- 国際文化論集 (ISSN:09170219)
- no.35, pp.101-122, 2006-12-05
In this study of the globalization of "Miyazaki Anime", I focus on MiyazakiHayao's twin masterpieces "Spirited Away" (『千と千尋の神隠し』; 2001),which achieved astonishing box-office returns of more than 30 billion yen, and"Princess Mononoke" (『もののけ姫』; 1997), which was also a top box-officehit in Japan and became the first of Miyazaki's works to become widely popularoutside Japan. The core of the study is a comparative analysis of how thetwo works, both of which were set in Japan, were received in three differentcultures : Japan, the USA, and Taiwan.Using a comparative-culture viewpoint to investigate the true nature ofwhat is called the "globalization of Miyazaki Anime", the research indicatedthat the reception of the two movies was strongly influenced by cultural traitsin the three cultures examined. Moreover, it was found that the degree andnature of understanding of a work outside its native culture tended to bestrongly affected by things like editing and translation, resulting in images thatsometimes seemed quite different from the original. In other words, "globalization"went hand in hand with "localization", and the degree of understandingof a particular work differed according to how closely it approached local culturalnorms. Although it is natural to feel distant from a work originating inanother culture, if the work can be made to include even a small number ofelements with which local people can empathize even while they find otherelements incongruous, it will help them to understand that work. When theelement they empathize with is the core of the story, the work gains thepower of speaking to those people as strongly as it spoke to the people in theoriginal culture.Japanese people familiar with Miyazaki's works and with Miyazaki's policyof allowing audiences to make their own conclusions about the "meaning" ofa particular movie may regret the changes brought by such things as the additionof extra lines and the culturally-influenced translation introduced byDisney, the distributors of his movies in the USA. On the other hand, whateverwas lost from the original as a result of such changes it can also be arguedthat they resulted in a deeper understanding of the movies outside Japan, andMiyazaki himself seems to have concurred in this view. This is because audiencesof a particular movie originating in a culture that is not their own willinstinctively seek elements that concur with their own cultural understanding.To the degree that they find such elements, even if they continue to experiencesome elements of "strangeness", the movie will be a success, andcan then be said to have been successfully "localized", which is to say"globalized".The study found that, because of historical and geographical factors, the degreeof understanding of and empathy with Miyazaki's movies tended to bestronger in Taiwan than in the USA, particularly in the case of "SpiritedAway". For Japanese audiences, Miyazaki's movies have a timeless qualitythat resulted in their becoming such monster hits. Although, commerciallyspeaking they did not have the same success outside Japan, receipt of theAcademy Award for animation together with the high critical acclaim themovie enjoyed in both cultures (as well as in the rest of the world) indicatesthat Miyazaki's movies successfully navigated the process of "globalization" /"localization", and became movies that could be enjoyed on the world stage.