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Exploring Popular Culture in Japan

September 21 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Don’t miss “Stillness in Motion: Making Sense of the ‘Anime Style,'” a talk by Dr. Brian White presented in conjunction with the Sugoi! 200 Years in Japanese Art exhibition!

How did anime get its distinctive style? When you think of anime, you probably think of a number of visual hallmarks: dynamic poses, quick movements, and of course, big eyes. But why did anime adopt these visual features? In this talk, we will explore the histories of “anime style” art and animation. Starting in the 1930s with Japanese wartime propaganda animation and its connections to Walt Disney, moving through Japan’s postwar reconstruction in the 1950s and ’60s, and arriving at our contemporary moment of transnational distribution and transmedia marketing, we will learn about the ways anime has developed in response to the conditions of Japanese society. Why do Goku and Naruto move so quickly that they seem to teleport? Why does Sailor Moon always go through her signature transformation? Why do animations from Studio Ghibli just look different from other anime? Come find out!

An Assistant Professor of Japanese at Kalamazoo College, Dr. Brian White teaches courses on Japanese language, literature, and popular culture. His current research explores how analog games have shaped the genre of high fantasy in Japan and thus have served as a crucial, but often overlooked, influence on the much larger industries of video games and anime, from Final Fantasy to isekai. Guiding these concerns is an abiding interest in the ways that our popular media help us articulate — and even create — our identities on the personal, national, and trans-national levels.

Admission to our September 23 screening of Mirai is free for all who attend this talk! Please check in at the front desk when you arrive.

$5 for members and $10 for nonmembers.

This is a hybrid event. To view the live stream, visit our YouTube page.