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Entering ever-expanding worlds: Constructions of place and time in contemporary Japanese children’s cinema

Benson, Anya C (2013) Entering ever-expanding worlds: Constructions of place and time in contemporary Japanese children’s cinema. PhD thesis, University of York.

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This thesis explores the constructions of place in contemporary Japanese children’s cinema. Based on a wide survey of Japanese children’s media, I focus on an in-depth examination of three case-study films released in 2008 and 2009: 'Eiga Fresh Purikyua!: Omocha no Kuni wa Himitsu ga Ippai!?', 'Gake no Ue no Ponyo', and 'Eiga Doraemon: Nobita to Midori no Kyojinden'. The ‘media mix’ marketing strategy that characterises much of contemporary Japanese children’s media results in endlessly expansive works; their inherent multiplicity cannot be ignored when conducting textual analysis on such works. Consequently, I situate the films as single elements of the broader ‘media mixes’ of 'Purikyua' and 'Doraemon', and, in the case of 'Gake no Ue no Ponyo', the Studio Ghibli brand image. While numerous analyses of Japanese popular culture highlight a widespread embrace of ‘newness’, I argue that in the case of children’s media, such analyses overlook an equally strong focus on the past. Looking at the intersections of the portrayals of place, time and change in the case studies and other contemporary Japanese children’s works, I find a pervasive tendency to emphasise transformation positioned alongside a concurrent emphasis on changelessness. Frequently, the ambivalent portrayal of transformation is connected to simultaneous celebrations of what connotes the past and the future; in these past/future worlds, the present is conspicuously absent, or rejected outright. This tendency is echoed in the related media mixes, which often focus on creating a world set apart from contemporary urban Japan. Ultimately, I argue that by idealising places/times explicitly positioned in opposition to contemporary urban Japan, Japanese children’s media treats removal from contemporary urban Japan as a value. The merchandising and marketing of the texts merges with their narrative content to construct the possibility of (what is formulated as) removal from contemporary Japan.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Japanese media, media mix, children's films, place, time, contemporary Japanese society, nostalgia, Doraemon, Precure, Studio Ghibli, Ponyo
Academic Units: The University of York > Theatre, Film & Television (York)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.581637
Depositing User: Ms Anya C Benson
Date Deposited: 10 Sep 2013 08:41
Last Modified: 08 Sep 2016 13:02
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/4391

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