Libmonster ID: U.S.-1412
Author(s) of the publication: E. KATASONOVA

What is the hallmark of modern Japan today? This is no longer an ikebana, not a tea ceremony, or even computers or robots, but Japanese animated films that have conquered the whole world - anime, popular comics-manga, original Japanese rock and pop music, now referred to as "J-rock" and "J-pop", original and relevant today Japanese fashion, etc. - everything that is considered to belong to the sphere of so-called "mass culture".

In the field of mass culture, which in the post-war years gradually became an integral part of the world cultural space, Japan for many years was far from the strongest and most authoritative player, if we do not take into account, of course, the mass production of first - class televisions, stereo and video recorders, etc., established in Japan, which helped to introduce residents of many countries to heroes of Hollywood films, a collection of Disney cartoons, and other attributes of Western mass culture.

About the most modern culture of Japan in the world knew little. In recent years, as if trying to resolve this contradiction, the Japanese have introduced the world to the most interesting and original mass culture, which harmoniously combines the experience of centuries-old traditions and all the latest achievements that came from outside. This culture not only thrives widely on Japanese soil, but also attracts a lot of attention from abroad.


In the second half of the XX century. Japan has made an impressive economic breakthrough, followed by a new one - cultural. Perhaps only Japan today has been able to provide a worthy response to the United States ' long-standing cultural hegemony in the field of mass culture - American jazz, Disney animation, Hollywood's dominance in world cinema, etc.

Japanese animation and comics have found their adherents - "fans" - all over the world and entered the international lexicon. New generations of young Americans, Europeans and Asians grew up not on "Mickey Mouse" and "Tom and Jerry", but on Japanese animation-the so-called "anime", starting with the films "Mighty Atom" (Astroy-Boy)," Beautiful Warrior Sailor Moon " (Sailor Moon)*, The number of "anime fan clubs" and Internet pages of the same name has reached huge numbers, and such "anime hits" as "Akira" and "Ghost in the Shell", which appeared on the video, brought millions of dollars. profit to their creators. The children's series "Pokemon Monsters" was successfully shown on TV screens in 65 countries.

Japanese video games" Street Fighter "(Street Fighter)," Final Fantasy " (Final Fantasy) and others occupy a leading position among other samples of this product and enjoy the greatest popularity among its main consumers-school-age children. Such cultural products as toys "tamagotchi", "Pokemon" and others have recently flooded literally all countries.

No less popular today are Japanese comics - "manga", which are translated into many languages of the world and read with great interest in many countries. The influence of manga, its drawing and aesthetics is reflected even in Western fashion and graphic design.

Japan today ranks among the first places in the world in terms of film production, which in recent years has consistently received worldwide recognition at prestigious international film festivals. Japanese TV production has also made its way to the TV screens of Europe and America, not to mention the countries of Southeast Asia and Latin America, where Japanese TV dramas and series have become an integral part of local television.

Japanese commercials, various pop and show groups are gaining more and more fans outside of Japan, especially among young people, and the musical invention of the inhabitants of the Land of the Rising Sun "karaoke" has now conquered the whole world forever. Japanese popular singers with a huge

* In Russia, it was called "The Moon in a Sailor suit".

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They perform well in Hong Kong, China, and other countries where local record labels make their own arrangements of popular Japanese songs. Famous Japanese musician Tetsuya Komuro creates sound tracks for many Hollywood films. Vocalist Miwa Yoshida is featured on the covers of Time magazine, and female groups Shonen Knife and others have numerous fans in many countries around the world.

In Taiwan and Hong Kong, teenagers imitate Japanese pop idols and TV stars, as well as models of Japanese youth magazines such as Non-No. Gossip about Japanese bohemians like Takuya Kimura and Noriko Sakai fills the local Asian newspapers.

Even in South Korea, where anti-Japanese sentiments are particularly strong as echoes of Japan's colonial rule in this country (1910-1945), there is a very strong craving for Japanese popular culture, especially among young people. At the same time, Japanese music, comics, fashion magazines mainly circulate here as "underground".

In a word, Japanese mass culture is very relevant today not only within the country, but also in many countries of the world, and actively influences attitudes and value orientations, especially among young people. Along with automobiles, electronics and other goods, it has become an important export item for Japan.

What is the reason for the acute relevance of Japanese mass culture in the world?


The contemporary mass culture of Japan is acutely responsive to at least two main impulses that reflect the current state of Japanese society, including its spiritual component. First of all, modern Japan is a society with a highly developed economy and technology, with a high level of education and consumption, with high social achievements. Like other highly developed countries, it is in the state that sociologists define by the concept of "mass society" with its derivative-the psychology of" mass man", which was formed against the background of the rapid development of new forms of life in the post-war period under the influence of the processes of urbanization, bureaucratization, informatization, and the growth of social mobility. And as a result of these processes, here, as in other countries, the three most important negative social trends of Western civilizations are becoming more and more clear.

The first is an axiological transformation, i.e. the rejection of spiritual values in favor of material ones. In a social sense, this leads to the strengthening of the consumer industry and the formation of a consumer mentality limited to purely material, domestic and sensual interests with increasingly fading cultural aspirations.

The second trend is the growth of individualism, which causes the rooting of personal interest and personal benefit against the interests of society.

The third trend is the displacement of true spiritual culture by "mass culture".

Since the early 1960s, experts have been concerned about the active penetration of Western mass art samples into Japanese reality and the "Americanization" of Japanese culture. It was primarily about the purely quantitative penetration of samples of the American cultural industry into Japan through mass communication channels, cinema, and literature. The streets of Tokyo were filled with young men and women with hair dyed in incredible colors, dressed, according to the concepts of the time, in monstrous outfits. American programs began to be constantly broadcast on television, American films flooded the Japanese cinema screen. Everywhere - at concert venues, in numerous bars-American jazz began to sound, which later gave way to heavy rock. And these phenomena "seem so all-encompassing to people who come to Japan for ten or fifteen days that they leave Japan, confident of the death of Japanese culture. Even a man like Charlie Chaplin, after visiting Japan, said that there is "a lot of Coca-Cola and everything connected with it" 1.

All these are essential attributes of the appearance of modern Japan, and in these processes Japan is very similar to other developed countries of the world. But, being a modern highly developed society and sharing all the problems of mass society with the leading states, Japan retains many traditional features that make both the process of developing mass society and the mass culture generated by it very peculiar. Japanese society has always been and still is a native Japanese one, and this country with its rich cultural traditions has never broken with its past. The cultural influence of Europe and America on Japan still remains largely superficial. As the historical experience of this country shows, they always tried to adopt from abroad what corresponded to Japanese traditions, rejecting everything that contradicted them.

The whole paradox is that mass culture, by its very nature, not only does not contradict the national artistic foundations, but, on the contrary, has a fairly fertile ground in the Japanese environment for its wide distribution. This is due to both the national mentality, based on the principle of so-called group consciousness, and traditional forms of collective artistic activity.

The prevalence of collective forms of aesthetic behavior is confirmed by numerous examples from the life of modern Japanese people. This includes joint admiring nature, various festivals, competitions for both professionals and amateurs, and, of course, traditional poetry tournaments that have been held in Japan annually since the XIV century. By the way, poetry has always been one of the most popular types of folk art in this country. Addition of haiku (three lines with alternating syllables 5 - 7 - 5) is a popular sport in modern Japan

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arts: haiku lovers ' clubs exist in almost all cities.

The concept of "mass culture" has a double meaning. In its literal meaning, such a culture claims to be the culture of the masses. But what is supposedly democratic and accessible to the masses, in reality has a pronounced commercial meaning. Mass culture itself creates its own market for consumers of this culture, fixes this or that type of product, for which a constant demand is formed. At the same time, mass culture is not necessarily only works of kitsch, "second - class"art. The main condition for its functioning is the creation of a cultural subtext in which any content is easily typed and easily accessible to perception.

Unlike traditional Japanese culture, which is not always accessible to a wide range of readers or viewers, Japanese mass culture, built according to the world canons of this genre, with all its pronounced national flavor, has a universality that provides it with "profitability" even in an audience that is very far from Japanese culture. The promotion of Japanese mass culture in countries that are historically and geopolitically close to Japan is particularly successful.

In general, in terms of the effectiveness of the impact of mass culture, Japan still lags to some extent behind Europe and especially the United States. However, Japan, unlike the United States, is an ancient country with a developed culture and centuries-old traditions, and therefore its mass culture is much more developed and multifaceted than in the United States.


Mass culture is a very broad, controversial concept with very blurred boundaries, which determines the multiplicity and ambiguity of approaches and points of view on its essence and forms of its functioning. Suffice it to say that today, in the context of the rapid invasion of mass culture in various spheres of life of Japanese society, we can simultaneously talk about clearly showing signs of its disintegration into smaller segments - subcultures.

Take, for example, such a huge layer of it as youth culture, which in itself is a huge cultural space, very peculiar, isolated and largely autonomous. In turn, there are quite a large number of subcultures in Japanese youth culture. These are, for example, the so-called "crystallists "(kurisutaruzoku) - a kind of" golden youth", accustomed to expensive cars, fashionable clothes, who chose the most fashionable areas of Tokyo as a place of pastime. The next gradation is "bamboo shoots "(takenokozoku), a more democratic, although rather rich layer of the youth "party". This name comes from a popular store on the busiest youth street in the Japanese capital - Harajuku, where, in fact, this young "growth"grows. Their equipment is a bright shocking "outfit", often stylized as Chinese and other national costumes, and once a favorite activity-rock and roll in city parks. And this is not the whole world of Japanese youth culture with its mysterious countries-subcultures that fashionable modern Japanese writers like to describe in their novels.

The counter-trend of the Japanese cultural space, as, indeed, of the entire modern industrial world , is the blurring of the once clearly defined boundaries between elite and mass culture, mass and popular, mass and traditional, etc., which were outlined at the beginning of the XX century. Perhaps this is why some researchers point out the need to introduce the concept of "middle culture", which should replace "mass culture"2. This raises a legitimate question: is this process a new cultural phenomenon of the twenty-first century, or was the division of culture itself into strictly defined spheres defined by classical criteria from the very beginning only a theoretical one, but not a reflection of reality?

In Japan, as in other Eastern cultures, there is no clear distinction at all between the concepts of "mass" and "popular" culture, at least in terminology. If in English we refer to popular culture as "mass", and this is the term used to define "mass culture", then in Japanese the situation is the opposite. It is almost impossible to find a language that fully corresponds to the concept of "popular culture", unless, of course, you exclude direct borrowing from English. According to the established tradition, it corresponds to the combination of words "taishu bunka", which literally means"mass culture".

Another meaning put into the concept of "mass" or "popular" culture is "popular" culture (mineyu bunka-literally translated "mass culture" or "democratic culture"). However, we cannot admit that mass culture is a simple stratification of popular culture. The concept of "folk culture" indicates, firstly, its non-special nature (amateur activity, folk art). And secondly, to connect with traditional culture. The fixation of tradition, of course, is connected with the ethnic group. Therefore, within the framework of the civilizational structure of the modern world, "traditional culture" is not included in "mass culture". Although it is clear that the production of" mass culture " cannot do without the archetypes of traditional thinking, without the traditional values developed over the centuries, without the assimilation of aesthetic preferences by many generations.

A number of theorists even insist that elite art can function according to the laws of mass culture, if we are talking, in particular, about classical music broadcast on the radio to a wide audience.

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The most famous semantic opposition is "elite culture" - "mass culture". In the history of Japanese culture, the so - called elite culture-the culture of the ruling classes, which has survived to this day-has always been clearly defined. This is, first of all, the culture of the court aristocracy, which was the creator and keeper of the ceremonial art - solemn dances "bugaku" and the accompanying music "gagaku". This type of music and choreographic art was outside the general course of development of musical and theatrical art in Japan. He was not affected by the theatrical innovations of the XIV - XVI centuries associated with the creative activity of the established military class, nor by the revolutionary changes in this area associated with the entry into the social arena of the third estate, nor by the fateful events of the XX century.

Currently, the main patron of this art form is still the Japanese imperial court, Shinto and Buddhist temples, and various ceremonial and ritual events serve as a stage platform. However, in recent years, court artists working under the Management of the imperial house have increasingly begun to strive for independent creative activity and perform solo concerts not only in various cities of Japan, but also abroad with popular concert programs that include songs from the Beatles ' repertoire and hits from modern films. And you can see this by visiting the concerts of the famous Japanese musician Togi Shigeki, who can compete with many Japanese pop idols in popularity.

Another example of elite Japanese culture is the Noo theater, which was considered the ceremonial art of the samurai warrior class. Long before our time, during the Edo period (1603-1867), the Noo Theater's performances gradually moved from the high walls of the Shogun's castles, where only honored guests were invited, to the streets and the broad masses of the people. And one of the main reasons for this phenomenon was banal commerce.

Usually these were benefit performances, the fees from which went to the actors. Every Noo actor could count on such a performance once in their life. A temporary outdoor stage was specially constructed for this occasion. A covered gallery for the nobility was arranged around the stage, and inside this enclosed space there were standing and sitting places for ordinary spectators.

The performance started early in the morning and was uploaded late in the evening. Such benefit performances lasted for several days. For example, the benefit of the outstanding actor Jose Tomoyuki, held in Edo (the old name of Tokyo) in 1848, lasted 15 days. It was attended by about 200 actors, the performances gathered 60 thousand people. there are 3 viewers.

But rare meetings with people did not change the essence of the situation. The Noo Theater remained the ceremonial theater of the samurai ruling class. The inclusion of the art of Leo in the active spiritual life of urban estates took a different path. The Kabuki Citizens ' Theater began to borrow various elements from the Doe Theater's arsenal of artistic tools. The traditions of this theater organically grew into a single national complex of Japanese traditional theater. They are still alive today as cultural treasures of the distant past, like paintings and sculptures stored in museums. This persistence of a specific Japanese taste seems to have something to do with the pre-modern structure of Japanese society.

Today, the very concept of "elite culture" in Japan is beginning to change its meaning, or rather, its orientation to the past. Its development vector is directed to a different time and artistic space-modernism. Appealing to the tastes of the elite, it relies on various trends of avant-garde art, accessible only to a limited circle of its fans, which is undergoing an intensive process of turning the avant-garde into consumer goods art, since "elite culture" has already largely lost its identity and changed its main orientation to the past.


The ambiguity of understanding the essence of mass culture leads to insufficiently clear definitions of the historical circumstances of its origin. Some culturologists consider it exclusively the brainchild of the modern scientific and technological revolution and associate its appearance with the development of mass media, while others look for its direct origins either in the XIX century, or in feudal society, or even in the ancient world.

During the Middle Ages, many Japanese temples combined features of the Shinto and Buddhist religions. Theatrical performances were often staged here to attract the faithful, especially during the holidays. Professional dancers and musicians were assigned to serve these performances at the temples. They were sometimes sent on trips around the country, during which they moved from place to place, staged performances in order to collect donations for the needs of the temple.

During the period of feudal fragmentation and turmoil, the only spectacular arts for the common people were ritual dances in temples, folk dances during holidays, infrequent performances of the Noo theater for the general public, arranged during the collection of donations for temples, and occasional performances by traveling actors.

Once, at the turn of the 16th and 17th centuries, a temple dancer from Izumo Province named Okuni performed an open-air prayer dance (nembutsu-odori) in Kyoto. She began, as was customary, chanting: "Man is mortal. Money is dust. Read the Buddha, " and in the pauses she would ring a bell, as if performing an established ritual. Gradually, however, her movements took on an openly erotic character, very far from the original.

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religious context. The success of this performance was instant and noisy. Everyone wanted to see an extraordinary dance-prayer with an unexpected change of character and content.

Inspired by her success, Okuni gradually expanded the program of her performances. Often Okuni appeared on stage in a man's costume with two samurai swords in her belt and portrayed a passionate love for a courtesan. Her partner was a man dressed in a woman's dress. The extravagance of the show fully corresponded to the true meaning of the word "kabuki", which consisted of two parts:" kabu "- song and dance and" ki " - artist, courtesan (in the XIX century this hieroglyph was replaced by another with the same sound, but meant skill, skill).

Thousands of citizens gathered for performances of the Okuni troupe, all performances took place in the open air.

It was then that theatrical performances began to be called "sibai" (on the grass). Now this word in Japan refers to any theatrical performance, but at first it referred only to Kabuki theater.

The performances were a huge success with the townspeople and even more so with the samurai, who were bored with the decent plays of the Noo theater. During the performances, various conflicts often arose among fans of Kabuki art - shouting at their favorite actress, fights due to rivalry or jealousy, etc. So the government had ample reason to view this theater as a source of social corruption. Beginning in 1629, strict measures were taken, first to restrict and then to prohibit female Kabuki, and to remove women from the stage and gradually replace women's troupes, first with youth troupes, and then, once and for all, with men's troupes.


Apparently, the most convincing argument is made by those who see the origins of mass culture in feudal society.

Identical processes, now commonly referred to as" massification of culture", are inherent in all countries where a new"middle class" was born and grew. For Japan , this period is defined by the time boundaries of the Edo period, which coincided with the reign of the Tokugawa dynasty of military rulers - shoguns (1603-1967).

The culture of this period is characterized by a special democracy and an amazing combination of artistic and functional. Its creators, heroes, and main consumers were the broadest strata of the so - called "middle class" that was born in the depths of Japanese feudal society-the townspeople, among whom the young bourgeoisie was formed and developed.

The "Genroku" period (1688-1704), the "golden age" of Japanese urban culture, which is often referred to as the Japanese Renaissance, stands out especially in the Edos period. The most striking symbol of the Japanese Renaissance was the concept of "Ukiyo", the spirit of which permeated the entire urban culture of this period.

The concept of "Ukiyo" is the aesthetic code of this era, a kind of key to its understanding. In the original Buddhist interpretation, "ukiyo" - a changeable, perishable world, everyday vanity, is often also translated as"floating world". Zen Buddhism taught the impermanence and impermanence not only of human life, but of every thing, every object that constitutes a ghostly and momentary Existence. Therefore, the everyday world turned out to be "floating" - there was nothing stable and durable in it.

In a slightly different hieroglyphic spelling, "Ukiyo" refers to the modern customs and customs of the common people. A number of researchers in relation to this era consider the word "lust" to be the most accurate equivalent of the concept of "ukiyo" - so strong were the sensual motives in the life and art of the townspeople of that time.

From time immemorial, sex has always occupied a very important place in Japanese culture. The literature of Japan, from the Heian period (794-1186), was literally

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steeped in sensuality. However, in the visual arts of this era, we find few examples of nude bodies. The fact is that in Japan, human flesh has long been considered a natural extension of nature. The sense of shame in the European sense of the word has always been contrasted with its natural essence, which is closely related to Shinto beliefs and rituals. Ancient Japanese myths are full of sexual episodes, among which the most famous is the myth of the origin of the Japanese islands as the fruit of the love of the two gods Izanagi and Izanami. "In Japanese culture, there was no consciousness of original sin in relation to sex, as was the case in Christian cultures," writes Japanese cultural anthropologist T. Eneyama.4

Energetic, active representatives of the emerging bourgeoisie, who possessed real wealth, but were deprived of political rights, asserted themselves in the world of pleasure and entertainment - "ukiyo". It was a world of fleeting pleasures, theaters and restaurants, booths and sumo wrestlers ' competitions, dating houses, public baths, etc.

A special place in this stream of entertainment was occupied by the so-called "gay quarters" with their permanent inhabitants: courtesans, geishas, actors, dancers, musicians, singers, storytellers, buffoons, small merchants. They became unique centers of a new, vibrant and full-blooded urban culture, around which new genres of literature, music, visual and theatrical art were formed and developed.

The outstanding writer of everyday life of that time, the famous playwright Chikamatsu Monzaemon, made real people - ordinary citizens-heroes of the theatrical stage. Chikamatsu also wrote extensively for the Kabuki Theater, which can rightly be called the citizens ' Theater, since its development is associated with the birth of the young bourgeoisie and the strengthening of its position in the life of Japanese society. And as a reflection of these processes, the whole life of the townspeople with their family and social conflicts, with vivid pictures of the life of the "merry neighborhoods" and erotic scenes, as well as nerve-tingling spectacles, creepy ghost stories and terrible bloody murder scenes moved to the Kabuki scene.

Another popular pastime among the townspeople was reading books. With the inclusion of intellectual activity of the third estate, the circle of readers and writers has expanded dramatically. At the same time, the art of the writer, which became highly valued with the advent of modern times, was considered as an entertainment tool in this era. And although some of the writers rose in their work to true artistic heights, most of the writers of that time were content only with a comfortable existence and the nickname given to them "gesakusha "( authors of entertainment books), not at all ashamed to indulge the tastes of readers.


Especially popular in medieval Japan was the literary genre "kusa-josi", which stood out from the primitive genre of" ehon " - books with pictures. The essence of "kusa-josi" is that this literature is a story in pictures, which attracts the reader not so much with text as with illustrations. After images of scenes from Kabuki theater were used as illustrations for them, the tendency to lose their independent character as works of fiction sharply increased. Instead of "kusa-josi" came their new modern version - "emihon".

To make it easier for the reader to navigate this diverse stream of entertaining fiction, books that were similar in nature were distinguished in a peculiar series by the color of the covers: in red-books for children, in black and blue-retellings of the plots of plays from Kabuki and Dzururi theaters, narratives about past military exploits of samurai, stories about ghosts and miracles, in yellow-humorous content. Moreover, images determined the success of books no less than text.

The spread of" stories in pictures " has always been facilitated by the complexity and ambiguity of Japanese writing, which has led to a certain syncretism of Japanese art, combining painting with literary creativity. This allowed Japanese writers and artists to portray a world that was inaccessible to only one art form, because they complemented each other.

Almost immediately after the appearance of Japanese prose, its illustrated retellings (e-hon) appeared, in which there was little text, and illustrations played the main role. Such handwritten works of antiquity were mostly rolled up in a tube and had many similarities with paintings in the form of horizontal scrolls - "emakimono". This form of painting made it possible to convey the image of a continuously unfolding landscape, which had a rather vivid-a kind of cinematic-effect.

This kind of Japanese art

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It can be called "narrative painting" 5 and this definition can be applied to many genres of literature and painting in medieval Japan, as well as to many examples of modern Japanese culture. All these features will be further embodied in the famous Japanese manga and anime.

The rapid spread of literature6 and the expansion of the readership necessitated frequent reprints of books. There were more reprints than new publications. By the end of the 17th century, a real publishing industry had developed in Japan. It was distinguished by the presence of large publishing houses, professional writers and book illustrators. In the context of widespread literacy and the cultural flourishing of cities, books were often published in tens of thousands of copies to satisfy the increased readership. In the middle of the 18th century, libraries were widely distributed, which could be used by those who did not have the opportunity to purchase new books.

One of the most interesting areas of publishing activity in Japan during the Tokugawa period (1603 - 1867) was the release of peculiar newspapers - leaflets with news, which were called "kawaraban" (an impression from a clay board). They were printed from baked clay boards, which were cheaper than wooden ones and easier to work with, since writing text on raw clay followed by firing required less time and skill.

The first samples of "kavaraban" were rough sheets of paper measuring 24x12 cm, with a carelessly written, far from calligraphic handwriting, text. Later, large bookstores, which were traditionally publishing houses, began to print more extensive and better-designed versions of such leaflets with gossip from the life of the "merry quarters" and with reports of scandalous pair suicides of courtesans and their lovers. After the intervention of government officials, the subject of the news changed somewhat. The leaflets began to report on natural disasters, accidents and noble deeds, and then acquired political content and continued to be published until the appearance of real newspapers.

But to an even greater extent, the history of the development of Japanese printing is connected with the formation of the genre of Japanese prints "ukiyo-e" and "nishiki-e", which is perhaps the most vivid and large-scale layer of Japanese urban culture of the Edo period. Originating at the intersection of painting and craft, Japanese printmaking had all the hallmarks of popular culture: accessibility, cheapness, and popularity. Initially, in Japan itself, it was not considered a work of art, but only cheap fun. It was very cheap and plentiful. It was used to cover walls, screens, sliding partitions and doors, and was used as packaging material for shipping boxes of tea and ceramics to Europe. By the way, many of the European collections came to Europe in this way.

Unlike the European author's engraving, "ukiyo-e" was the result of collective creativity. The artist drew a black-and-white base and marked the coloring of individual parts, the carver transferred the picture to the board, and the printer selected colors and transferred the image to paper. Over the course of two hundred years, the technique of engraving developed from black and white to multi-color, also called "brocade paintings".

Ukiyo-e prints were published in a wide variety of forms: in the form of book illustrations, art albums and individual sheets, which were often combined into diptychs, triptychs and series, as well as in the form of scrolls with sketches from theatrical life, etc. Japanese artists such as Kitagawa Utamaro, Katsushika Hokusai, Ando Hiroshige, Toshiyusai Syaraku and others have been known for their depictions of Kabuki courtesans and actors, Japanese landscapes and urban scenes.

Less well-known in our country are Japanese erotic engravings of that time - the so-called "shunga", which means"spring pictures". But these, sometimes obscene, drawings were especially loved by the townspeople and were in mass demand. These works of mass art, which were valued very little at that time, are now extolled as the highest artistic examples.

"Like the jazz music of gambling and brothels in New Orleans, some' ukiyo-e ' or 'pictures of the floating world' has moved from the 'fun neighborhoods' to the art world, but it has taken a long time to do so."7

The greatest artistic talent of that time-the famous artist Katsushika Hokusai, who worked in almost all genres of engraving and especially successfully in the landscape genre, became famous, first of all, as an outstanding graphic artist. It is he who is credited with the appearance of the term "manga "(literally, strange or funny pictures, grotesques), which later became fixed for the designation of comics. Hokusai invented it in 1814 for a series of his travel sketches, or, as he called it, "drawings from life." For the whole rather long creative life

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the artist created a total of 15 volumes of "Manga" ("Book of Sketches"), and three of them were published after the author's death.

However, the prototype of modern manga has an even more ancient history. In the ancient tombs of Japanese rulers, archaeologists find drawings that somewhat resemble the content and structure of modern comics. Some researchers trace the lineage of the manga genre back to the seventh century. 8 However, most experts consider the first Japanese comic book to be "Funny Pictures from the Life of Animals and Birds" ("Tejugita"), created in the twelfth century by a Buddhist priest and artist Toba (another name - Toba, 1053-1140). These are four paper scrolls that show a sequence of black-and-white ink-drawn pictures with captions. The pictures were about animals playing people and Buddhist monks breaking the rules. Now these scrolls are considered a sacred relic and are kept in the monastery where the ascetic Alexander lived.

After the "discovery" of Japan after two and a half centuries of peaceful isolation of the country from the outside world, and especially after the restoration of the Meiji imperial power, many European artists arrived in the country, who had a great influence on Japanese artists who worked in the "manga" genre.

In 1863, a Japanese version of the magazine "Punch" appeared (published by the" Japanized " Englishman Ch. By Virgman). The drawings published in this magazine were very successful and became the object of imitation and copying for many Japanese painters. After that, even the special term "ponti-e" was invented, denoting cartoons in the European style. In 1877, the magazine "Toba-e" (pictures in the style of Toba), published by the Frenchman Georges Bigot, who lived in Japan, began to appear. Both publications were designed for the expanding settlements of foreigners in Japan and were published in English and French.

Over time, Japanese painters and graphic artists master the technique of European publications: "clouds" for speech (speech balloons), etc. In 1902, the first "comic" strip with dialogues in it (the so - called panel strip) appeared in Japan - the mainstay of modern comics, it is also called the comic strip-hence the name "comics".

However, purely Japanese comics - manga-did not enjoy success until the end of World War II. It was the 50s of the XX century that were marked by the rapid development of modern mass culture in Japan, the uniqueness of which lies in a pronounced national flavor.

Thus, despite the fact that mass culture is a peculiar phenomenon of social differentiation of modern culture, some functional and formal analogues can be found in the history of Japan since ancient times. Hence, we can assume that the basis of modern Japanese mass culture is formed by three main components: the ancient folklore and religious culture, the feudal culture of the Japanese Renaissance of the XVIII-XIX centuries, and, finally, the mass media that appeared in Japan at the end of the XIX century. due to restored contacts with Western countries.

At the same time, there is no doubt that the end of the XIX-beginning of the XX century should be considered the starting point in the emergence and development of mass culture in Japan in the modern sense of the word.

(The ending follows)

1 Musical life. 02. 09. 1987, N 17, p. 3.


Grisheleva L. D. 3 Formation of Japanese national culture, Moscow, 1986, p. 157.

Yoneyama Toshinao. 4 Sex // seventy-seven keys to the civilization of Japan. Osaka, 1985, p. 293.

5 This term is found in the work of D. T. Manchenkov " Narrative painting of medieval Japan and its influence on the modern mass culture of Japan (on the example of the phenomena of manga and ranga) -

6 By the mid-19th century, Japan had about 45% of literate men and 15% of literate women, roughly equivalent to Western countries. - Grisheleva L. D. Edict op., p. 152.


Miyao Shigeo. 8 Manga. Tokyo, 1983, p. 101.

What the magazine wrote about 30 years ago

"...It is no secret that it is the traditional ideology that certain circles are appealing to, which are now trying to revive militaristic and chauvinistic sentiments that are so dangerous primarily for the Japanese nation itself."

G. Sviridov. Literary portrait of a Samurai ("Asia and Africa Today", 1977, N 6)


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