Miyazaki discourse/ushiroomiruna/1970s

M Arnold ma_iku
Wed Jan 26 02:19:41 EST 2000

Hi everyone.

Three messages in one, so this ended up a little long...

>From: Aaron Gerow <gerow at ynu.ac.jp>
>Hayao Miyazaki : Master of Japanese Animation : Films, Themes, >Artistry by 
>Helen McCarthy [...]
>Any comments on these?  Anyone see any articles they liked?  Can >anyone 
>talk about the themes, shape, and nature of the discourse on >Miyazaki?

I've read about half of McCarthy's book, and I have somewhat mixed feelings 
about it so far.  First of all, I do like it--It gives a well-researched, 
detailed and interesting look into Miyazaki's background and work.  It's 
probably the most in-depth original writing on Miyazaki I've seen in 
English.  On the other hand, while there is a good deal of "commentary" 
about half of the space is devoted to story synopses, character descriptions 
and pictures.  Despite all the valuable information, the book lacks a clear 
thesis and ends up a sort of fan handbook instead of a sturdy examination of 
Miyazaki's films.

It's put together more or less like Donald Richie's "The Films of Akira 
Kurosawa," reviewing each film with different sections on story, background, 
commentary, and etcetera, but it doesn't reach the critical depth of the 
latter.  McCarthy treats Miyazaki seriously as an animator, but as a 
filmmaker... ?  I'm not so sure.  The book also struggles a little to find a 
"Japanese" context to put him in.  Considering its good points though (and 
of course the audience it's selling to), I think it was worth my money and I 
would recommend it.

Recently I've been tracking down some more Japanese writing on Miyazaki and 
anime.  Books by Saito Minako, Sato Kenji, and Inoue Shizuka, also Kinejun 
and Eureka special issues, etc.  While I won't say these works all strike me 
as "academic" they definitely try to tackle more difficult topics than 
anything I've seen in English.  Gender stereotypes, the "left wing" and 
political issues, culturally and historically-based critiques...  I still 
get the impression that western audiences don't want to challenge their 
'fun' with Miyazaki (or anime) by asking such difficult questions.

Last week I had the chance to borrow a copy of Kurosawa Kiyoshi's 
made-for-TV film from last October (?).  Does anyone know if it will or has 
been rebroadcast, or if it will be released to video in the future?

Finally, one query--can anyone point out political or social events that may 
have had an effect on trends in the film and television in the early to mid 
1970s?  AMPO, the oil shock, Mishima or anything of the sort.  When I say 
"trends" I'm thinking party of the "anime boom," pornography, and this 
well-noted, somewhat vague "decline" in Japanese film in general, but I'm 
interested in hearing any ideas.  Also if there is any good writing on 
trends in Japanese film during the 1970s, I'd really appreciate 

Mike A
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