote themselves to their tasks
with great diligence and hard work.