Gender Representation in Japanese Anime

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Contemporary Japanese Gender Roles Are Being Debated In Anime and The Related Anime/Manga Industries

The world of anime in Japanese world is diverse and explores a number of themes. In the selected animes there is a representation of the process of progression of young girls into adulthood. In this regard, there are various fantasized and idealized aspects of the stereotyped roles of women in Japan.  Evidently, Japan is a society in which the traditional formalities and hierarchy still exist. Men are the dominant breadwinners working for large corporate companies. On the other hand, women are presented as shy and submissive industrious mothers who are concerned about the success of their children. Emerging worlds of anime and manga depict the intent to subvert the gender roles while at the same time retain some aspects of the traditional Japanese culture.

In the late 1990s, the role of women in Japan has considerably changed, shifting from the stereotype adopting a self-independent stance by relying lesser on their husband to provide. Additionally, the contemporary Japanese woman tends to be socially independent and marry and give birth later in life as they focus on higher education and the pursuit of careers. Representation in anime shows that more women are attending high education facilities. The importance of education is one of the aspects in which emotions, friendships, and emotions are addressed (Galbraith). In animes education takes much of the adolescent’s time. They are represented as spending much of the time in schools, in school-related clubs and some time commuting to and from school.

In the animes, women are portrayed to be excellent in domestic chores. More so there are insinuations that men are incapable of conducting the same chores such as making their own lunches. Having a woman offer a gift of food is seen as a sign of affection. However in contemporary animes, high schools scenarios depict most variations but still, female characters are seen to be engrossed in domestic roles. The female characters are expected to conform to those social and cultural norms that have been set. In the series kite by Umetsu Yasuomi gender roles are retained but males retain superiority over women. With some women portrayed to have high ranked jobs. On the other hand, Miyuki Chan all the characters parodied is male depicting underrepresentation of women (Galbraith).

Although gender inequality is rampant in Japan, there are various changes in terms of education, training, employment and wages earned. There are series with female characters in positions of power; however, the women are portrayed to be too masculine to be considered truly women. The characters depict the ability of women to retain the positions without conforming to the social standards that have been set in the Japanese society (Galbraith). In these animes, the characters retain an element of feminity in that they are portrayed as attractive and incredibly beautiful. More so, they are portrayed to using their feminine qualities or their own advantage.

Evidently, even though there are major advancements in terms of technology, Japanese anime and Manga continues to retain various historical characters through treatment of gender and gender relations. Traditionally women have been viewed and presented as sexual objects coupled with male chauvinism. Modern attitudes in the development of anime depict male dominance and female submissiveness as evident from Japanese culture. However, currently women are not invisible but the notion that males are stronger than females prevail.

Works Cited

Galbraith, Patrick W. "Moe: Exploring virtual potential in post-millennial Japan." electronic journal of contemporary japanese studies 5 (2009).

September 25, 2023
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