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Title: Entering ever-expanding worlds : constructions of place and time in contemporary Japanese children's cinema
Author: Benson, Anya C.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2744 1324
Awarding Body: University of York
Current Institution: University of York
Date of Award: 2013
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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.
Supervisor: Tudor, Andrew Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available