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journal.globalculturz.orgg ISSN 2582-6808
GLOBALCULTURZ Vol.I No.3 September-December 2020 ISSN:2582-6808
Article ID-2020100018 Pages: 221-228 Language: English
Domain of Study: Humanities & Social Sciences Sub-Domain: Cinema-Studies
DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.30776.98565
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________
Your Name: A Study of Imagery and Post-
Postmodernity in Cinema
Ram Prakash Dwivedi
Associate Professor, DBA College, University of Delhi (India)
Email: rampdwivedi@gmail.com M:+91-9868068787
____________________________________________________________________________________________________
AbstractCinematic images have emerged as a potential tool capable of creating and shaping the culture of a nation. They are able to
design the real and replace the so-called physical-real, effectively. In post-postmodern era, digitally coded-third order of simulation is
dominant over the other forms of communication. Virtually constructed reality (VCR) defines and controls the social relationships,
individual behavior and economic dynamics of a country. Japanese anime, a popular term for animation cinema, is quite vast and has a rich
history of production, distribution and viewing. These anime represent the complex codes of Japanese culture. In doing so, they have
reshaped the present cultural perception. These computer-generated elements, in Japanese anime, have attained an entity of cultural
phenomenon in itself. These elements-imagery, music, storyline, movements, dialogues and designs-are carefully choosen and incorporated
by the film makers for powerful representation and dissemination of existing socio-cultural ethos. Paramountcy of digi-culture is an
important characteristic of post-postmodernism. These are the key issues raised and addressed in this study. A qualitative socio-
psychological research methodology has been adopted to elucidate these questions.
KeywordsCinema studies, imagery, Japanese animation, post-postmodernism.
I. INTRODUCTION
YOUR Name (2016) is a popular animation film of
director/animator Makoto Shinkai. Makoto has
several blockbuster films to his credit. His most acclaimed
films are, 5 Centimeters Per Second (2007), Garden of
Words (2013) and Voices of a Distant Star (2002).
Advanced digital techniques have brought multifold change
in creative art, particularly in animation cinema.
Animations, unlike India, are more popular among all age
groups of Japanese society and despite their super-natural,
hyper-real themes carry ‘serious’ messages and depict
social issues and individual desires. The master craftsman
in the area is, surely, Hayao Miyazaki, an Academy Award
winner of 2003 for his film Spirited Away. Makoto Shinkai
is regarded as a successor of Miyazaki and has gained
respect among film-critiques all over the world, particularly
after the release of Your Name. Makoto himself likes
Miyazaki’s film, Castle in the Sky (1986), the most. This
film is his source of inspiration.
Symbols and images are powerful tools to represent a
culture. Cinema being a visual medium uses these tools
very effectively. In animation films, director/creator has an
arbitrary control over the images in comparison to non-
animation cinema; where image manipulation is limited.
Cultural representation through animation films becomes
easier but needs a cautious and continuous observation of
society, ambience and activities of its individuals.
Camera is a key tool for film production. Actual visuals,
naturally, carry many cultural elements and by analyzing them
cultures can be decoded, perfectly, to a large extent. Visuals
are created artificially and mechanically. They, too, represent
the culture of a nation. This paper hypothesizes that
artificially generated images are more competent to represent
a culture in cinema. This phenomenon is known as the third
order of simulations, highlighting post-postmodernism.
Further, there is difference between visuals and imagery.
Visuals are common work of any camera whereas imagery is
artistic treatment of a visual with some special motive and
conveys deeper meaning than what is just seen on the screen.
II. SCOPE OF STUDY
Post-Postmodernism has a chronological and historical
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journal.globalculturz.orgg ISSN 2582-6808
persp ective. In cine-studies the se perpective s are
commonly used to understand socio-cultural change. Your
Name (Makoto Shinkai, 2016); is in the center of
discussion of this paper. Two other films Spirited Away
(Hayao Miyazaki, 2001) and Grave of Fireflies (Isao
Takahata, 1988) are merely chosen as a chronological
context. These three films have some commonalities and
many differences and thus provide a good sample for study.
However, other films have also been taken as a reference to
elaborate the research problem and project the conclusion
more prominently. Animation by virtue of its production
te chnique s is an ev en t and h ap penin g of post -
postmodernism. The imagery of Your Name depicts the
rich culture and tragic mass psyche of Japanese society.
Grave of Fireflies portrays the decaying social values in the
time of war. It reflects the social reality, a usual practice of
modernism. Spirited Away carries a postmodern mood by
mixing the real and surreal worlds. Your Name goes far
ah ea d where b od y swapping be co mes a regul ar
phenomenon and has been accepted by the viewers. This
acceptance by the audience and critics alike proves this
film as an example of post-postmodern creation.
III. FILMOGRAPHY OF MAKOTO SHINKAI
Makoto Shinkai (b. Feb 9, 1973; Nagano, Japan) felt his
fascination for manga and anime while he was in middle
school. He studied Japanese literature at Chuo University and
as a member of juvenile literature club he used to draw picture
books. He was fond of reading literary books, particularly,
novels. His literary and pictorial hobbies shaped his initial
orientation towards anime. He has three areas of interest viz.
Manga, Anime and Literary Writing. Now he has gained fame
as anime director-producer. Though he started his carrier in
1997 in anime, his full-length film ‘The Place Promised in
Our Early Days’ (2004) established him as an acclaimed
director in international community.
In one of his interviews, he said, “my motivation is
different from one movie to another. With Your Name, I’ve
changed and society has changed, so my motivation is
different with this film. The reason for the change is the
earthquake in 2011. That really changed my perception of the
world. There’s a line in the film – ‘you never know, Tokyo
might go tomorrow’ – and I think everyone in Japan is aware
of that. That can happen, and it has happened. You can lose
that everyday, normal life [1].” Makoto always tries to do
something new. For this, he deeply penetrates in the society
and takes out the common experiences. Your Name depicts
the mass psyche of destruction existing in Japanese people.
This is a film about love amidst the fear of destruction. Love
negates the impact of disaster and provides the meaning and
aim to life. Philosophical culture is also interwoven in this
film.
There are several scientific researches and predictions that
a severe earthquake followed by volcanic eruptions will hit
Tokyo one day [2][3][4]. Natural disasters are portrayed in
several Japanese movies and seem a usual practice adopted by
the filmmakers. Makoto also followed the tradition and
connects love and disaster together. Vast landscapes in Your
Name create fascination for the nature but natural forces
engulf everything. The making of cinema depends upon the
viewers’ psyche and good blend of issues related to dream,
love, fear etc. Shinkai has done this in this movie like his
predecessors, particularly Hayao Miyazaki. Acknowledging
his influence Shinkai said, in the Japanese animation
industry there’s a big ideal, and that’s Hayao Miyazaki. He’s
someone you look up to and are influenced by. He’s got his
own, totally original style. He’s a genius. But… you can’t be
Miyazaki, you can only be the second Miyazaki, and that isn’t
something to aim for [5].”
Miyazaki in his films depicts vast landscapes of nature and
fills them with ghostly ambience. Shinkai has replaced this
ambience with the disastrous state of mind, clearly an impact
derived from the severe earthquake that hit Japan 2011.
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TABLE1: Filmography of Makoto Shinkai
Sl
Film
1
Weathering with You
(Tenki no Ko)
2
Your name. (Kimi no na
wa.)
3
The Garden of Words
(Kotonoha no Niwa)
4
Someone's Gaze (Dareka
no Manazashi )
5
Children Who Chase Lost
Voices (Hoshi o Ou
Kodomo)
6
A Gathering of Cats (Neko
no Shūkai)
7
5 Centimeters Per Second
(Byōsoku Go
Senchimētoru)
8
The Place Promised in Our
Early Days (Kumo no
Mukō, Yakusoku no
Basho)
9
Egao (Minna no Uta
"Egao")
10
Voices of a Distant Star
(Hoshi no Koe)
11
She and Her Cat (Kanojo
to Kanojo no Neko)
12
Other Worlds (Tooi Sekai)
journal.globalculturz.orgg ISSN 2582-6808
V. CINEMA AND VISUAL LANGUAGE
Computers script the language of animation films. It is
altogether different from that of other genres like feature
films or documentaries. In feature films, human actions,
gestures, body language and dialogues create the primary
impact on the viewers. In documentaries, it is voice-over
and the script, which do this job. Animation is solely
dependent on technique, though human-voice is equally
important. It can be easily inferred that animations, in order
to create effective message, highly rely on digital
technology or the usage of computers. Production of
animations is older than the invention of Cinematograph
(1895). There is mention of several instruments, which
contributed in animation of images. The noteworthy cine
tools of them are; Magic Lantern, Thraumscope, Flipbook
etc. Most of them were physically designed equipment and
have their own limitations. Norman McClaren suggests that
‘animation is not the art of drawings that move, but rather
the art of movements that are drawn noting ‘what happens
between each frame is more important than what happens
on each frame [6].’ Zagreb School animators went further
to philosophize this definition and suggested that, ‘to
animate is to give life and soul to a design [7].’ With the
arrival of digital technology, animation directors and
producers gained a lot of liberty and freedom to create
‘dreamy’ imagery. The sound design and music, portrayal
of characters and incorporation of supernatural events
became quite comfortable. Your Name is also such a film,
which moves around a dream which is not possible in real,
physical world. The dream is about ‘Body-Swapping’ and
‘Location-Swapping’, i.e.breaking the barriers of gender
and geographical boundaries. This would have not been
possible without the help of digital technology.
Czech surrealist animator Jan Swankmajer said,
“animation enables me to give magical powers to things. In
my films, I move many objects, real objects. Suddenly
everyday contacts which people are used to acquire a new
dimension and in this way casts doubt over reality. In other
words I use animation as a means of subversion [8].”
Makoto Shinkai’s film Your Name is a representation of
subversion, deeply rooted in Japanese mass psyche.
Images in films are incorporated through real locations,
activities and happenings. They can be created artistically
in a studio and give us a feel of reality. In studios, as it is
quite known fact, oceans, rivers, palaces, deserts,
mountains or any such formations can be created and
shootings can be done accordingly. To make these scenes
realistic, role of a movie editor is important and obviously
the editor is wholly responsible for providing the feeling of
genuinity of the studio shot scenes. Studios are capable of
‘fantasy’, non-realistic scenes as well and these types of
images, though illogical, many a time has given meaning to
cinema. Broadly, in mainstream cinema realistic and
fantastic images have palyed meaningful roles. In
animation it is a computer which creates and edits every
move, event and activity of the film. The realistic and fantasy
images, both, are to be created by the animator. For realistic
images, deep observation of the real world by the animator
becomes decisive. Whereas, conceptive power of the animator
makes sense in creating a non-realistic, chaotic and fantastic
images. It is all easy to do by sitting by the computer and
working with the softwares. Alan Kirby, who coined the term
‘Digimodernism’ for the Post-postmodern period, justifies this
simplicity not only in the field of cinema but in all walks of
human life. Animations, by this way and due to their digital
freedom, are truly a Post-postmodern genre of cinema..
VI. CGI ANIMATION: A POST-POSTMODERN GENRE
Experiments to control Persistence of Vision (PoV), by
computers, began in 1973 and reached to a milestone in 1995
with the production of Toy Story, a full-length CGI animation
film [9]. These experiments pressed upon the animators across
the globe to rethink about their production techniques.
Japanese animators tried to achieve the good balance between
digital and analog methodologies which still continue. This
practice of Japanese animators gave wonderful results in
terms of imagery-composition, narration and voice-casting.
Hayao Miyazaki and Makoto Shinkai are now considered
master craftmen. The technique of animation dates back to
pre-cinematogrphy in the form of shadow play [10], therefore
only CGI based animations are post-postmodernist in nature
and reflect a true sense of the same.
Walt Disney is pioneer in animation film making. Warner
Brothers and others posed a big competition to Disney.
Gradually Disney shifted to other areas of entertainment like
building theme parks and manufacturing Disney products.
These products, over a period of time, received an emotional
attachment and part of daily life, particularly among kids and
adolescents. Images on the screen and physical products in
common homes creates a post-postmodern situation, where
images behave like humans as source of inspiration,
motivation and characters start playing the role of family
members. This association with imaginative characters
becomes very deep and gives a feel real life. Many kids begin
to sleep along with these products and feel relaxed. If you
detach them, they start crying. This is a very common
phenomenon observed across the world. Post-postmodernity
has diminished the boundary lines between real objects and
images and also between real human relationships and hyper
real relations.
In Japan, animation is a popular genre because it has a
rich background and artistic tradition. Reading of manga
(cartoon book) is a common habit among all age groups. In
trains, parks, cafeteria and any such place one can see people
reading manga. The variety of manga is vast and varies in
content from children, romantic, social issues to erotic. There
are many animation movies based on these manga books. It is
a common practice, among anime (a Japanese term for
animation) makers to produce a film on a popular manga
theme.
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In this paper three films-The Grave of Fireflies,
Spirited Away and Your Name have been taken into
co ns ideration to un de rstand the na tu re of Pos t-
postmodernity reflected through the animation movies in
context of Japanese culture. The Grave of Fireflies was
setup in the backdrop of WWII. The breaking of family
values, loneliness and helplessness of the protagonist,
miseries brought by the war, destruction of modern ethos
are primarily portrayed in the movie. There are sufficient
details of postmodern indicators. The Grave of Fireflies can
be studied and analyzed on the basis of several theories
propounded by the postmodern thinkers. There is no hope
or positivity. Failure of democratic institutions and
weakening human relationships bring despair and lassitude
in individuals’ life. As Brian Duignan, reference 6,
suggests, that ‘humans are changing themselves and their
societies for the better by using the tools provided by the
sci e nce a n d te c hnol o gy [ 11] . H e ar gued t hat
‘Postmodernists deny this reason and do not believe in that
future societies will be more kind, more democratic, more
caring and more economically prosperous, Rather,
Postmodernists blame that all scientific and technological
advancements have brought huge destruction like World
War II. Even reason and logic are not acceptable to them.
Postmodernists find science, technology, reason and logic,
inherently, oppressive, destructive and a tool of
exploitation used by evil forces especially during 20th
century, This has brought misery and pain to others[9].’
Destruction by the A-bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki
resonates in viewers’ mind while watching The Grave of
Fireflies. This film can be analyzed as a postmodern anime
where the situations, ideas and ethos described above are
very explicit. As propounded earlier, animation is a post-
postmodern phenomenon, but an anime movie also carries
a narration and a story that might not be so advanced. The
Grave of Fireflies, though technically knitted in the genre
of animation yet it didn’t move forward with Post-
postmodern socio-political and economic complexities.
Therefore, this film cannot be categorized as a Post-
postmodern movie.
In case of Post-postmodernity, the relation of reality
and hyper reality also matters. Almost all modern movies
were interwoven around real world experiences. The Grave
of Fireflies in that sense depicts the man made disaster and
its impacts on our social life and family relations. The
theme and craft of the movie was not able to go beyond the
physical and clumsy reality, which is an essential condition
for a post-postmodern genre. As Jean Baudrillard suggests,
in his treatise, Simulacra and Simulations, “An effective
simulation will not merely deceive one into believing in a
false entity, but in fact signifies the destruction of an
original reality that it has replaced.” He writes: "To
simulate is not simply to feign...feigning or dissimulation
leaves the reality intact...whereas simulation threatens the
difference between 'true' and 'false,' between 'real' and
'imaginary [12].’ The Grave of Fireflies hardly raises this
relation between reality and imagery. However, Hayao
Miyazaki’s film Spirited Away is more advanced in simulacra
where super-naturality comes at the center of the craft.
Spirited Away moves beyond the reality and incorporates
several hyper real scenes. The beyond-real situations put into
the movie makes it a post-modern genre. In this film, while
Chihiro, the heroine of the movie and her family are changing
their residence, they are trapped in a magical world. The
series of events are happening there and storyline develops.
The reality and truth are hidden and finally Chihiro was able
to free her parents, who became pigs, from this mystic and
mysterious place. Magic realism is a part of this film, which
has been discussed by many postmodernist thinkers. Film
critic Peter Bradshaw observed, ‘Spirited Away is the result of
organic, non-GM animation: everything is hand-drawn before
being digitalized. Yet it has a dazzling quality that I have
come to associate solely with the new generation of animators
and FX stylists, a fleetness and lightness in the way it
switches from the close-up on a deft little sight gag or a sweet
character observation, sweeping out for a breathtaking
panorama of an extraterrestrial landscape imagined with
passionate detail and specificity. I can't think of a film that is
so readily able to astonish and wears that ability so lightly and
insouciantly[13].’ The technique of production is a good mix
of paperwork and digital media. Spirited Away treats reality
and hyper reality in a parallel fashion.
In modern cinema one can easily distinguish between
reality and screen-reality. In Post-modern films were able to
push back the reality or truth behind and reel-truth became
dominant. Viewers started believing the screen truth more
than the physical or mundane truth. There was a great
paradigm shift towards truth; it does not exist but it is always
a creation. In modern movies, truth existed in the physical
world and the same was mere portrayed in the films. Post-
modern films reel truth became more trusted and there was
hardly any difference between the physical truth and the reel
truth. In post-postmodern age, screen truth completely wiped
out the physical and mundane reality. This phenomenon is
also termed as ‘Post-truth era’ in which, created reality is
more dominant over the physical or so-called ‘actual truth’. In
Your Name the audience have trusted the created truth or
reality more than anything else.
VII. THE IMAGERY IN YOUR NAME: A POST-POSTMODERN
VIEW
Various sources of imagery are used in art forms like
painting, photograph, literature and cinema. Many a time
imagery can be purely imaginative but in cinema imagery
based on real, physical world are more commonly used to
provide authenticity to the spectacle. Animators in Japan are
fond of using real locales. Itomori town of Gifu prefecture is
countryside in Japan. Mitsuha Miyamizu, a young girl,
daughter of the local mayor lives there unsatisfactorily. She
has a dream to reside in a big city like Tokyo and also to enjoy
life of a young boy, like Taki. There are swaps of body, time
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and space. Mitsuha swaps body with Taki, the past
becomes present and the story moves between Itomori and
Tokyo. Noted film critics have praised its artwork and
imagery. Reference [14] shows that, ‘the artwork, the
design and the color combinations are stunning. Shinkai
enjoys the latest advancements of CGI technology and
rotoscoping. He combines the traditional hand-drawn
method with this new one. Anime models are popular
among pop-geeks in Japan. They are common affair in
Tokyo. Akihabara, the world-famous market for cultural
products, with sizable turnover, presents a range of various
items for sale. The socio-cultural landscape of Japan is full
of such realities. Shinkai pays a ‘rigorous attention to
detail’ in fine tuning the appearance, ‘particularly the eyes’,
of their characters (also notice the fan blades turning in one
scene). Natural and swift character movements, ‘based on
actual photographs’, are also maintained throughout the
film [14].’ The major types of imagery are considered
seven in number. A sense, action, feeling or reaction has
been associated with each other. These are-(i) Auditory
pertains to sounds, noises, music, or the sense of hearing;
(ii) Visual relates to graphics, visual scenes, pictures, or the
sense of sight; (iii) Olfactory relates to odor, scents, or the
sense of smell; (iv) Gustatory relates to flavors or the sense
of taste; (v) Tactile pertains to physical texture or the sense
of touch; (vi) Kinesthetic imagery pertains to movements;
and (vii) Organic imagery. Organic imagery is also known
as subjective imagery. Experiences of a character's body,
like emotions of affection, fear, joy, disgust, trust,
anticipation, anger and senses of pleasure, pain, thirst and
hunger, at personal level, belong to subjective imagery.
Some other categories may be-nature imagery, sound
imagery, textual imagery, music imagery, imagery of urban
landscapes.
Alan Kirby coined a new term for Post-postmodernism
as digimodernism or pseudomodernism. Cultural processes
are now controlled by digital technologies. The landscape
of culture has completely changed and new products are
circulated and distributed in consumer market. Kirby has
rightly asserted, ‘the intense similarity between cinema and
the computer games. He terms it a phenomenon of pseudo-
modern age. Earlier cine-images were taken from the ‘real’
world – composed, processed, lit, arranged, sound tracked,
voice over-read and edited together by ingenious directors
to direct the viewer’s insights or emotions – are now
essentially created through a computer [15].’ Definitely
Your Name has two such effects, which cannot be
portrayed without the help of digital technologies. These
are body swapping and location swapping. In fact, the
overall production of the movie is highly dependent on
computer and software based techniques. Reference [16]
indicates that present day anime is deeply influenced by
global culture but scholars agree that ‘it remains an original
product of the concatenation of circumstances that have
created the culture of modern Japan [16].’ In Western point
of view, ‘Japan stands alone as a country that can
accurately be described as modern-or indeed postmodern
despite the other nations in the region made many successes
[16].’ The representational studies show that images are
deeply interwoven in a film to convey the messages. An
example of Yakuza movies can be taken wherein ruins of
Hiroshima are depicted in backdrop. Though Yakuza or mafia
is different genre than Hibakusa, it clearly reflects that
Yakuzas are fallout of WWII. In Your Name natural
catastrophe is not just a depiction of disasters, it also portrays
the idea of apocalypse, densely rooted in Japanese society.
Reality comes as an impression in movies. It tries to express a
total experience. To outline the reality, cine-teams work very
hard as the complex-realities are not observable easily. Many
a time it goes in the sub-conscious or remains in our racial
memory. Film linguist Christian Metz rightly quoted, ‘One of
the most important of the many problems in film theory is that
of the impression of reality experienced by the spectator.
Films give us the feeling that we are witnessing an almost real
spectacle—to a much greater extent, as Albert Laffay has
noted, than does a novel, a play, or a figurative painting [17].’
All this is done through an artistic compilation of live-images,
which include visuals, sounds and human voices. The
challenge is bigger for animation films to create an impression
authentically. In documentaries, this act is the easiest one and
in anime it is just reverse. Synchronization of the animated
images with the impression of reality comes only after a
sharp, deep and close observation by the director. Makoto
Shinkai is an expert in this area. He creates the images with
such perfection that they seem truthful.
Your Name carries four basic visual imageries of Japan.
The first prominent imagery is of countryside, which is
serene, clear, traditionally rich, slow paced and full of nature
dominated landscapes. Second, is that of magapolis-
skyscrapers, densely populated, buzzing, fast moving trains,
buses and cars, noisy, big shopping complexes etc. The third
imagery is of disaster reflecting the subconscious psyche of
the Japanese society. In anime, human characters are also
digitally groomed. Mitsuha and Taki have attained a symbolic
value of high school goers, their emotions, dreams, fears,
hesitations and dilemma. Makoto has focused on these four
imageries and incorporated various others to set the plot of the
film.
Countryside Japan is low populated and many villages
are having only akiyas, the abandoned houses. Though it is
scenic and pollution free but many young people migrate to
bigger cities in search of better life style and employment.
There is less international exposure in the country areas, and
this is what the youth in the countryside aspires the most.
Mitsuha, the countryside girl, dreams to live in a megacity
like Tokyo. By body swapping and location switching, the
director gets a liberty to expose the imagery of the village,
Itomori and Tokyo. Imageries of Mitsuha’s reality and dream
run parallel in the film. A number of locations projected in
Your Name have been identified by the researchers [18],
particularly of Tokyo. A few of them very obviously depict
post-postmodern architectural styles. Tom Turner [19] has
categorically differentiated the post-postmodern urban
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landscape with that of modern and postmodern one. In
Your Name, Salon de the Rond and Tokyo City View; these
two sites truly represent Post-posmodernist architecture.
The glass walls, interiors, tables, crockries, shape of chairs
and overall ambience of cafe, Salon de the Rond in
Roppongi Hills reflects a completely new style of dinning.
Tokyo City View is an observatory and the structures like
this building have been never seen earlier in human
civilization. The view of the city from the observatory is
mesmerizing Taller buildings look dwarf. Roads, transports
and pedestrians seem like creeping creatures. A 360 degree
visibility of surroundings enhance our feelings. Shinakai
has carefully chosen these two locations of Roppongi. The
city landscape of Roppongi Hills and its urban planning
denotes Pos-postmodern era. Sitting almost in the sky and
sipping a cup of coffee is post-posmodernist phenomenon.
This imagery is used in a very creative and kawaii (cute)
fashion in Your Name. Interweaving the imageries of
countryside (Itomori) and megapolis (Tokyo), parallelly,
Shinkai has provided a powerful clue to understand Post-
postmodernism.
Change in social psyche is a continuous process.
Some psycho-scientists have propounded the theory of
racial memory or collective unconscious [20]. Carl Jung is
one of the pioneers in the area. Disasters and idea of
apocalypse is quite prevalent in Japanese society. Eric
Gans, suggested, ‘that we are leaving the victimary
postmodern era and entering a “post-millennial” era of non-
victimary dialogue. What seems more likely is that we are
leaving the acute form of the victimary for the chronic, the
heroic for the banal [21].’ His assertions suggest that, in
‘post-millennial’ society the memories of Hiroshima are
diminishing. He opines that an era of non-victimary dialogue
is coming up. Judging the ideas of Carl Jung and Eric Gans,
which contradict to each other, it can be elucidated that
victimary feelings may remain in unconcious minds. Creative
forms of expression using them and begin to revive and start
flowing strongly among the audiences, during the process of
catharsis. Shinkai, has used the imagery of the comet hitting
the Itomory town and the vast destruction caused by it, as a
catharsis process, which finally relieves the audiences from
that victimary thinking, hidden in human psyche. This is
another aspect of Post-postmodernity.
The imagery of body switching, between Mitsuha and
Taki, dominates the whole narrative of Your Name. Jung
stated, ‘Another archetype is the anima/animus. The “anima/
animus” is the mirror image of our biological sex, that is, the
unconscious feminine side in males and the masculine
tendencies in women. Each sex manifests attitudes and
behavior of the other by virtue of centuries of living together.
The psyche of a woman contains masculine aspects (the
animus archetype), and the psyche of a man contains feminine
aspects (the anima archetype) [22].’ This archetype is
physically represented in the film. There are several examples
of efforts at sex changing in the real world. Shinaki blends
dream and reality in most of his films including his recent
release, Tenki no Ko [23]. Post-postmodernity is highly
controlled and governed by technology. Efforts to change the
sex or creating-manufacturing human-like robots, filled with
feelings using artificial intelligence is a new phenomenon
possible in Post-postmodern age. Your Name projects such
possibilities through images.
Human characteristics are portrayed in cinema through
acting and animations. Japan is one of the fastest aging
GLOBALCULTURZ In!rna"onal Journal of Culture & Global Studies
Vol.1, No.3 | Sept-Dec 2020 | Page 221-228
Fig.1 (Top 15 Grossing Anime Films) [27]
Box Oce Income in US Dollars
0
100000000
200000000
300000000
400000000
1.Your Name 2.Spirited Away 3.Howl’s Moving Castle 4.Ponyo 5.Weathering with You 6.Stand by Me 7.Doraemon
8.Pokémon: The First Movie8.Princess Mononoke 9.The Secret World of Arrietty 10.The Wind Rises 11.Pokémon:
The Movie 2000 12.Dragon Ball Super: Broly 13. Detective Conan: The Fist of Blue Sapphire 14. Detective Conan:
Zero the Enforcer 15.One Piece: Stampede
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
journal.globalculturz.orgg ISSN 2582-6808
society. Younger people are moving towards cities and
countrysides are almost inhabited by the older generation.
Mitsuha carries that dream to migrate to a big city like
Tokyo. Taki is already in Tokyo. Both are quite young and
have very common feelings of adolescence. Both are
traveling or existing in different timelines. There is a a very
tricky imagery of Red Ribbon in Your Name. ‘The Red
Thread of Fate, also referred to as the Red Thread of
Marriage, and other variants, is an East Asian belief
originating from Chinese legend. According to this myth,
the gods tie an invisible red cord around the Finger of those
that are destined to meet one another in a certain situation
as they are "their true love[24].” The red string comes in
the movie to depict its climax. “The two people connected
by the red thread are destined lovers, regardless of place,
time, or circumstances. This magical cord may stretch or
tangle, but never break. This myth is similar to the Western
concept of soulmate or a destined partner [25].’ The role of
Cosplay in costuming images of this film can be read as
symbols of Post-postmodernity. The term ‘cosplay’, a mix
of ‘costume’ and ‘playing’, was coined by Nobuyuki
Takahashi in the year 1984 and gradually became popular
across Japan and a few other Western countries [26].
Costumes completely hide body-realities and many a time
gender too. Post-posmdernity always tries to mask the reality.
In character sketching Shinkai has used this element of Post-
postmodernism. Cosplay has penetrated deep in Japanese
culture and became highly popular in young generation in the
last two decades. Animato rs have incorporated this
phenomenon in their film making. It can be observed in daily
activities of Japanese youth, particulary in the areas of
Harazuku, Akihabara, Roppongi and Shinzuku, etc. This real
life reflection is very much part of Shinkai’s cinema.
Your Name, the highest grossing anime film of the world
[Fig.1][27] is a movie of destiny with disaster. Mitsuha and
Taki, seem to exchange their notes, swap their bodies, solve
each other’s problems but when the switching stops, suddenly,
it is revealed Mitsuha died three years ago. They were
destined to be partners, very close in their feelings but very far
in their fate. References [28] and [29] shows that there is
gradual adoption of technology, in Japan, from Kurosawa to
Miyazaki in film-making; despite easy availability of the
same. Shinkai follows this tradition and Your Name came out
as a masterpiece. Cinematic representation of a country and its
culture in context of imagery is well established and common
area of study as reference [30] underlines, post-postmodernity
is just new.
IX. CONCLUSION
Genres of film emerges due to change of sensibility and
innovations in techniques of film production and projection.
Inventi ons of cinema tograph, e diting too ls, studio
constructions and later CGI animations have played a
significant role in shaping new genres of cinema. Toy Story
(1995, Pr. Pixar Animation Studio; Rel. Walt Disney
Pictures) was the first feature-length film created by CGI
tec hni q ue a nd g r adu a lly 3D a nima tio n s be cam e
commonplace. Though CGI techniques began to use in
animations in seventh decade of the last century. Yasujiro
Ozu and Akira Kurosawa were classical and landmark film
makers of their times but dominance of digital productions
paved the path of new genres like Japanese anime. CGI and
post-postmodernity are closely related and need separate
analysis. CGI based animation can be called a Post-
postmodern genre. The production of anime is not directly
the depiction of human actions. Though depending upon
themes and socio-cultural background of a film, cinematic
images can be categorized as modern, post-modern or post-
postmodern. The Grave of Fireflies, Spirited Away and most
of the animation cinema prior to nineties are not truly Post-
postmodernist in nature as they are confined to mundane
world and portray physical realities only. Magical tactics, as
depicted in Spirited Away, were present as early as pre-
medieval period. Your Name on the other hand with usage of
body and gender transformation reflects a postmodern
technological advances. The dream of a girl to live like a
boy and in the city of Tokyo instead of countryside, is quite a
new theme and no other director thought about such things
before. There are various active timelines running parallel.
Makoto Shinkai not only thought about it, but also
successfully interwove the idea on the screen. Frame by
frame, the viewers are told about the events which they take
with surprise and astonishment. Social and physical realities,
like natural disasters, are not completely missing, but they
are vividly present in the backdrop of the film. The idea of
apocalypse is quite prevalent in Japanese movies. In either
Hibakusha or Yakuza movies, many a time it is used as
imagery. The dominance of imagery, in Your Name,
undoubtedly makes it a cinema of digital images, which is an
exclusive feature of Post-postmodernism.
ACKNOWLEDGMENT
The author is thankful to Prof. R.B. Solanki, Vice
Chancellor, CRS University, Haryana (India) for giving the
opportunities to interact with Mass Communication scholars
and students which inspired to write this paper. This work
would have not been possible without the guidance of Prof.
Tomio Mizokami, Emeritus, Osaka University (Japan). My
wife, Promila was the co-watcher of the movies and her
discussions gave me the view-point to understand the
movies. Dr. G.K.Arora, Principal, Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar
College, University of Delhi (India) also deserves sincere
thanks for his kind cooperation and support. Ms Seema
Sharma and Yuka Sato prepared the final copy of this
research. Finally, Prof. Maria Sebastian Sebastian of
Univeristy of the Balearic Islands (Spain) provided her
constructive inputs to imrove the genre clarity. I am grateful
to all of them.
GLOBALCULTURZ In!rna"onal Journal of Culture & Global Studies
Vol.1, No.3 | Sept-Dec 2020 | Page 221-228
journal.globalculturz.orgg ISSN 2582-6808
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