The Japanese Entertainment Industry Essay

The Japanese Entertainment Industry

Thirty-five years ago, Japan’s entertainment industry found an answer to its problems. Still developing in the aftermath of defeat in World War II, and the subsequent restructuring plan instituted by the United States, Japan was without surplus resources. There was no money for the production of films. American films soon began invading the Japanese entertainment industry. Yet the Japanese people longed for entertainment which would reflect their own culture. And so “animation…developed in Japan to fill the void of high-budget film-making” (Marin, 69). In the years that followed, animation would take a pop-cultural foothold in Japan that has grown and transformed, and yet exists today. Even with the onset of increasing economic fortitude, animation continued to flourish within Japan’s entertainment industry. The creative possibilities of animation’s unparalleled visual story-telling capacities had been discovered by Japanese filmmakers, and would continue to be exploited into the present age. Japanese animation, more commonly referred to as anime, or Japanimation, has somewhat different origins than western animation. Where animation developed to entertain European and American children through comedic exploits, anime was created to entertain wider audience groups. Indeed, one might find difficulty in characterizing all anime together; the Japanese have viewed animation as a medium of creation rather a form of entertainment limited in audience and expression. Anime is included in a group from which the United States has traditionally banned animation; specifically, anime is considered a form of creative expression, much as are literature, modern art, live-action films, and other arts. A man by the name of Osamu Tezuka first envisioned animation’s possibilities in Japan in the 1960s (Ledoux, 1). Tezuka realized the power animation couldlend to story-telling, and produced a myriad of animated films and television programs from which modern-day anime has made its genesis. At first heavily influenced by Disney’s animation, Tezuka’s animation soon transcended the confines within which American animation had placed itself. Tezuka can be credited today with being the first to produce animation for a sophisticated audience. Osamu Tezuka adapted comics, the most popular form of entertainment in Japan, to his animatio…

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…on’s superiority over American animation. In fact, most do not even consider the two comparable. Japanimation has proven its quality on various levels, and certainly deserves the respect it is beginning to receive. Japanese animation is superior to American animation in form and content. Fans prefer anime’s audiovisual presentation. Fans thrill to Japanimation’s action, and become enthralled in its story lines. Japanese animation has proven itself superior not only to American animation, but also to animation the world over, and today anime is starting a revolution in the idea of animation as a hobby. A multitude of fresh, exciting adventures that have until present remained unexperienced in the United States wait overseas. If Japanese animation is given a warm enough reception in the years to come it could provide entertainment for many walks of American society. Trish Ledoux’s sentiment regarding anime is perhaps most significant in the comparison of Japanese animation to American animation:In technique, style, and above all, maturity…[sic] – Japanese animators have long since gone where no American animators have gone before. They’ve gone beyond. [Ledoux, 14]

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