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Frames of Anime

Culture and Image-Building

Tze-Yue G. Hu

Publication Year: 2010

Japanese anime has long fascinated the world, and its mythical heroes and dazzling colors increasingly influence popular culture genres in the West. Tze-yue G. Hu analyzes the “language-medium” of this remarkable expressive platform and its many socio-cultural dimensions from a distinctly Asian frame of reference, tracing its layers of concentric radiation from Japan throughout Asia. Her work, rooted in archival investigations, interviews with animators and producers in Japan as well as other Asian animation studios, and interdisciplinary research in linguistics and performance theory, shows how dialectical aspects of anime are linked to Japan’s unique experience of modernity and its cultural associations in Asia, including its reliance on low-wage outsourcing. Her study also provides English readers with insights on numerous Japanese secondary sources, as well as a number of original illustrations offered by animators and producers she interviewed.

Published by: Hong Kong University Press, HKU


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p. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. 2-5


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pp. v-vi

List of Illustrations

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pp. vii-viii

A Note to the Reader

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pp. ix-11

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pp. xi-xiii

The writing of this book took place while I was a visiting scholar at the University of Oklahoma and more recently, a lecturer at the University’s School of International and Area Studies. I thank the institution for providing me an anchoring place to complete the work. The University of Oklahoma allowed me access to its library...

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pp. 1-12

This book examines a late twentieth-century Japanese “invention” that fascinates and dominates the world. It does not come in a hard form, quantifiable, as in metal or in liquid state with tactile and tangible qualities. It is neither a Toyota nor a Honda over-2000 cc. sedan-car model; nor is it a cup of Nissin seafood noodles. It is a “toon...

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1. Origins of the Japanese Art of Animating

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pp. 13-23

Animation is a visual language and an act of communicating. Technically defined, it is a movement-based medium in which each image is captured through the camera in order to create a series of alleged movements. The image may be hand-drawn or computer-generated; the material-base may be a cel sheet (transparent...

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2. Continuity of Art Forms and Their Visualness

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pp. 25-43

Every country has its own repository of art forms, but whether it takes pride and interest in preserving them, re-understanding the contexts of their production, or even has the means to constantly exhibit them worldwide is another matter. In Afghanistan and places that are situated on the western portions...

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3. Cultural Thought, Expressing the Self, and Image-Building

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pp. 45-57

At the turn of the 1970s, Japan, the country which Barthes subsequently summed up as an “Empire of Signs,” was seen as devoid of a center, from fragmentary bits of food, mechanical pachinko games, nameless streets, and spiritually empty train stations, to the packaging of a gift, the cursiveness...

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4. Development of Japanese Animation up to the End of the Second World War

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pp. 59-75

It really did not take long for this country in the Far East to find its film image, which was “a topic in the world market.” While the 1937 Year Book does not place all emphasis on the medium of animation (others that were categorically discussed in detail include the fictional live-action films, documentaries...

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5. Postwar Japanese Animation Development and Toei Animation Studio

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pp. 77-103

How did Japan emerge from a past that took lives of millions of young men who were called to serve on the front lines and many more of civilian children and women who either died or suffered in the atomic bombings at Hiroshima and Nagasaki? Compare the Japanese plight with the rest of Asia which had only just...

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6. Miyazaki and Takahata Anime Cinema

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pp. 105-135

This chapter continues to trace the postwar development of Japanese animation from the 1970s onward. In particular, the rise of master animator Miyazaki Hayao and his colleague, animation director Takahata Isao, will be discussed in detail. In examining the eminence of Japan’s animation industry, the close...

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7. Anime in Asia: A Case of Cultural Imperialism?

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pp. 137-163

This concluding chapter analyzes the development of the animation medium in various parts of Asia. It discusses not only the influence of anime per se but also that of Western animation to a certain extent, particularly American-made animation. It asks fundamentally why animated works (including...

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pp. 165-168

As this book was under preparation, there have already been many publications on anime in the market. A number of them are selected writings or essays written by authors who have been specially solicited. These publications showcase and interpret different dimensions and popularity of the medium...

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Appendix 1

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pp. 169-173

As we vaguely recall, about 17 years ago we began our research on cartoon art. We went through many difficulties and failures and tried to achieve satisfactory results. This may be due to the many aspects of a career one has to experience and the hardship posed by the environment. After an episode of success...

Appendix 2

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pp. 175-177


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pp. 179-200


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pp. 201-203

Animated Works Cited

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pp. 205-206


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pp. 207-217


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pp. 219-228

E-ISBN-13: 9789882205246
Print-ISBN-13: 9789622090972

Page Count: 256
Illustrations: 2 b/w tables
Publication Year: 2010

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Asia -- Civilization -- Japanese influences.
  • Culture in motion pictures.
  • Motion pictures, Japanese -- Asia -- History.
  • Animated films -- Japan -- History.
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