The slogan ‘Cool Japan’ was first used by the Japanese government in reference to its nation-branding projects back in 2005. Since then, the Cool Japan phenomenon has become a site of intensive focus for scholars in Japanese studies, particularly from the points of view of popular culture and creative industries (e.g. Sugiyama 2006, Dinnie 2009, Fujita 2011) and nationalism and nation-building (e.g. Iwabuchi 2007, 2008) (Valaskivi, 2013). Indeed, such saturated focus on this phenomenon has covered extensive and ripe ground from relatively regional frameworks, which examined its impact within Japan, as well as Japan’s influence within the East Asia sphere. In turn, Katja Valaskivi proposed to extend its study paradigms by contextualising Cool Japan through the transnationally circulating practice of nation branding. And thus with this essay, I will approach the study of the Cool Japan branding project by extending upon Valaskivi’s frameworks in her paper ‘Cool Japan and the social imaginary of the branded nation’; and by extension Taylor’s concept of the social imaginary (Taylor, 2002), through their integration into a semiotic and cinematic analysis of director Makoto Shinkai’s 2016 anime film ‘Kimi no Na wa’ (will be referred to as ‘Your Name’ from now on), which I argue will introduce unique observations that may ground Cool Japan’s main circulating features; namely 1) nation branding, 2) the concept of ‘Cool’ and 3) the idea of ‘essential Japanese values’, within a diverse collection of symbols, message streams and candid imagery that can be better appreciated and more readily understood.
In considering the ever-changing landscape of the multi-medium phenomenon that is Media, it is imperative that an overarching, theoretical concept, can strike a delicate balance between concrete, set-in-stone statements that roots all sub-concepts, and a malleable nature that allows new modern concepts to be safely slotted in and expand along with time, without much friction with the universal personality of the overarching theories; theories and concepts that concerns themselves with explaining the media and its relationship with human society. In this essay, I analyse Nicolas Couldry’s concept of ‘media rituals’, and consider what it achieves in explaining media’s role in society, how it performs in contemporary society and what has being done in refining this concept.Read More »
Not sure where I heard it, but the perfect completed anime to favourite anime ratio is a clean-cut 10:1: meaning that now that I’ve completed over 200 anime in total (according to MAL at least), I get to update my favourite anime to a list of 20. And that’s good news and bad news.
Duality: a simple but demonstratively cardinal term. The expressionistic properties of ‘duality’ alone can already form the metaphorical backbone of the most impressionable citings of physics, philosophy, mythology and visual arts in human history. Balance in its purest form constitutes two opposing beings; physical or otherwise, keeping each other in check. Gravity and mass, good and evil, light and dark. Man and machine.
I never intended to write another post on Tsuki ga Kirei. My analysis of episodes 1-4 felt pretty definitive in regards to unpacking my very positive impressions of the show overall. At the time of publication, at least. For the most part, I felt I have no more to say about it.
Instead, the show decided to up its ante with each passing episode, all the while making me realise, just how much detail I’ve missed from the episodes I thought I’ve covered quite thoroughly. Sigh…*
Oh well. Shall we venture onwards?
Akane carries around a tiny mascot doll as a lucky charm. She instinctively rubs it when she gets nervous.
Kotarou is self-conscious about his writing. He gets into a boxing match with the lamp cord when he gets anxious.
It is a delicate task, trying to depict the awkwardness of the adolescence. How does one depict such a confusing part of life, when those who are currently experiencing it are too moody and self-absorbed to bother understanding it, and those who have already experienced it can no longer provide the organic, first hand accounts?
And to think I don’t have to write any more words about film music for the rest of my life…”You’ve written more than enough“, some might say.
Like I always say, there’s something inherently magical about film music. I wouldn’t miss it for all the unoriginality (I prefer the word ‘homage’) that it so proudly displays at every glorious turn or twist. So. Let us have our 7 minutes and 38 seconds of pure bliss, away from the politics, away from 2017. Let’s go back to 2016 for just another few moments.
(Yes. You can pretty much guess my winners from just reading the above paragraph.)
In my first EVER paycheck this month, I earned more than Mum if we both worked the same number of hours that week. Most people would leave this milestone behind as something to be proud of: after all, Mum now has another source of pride for her son.
However, in an eventual spiral of emotions ranging from pride, eagerness to spend everything I just earned, and bittersweetness; since this milestone means another step towards total independence…I eventually arrived at that familiar door of guilt again. Remember my stories from last month?
As the central branding message surrounding the entire company, Microsoft’s 2014 (and still ongoing) multimedia campaign and its tonal stage-setting relies on the narrative implications of a single word: ‘Empower’. Thus, the campaign can be perceived as a hybrid brand establishment attempt by Microsoft, in solidifying its name and association within a worldwide humanitarian, innovative enterprising and creative paradigm. As one of the most recognisable brands in the world, Microsoft’s popular public image is a global but impersonal one.
Starting a new column-of-sorts on this blog, aimed to both provide some much-needed support for Kickstarter projects that I am interested in, and to give some insight for my readers on the sort of things I’m interested in, be it comics, photography books, awesome product designs or ambitious animation productions. Two birds with one stone, essentially: I get to talk about creative projects that I think are awesome, while you guys get to know more about me.
It is unlikely that this will be a regular column that gets new posts every month, since I AM still just a uni student with limited budget. But if I do pledge for some things that I think are interesting enough all within the same month, I will churn out one of these. Anyway, hope you guys enjoy!
It’s rather difficult, talking about a trip as…small-scaled and comparatively mundane as this, especially considering how the original intent was for me to go and visit a dentist there and yank out two of my misbehaving wisdom teeth. Nasty business.
However, in considering that during the two weeks while the right side of my mouth burnt like lava, there isn’t much for me to do in terms of relaxation, pleasure through eating (my personal favourite pastime outside of watching anime) and doing the usual things you would do whilst vacationing overseas. Instead, I had some time to think about things, as I sat back and observed this culture that I had partially left behind.