Essay Example American Censorship of Japanese Anime

Published: 2022-02-22
Essay Example American Censorship of Japanese Anime
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Censorship Art Human sexuality
Pages: 8
Wordcount: 1931 words
17 min read

Animation started to blossom in America in the early 20th century during the times of Walt Disney's Seven Dwarfs and Snow White. Among the pioneers of cartoon design was Osamu Tezuka who applied skills learnt from Walt Disney's art to design his own manga series (Jonathan & Helen, 30). Cartoons are famous among many people today, majorly children. However, cartoons developed in Japan go through name changes and editing to make them more tolerable and to convince American children that they are locally produced. This process is called anime censorship. This essay will focus on the need for Americans to examine anime films and make adjustments to them to suppress any areas considered unacceptable, obscene or a threat to both internal and external security politically.

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America is eager to compare how Japanese culture is different from theirs and most of all they want to solve the debate of the suppression of Japanese media. The edited content revolve around the themes of violence, sexuality, and race, and drugs reference. To depict all the information it will be necessary to look at why the Americans feel the need to censor, understand how Japanese culture differs from American culture, and lastly show how to solve the growing debate of Japanese anime and media censorship. Japan has an interesting and complex history. It is an exotic land in the east whose experiences have molded and shaped its culture into something unique in today's world.

The modern culture of the Japanese includes television programs, cuisine, Japanese cinema, music, and manga. All these retain both the literary traditions and artistic culture while many of their styles and themes can be compared to traditional art. Some of these cultures are not contemporary forms of entertainment but contain aspects that distinguish Japan from the rest of the world and countries like America. There is a tremendous film and music industry in Japan and substantial comic book industry which are forms of entertainment. Karaoke parlors, Game centers, and bowling alleys are special hangouts for teenagers whereas adults hung out in specialized rooms as they play shogi or go. Since the US occupation in Japan of 1952, Americans have deeply influenced Japan's popular culture.

This has made Japan localize these influences by partly appropriating the original culture and in other cases limiting it. Review of most related literature throughout Asia has been observed as exotic and strange by western culture. This is true through the way Japan has been isolated, unlike other Asian Nations from the western culture. One of the reasons for Japan's solitude is because of its geographical position and nature. An example is through the strong wind experienced in Japan that blew the waters surrounding it making it appear as an island. This scenario resulted in Japan becoming isolated and coming up with its culture which is different from the rest of the developed nations.

Today, Japanese anime used advanced and dramatic animation as a form of art to tell stories to audiences. Unlike Americas cartoons, anime can be distinguished from its large portray of facial expressions, character development, less use of talking animals and its detailed character design. These characters are enhanced to build connections between the characters and the viewers. Most of the Japanese anime are based on comics known as Manga. It is an ancient form of comic writing. Japanese animated films have been influenced by Walt Disney that is known for animated characters, Manga no kamismama, which means Gods of comic and lastly Astro Boy. With the creation of all these Comics, Japan has been able to touch people's hearts with the characters of these comics.

Anime has grown to have many viewers, themes, genres and has become prevalent in society. Most producers have produced anime mimicking Japanese culture and comic influenced by Japanese lifestyle. Anime has become so popular such that memorable characters have been made into by-products in video games and figurines.

America is well known for its cultures and amalgamation of societies hence it has had mixed reactions on these comics and has reacted to Japanese media. The younger generation has embraced Japanese animation characters and mimicked their behaviors. The most popular shows involve those of actions which have led many young adults engaging in fights in schools and when they are at home playing. The older generation in America is not open-minded to viewing these comics as just kiddy stuff and fail to understand the appeal of significant characters in them. Japanese animation has been tagged as attribute of obscenity and violence. It has been accused of misleading children into chaos, abusive language and spoiling them by fundamentalist organizations.

When anime was made common in the USA, the majority could not believe the content maturity in it. Little did they know it had been changed to fit in the society? All the dialogue had been translated to English from the Japanese Version. There were a lot of adjustments to the script, music, and video accordingly. The show had to be edited to fit the requirements of the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) (Garcia & Hector, 229). The goal was to change the demographic viewers from teenagers to children.

The Americans concluded that anything from the Japanese culture would confuse America's young adults. And with this, they made the Japanese anime to appear like something unholy that had to be edited into a different from the original so as to befit American viewers. Specific examples of themes that are censored include Religion, sexuality, and drug, alcohol reference. Anything that involves Ancient Egyptian, Buddhism and Christianity are removed from censored anime. In shows like Pocket monsters, any religious symbol has been removed and replaced with drawings that one cannot suspect they are displaying any Christian message.

In other instances, characters died and sent to places not recognized in religion only to replace places like Hell or tombs (Craig and Timothy, 113). In sexuality scenes where a female character confesses her love to the main male character are being replaced with both confessing of how they are good friends. With this, it shows the real message of the anime is being misrepresented hence the audience cannot get the actual thing. The American censorship of Japanese anime has resulted in covering up of real-life situations happening. People are no longer in the know as the Japanese artists intended. This whole censorship has been received with great anger and in other parts ignorance.

As previously mentioned, understanding the cultural variances between the two nations makes one to understand the source if this censorship better. Americans are noticeable informal and casual compared to the Japanese who are more polite and courteous. With this, it becomes fearful to live in America since each one's way of living can seem uncaring and not minding the other.

In Japan, one can forget a valuable on a public seat and returns to find it on the same spot without any damages or anyone interfering with it or the fear of it being stolen. Such experiences are quite rare in America. Regarding regulations and laws, America allows one to possess a gun as long as you have a license, but even in other cases, you find a person owning a gun without even a permit. In Japan, it is prohibited to be found in possession of firearms unless you are a police officer. The Japanese government monitors possession of guns. There is a 99% chance of Japan law court giving a guilty verdict, unlike Americas where most criminals plead not guilty and claim they were accused; most of whom get acquitted. Beauty standards are also different between the two countries where sexiness is valued in America where else Japan do not regard it and only value cuteness.

Work culture is portrayed as different between the two states where Americans work harder for shorter periods, unlike Japan where they work less for more extended periods. Japans are more pressured to work by the companies and societies. They use vacation days to work and rest during the sick days. One can accomplish more in Japan and receive a minimum wage without complaining, unlike America where one cannot survive this. Japanese are always into formality during person to person interaction. They are bound to supporting the public or any group they are entitled to. Americans uphold individualism and spontaneity. This is doing what ones want to do or helping one whom ones feel like offering help to. Americans look out for themselves without expecting anyone to do that.

Spending time in Japan can help an American see how human culture is valued. The fundamental differences are so stark and one cannot help but notice them. There is a different way of thinking concerning society and different basic ethics. Its mind blowing to notice how the Japanese are so sensitive to their culture. It's so difficult for an American to get excited to see different values and worldviews brought over the centuries through enlightening in American land, unlike Japanese from the area of Japan.

Japan is so powerful since it is among the most developed countries, but they still have the sense of upholding their culture, unlike other developed countries which dropped their culture in the name of building their nation into a stronger one. It is an excellent chance for an American to stay in Japan to learn some of the values. Through these values, one is open to changes that are helpful. Having strong cultural support enables one to give much respect to the elders and people that one relates with. Japanese culture has influenced so many people to the point that they are willingly supporting others, taking care of the sick, have developed a sense of giving and mostly sacrificing time to be with their parents. These would not have been possible without the influence of Japanese values.

A saying in Japan states that "The nail that sticks up gets hammered down;" meaning there is a lot of positives through loyalty and collaboration enabling people and companies to be successful. It is fascinating to learn that literacy level in Japan in 98% considering the way it is difficult to learn Japanese language and writings (Jonathan, 112). Some of the alphabets are namely katakana, kanji, romaji and hiragana. In schools, children have to learn 2000 alphabets inclusive of Kanji, and in America, there are only 26 alphabets thus making learning a bit hectic in Japan compared to America.

Due to homogeneity and individualism in America, it has reduced their creativity level. This commonly known as "Rugged individualism" Japanese culture is well known for their respect to teachers and elders (Cavallaro & Dani, 102). Teachers are referred to as sensei and treated with a lot of respect both from parents and students making them be paid more. The Religious diversity is more in America where you find there is Christianity, Catholic, Muslim, Judaism and more. In Japanese, nearly all of them are "Shinto," a native religion with beliefs of Confucianism.

The above cultural differences create a deep-rooted misunderstanding, which is why Americans are so fast and eager in censoring Japanese anime. The editing is performed by American companies like DIC entertainment and 4kids. The companies have received heavy criticism for deceptively making children think that they were watching original American content by concealing the source of the films they supplied. However, they failed at producing acting voice voices that seamlessly match the flow of the film.

America has succeeded in censoring some of the Japanese anime series, such as a battle to become ruler had to be made less violent. In this series there was a lot of gun usage and spilling of blood. T...

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