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.
(All plugs are pulled. Full spoiling ahead.)
Your Name | Kimi no Na wa (I will be referring to the film via. the former title from now on) is essentially about progress through violation. The film is readily clear on that account, and certainly enough for any number of viewing audiences to immediately identify that about its cinematic delivery.
Ever since the founding of this humble blog of mine, I’ve been meaning to do a ‘otaku lair’ post, or adding a page dedicated to showing off my merch, since that’s what people do. I find checking out other people’s collections to be a gratifying thing, in terms of find comradery in the fandom, so me writing and showing off my own would mean similar feelings of self-reassurance, in terms of convincing myself, that “Hey! I’m not the only one spending hundreds on that adorable Holo figure, I’ll be fine!”
Well, it’s been about two weeks, since the bombardment of holidays. Needless to say, after spending to get a pile of presents into my close friends and families’ laps, some leftover dough was left for me to spend on myself. So enjoy, as I show off what I got as gifts from friends, and from my own wallet.
News Re-gag: August Premiere For New Shinkai Film
The renowned director’s newest film, Kimi no Na wa | Your Name, will be debuting August 2016, featuring staff including Movie Director Shunji Iwai (Hana to Alice: Satsujin Jiken) and main casts, Ryuunosuke Kamiki and Moka Kamishiraishi.
Tagline of the key visual: I am searching for you, whom I have never met yet.