Libmonster ID: U.S.-1413
Author(s) of the publication: E. KATASONOVA

If we turn to the history of modern Japanese mass culture, we can note that it clearly distinguishes three main stages: the end of the XIX century - the Second World War; the post-war years-the end of the XX century; the beginning of the XXI century-the modern period. The main milestones of this division can be considered the emergence of the first mass press-newspapers, magazines and the formation of cinema, then power passed into the hands of radio and television, and, finally, the Internet won the final victory in the entire media space, which defined new laws for the functioning of all other genres of mass culture.


The first wave of pop culture, which was based on media such as newspapers and magazines, novels, sheet music, music recordings and children's books, covers the period from the late 19th century to the Second World War. It was marked mainly by the development of the literary industry and the formation of the mass press in the modern sense of the word. Books, newspapers, and magazines have become large enterprises for "processing" the readership. Along with the news, newspapers widely disseminated the latest trends from urban-style centers: New York, Paris, London, etc., shaping the tastes and mores of the country's population.

Mass Japanese literature owes its appearance to the mass press. Kikuchi Kan's" Lady Pearl "("Shinju Fujin") paved the way for"public novels" to be published from issue to issue in newspapers. It was published in the Tokyo Nitinichi Shimbun and Osaka Mainichi Shimbun newspapers in October 1920 and was a great success.

The readers ' imagination was struck by the luxury of the depicted environment and the sharpness of the plot. From the pen of Kikuchi came a lot of similar works, which are based on the same type of melodrama, flavored in a fair amount of elements of romance, sentimentality and entertainment.

Public access to novels allowed Kikuchi Kan to take a leading position in the Bungei Shunju (Literary Chronicle) magazine, which began publishing in 1923. Under his leadership, he organized a group of young writers and promoted the distribution of cheap publications at the price of one yen. As a result of the success of the "public novels", writers who were known to a very limited circle of people until then were recognized by a wide mass of readers. In this genre, more and more new names began to appear: Masao Kume, Seijiro Kojima, Takeo Kato, Nobuko Yoshiya and others.

Perhaps those historians of Japanese literature are right who point out that "as the fashion for the' public novel 'spread, the desire to please unassuming tastes became more and more evident in it, and the boundary between it and the so-called 'pure literature' (junbungaku) became sharper and sharper. This position has been preserved to this day. " 1

But at the same time, the same authors cannot but admit that " in comparison with the previously widespread low-grade books like "kodan", this literature contributed to an increase in the cultural level of the general readership. It served a role that the so-called "pure literature"was not capable of.

Another powerful incentive for the spread of Japanese print was masha comics, which literally abounded in Japanese newspapers and magazines. For those who were "too busy to think", entire specialized comic book publications appeared in the form of individual magazines and small-format books. These years are the main period of searching for the place of comics in the system of modern Japanese culture. Their development was greatly influenced by European cartoons and American comics, which became famous in Japan in the second half of the 19th century.

The unprecedented rise of American comics at the beginning of the last century was accompanied by a surge in their popularity in Japan. Many Western samples were translated and redrawn for the Japanese reader. The first proper Japanese "serial" comic book with permanent characters (although created with a focus on American models) was the humorous color comic by R. Kitazawa " Tagosaku and Makube explore Tokyo "("Tagosaku to Makubeno Toke Kenbutsu"), which began to be published in 1902 in the magazine"Jiji manga". The comic told about the funny situations that two vagabonds from a distant province get into when they arrive in Tokyo and get entangled in a city rebuilt in the European style. Kitazawa became famous for being equally good at drawing in both European and Japanese styles. In 1905, he began publishing a magazine that published manga and brought together many talented manga artists.

Later, the militaristic government played a major role in the development of this genre in Japan, using mass culture to influence the country's population. The military funded the" correct " manga (it was even published in color for a while) and banned manga with political criticism, forcing former cartoonists

Ending. For the beginning, see "Asia and Africa Today", 2007, N 7.

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master adventure and fantasy stories. So, the idea of a "giant robot" first appeared in the revanchist manga of 1943, in which the robot trashed the hated United States. Finally, in the post-war period, Osamu Tezuka made a real revolution in the world of manga with his works, releasing together with students and followers on the basis of popular manga anime (animation).

The main competition for newspapers and magazines could only be a moving picture-cinema, which allowed the stars of the scene to significantly expand their audience. Japan became familiar with cinema almost simultaneously with Europe and America, and the 1920s and 1930s were marked by a rapid increase in the popularity of this genre among the country's population. In the post-war years, there was a real boom in Japanese cinema, which allows us to call this stage of the development of mass culture "cinematic".

In the post-war years, which marked the second stage of the development of mass culture, Japanese cinema not only continued the development of ideological tasks, economic and organizational methods initiated by the leaders of the mass press, but also determined the advertising, propaganda and commercial goals of conveyor production of works of art directly. He laid the foundation of the aesthetic principles of mass culture, the contours of which were only outlined in the "literary industry". Cinema has developed ways to attract viewers, the main one of which was the cultivation of illusions.


The "golden age" in the development of Japanese cinema occurred in the 1950s. At that time, more than 500 full-length feature films were produced annually in the country. The production of these products was concentrated in the hands of the so-called "Big Six": "Nikkatsu", "Shochiku", "Daiei", "Toho", "Toei", "Shintoho". At the same time, each of the film studios exploited its own film genre.

So, "Toho", for example, produced mainly sitcoms and musical tapes. Here they put on endless series of films about employees, only superficially touching on the problems of real life. The success of musical films with the popular actress Hibari Misora-the star of songs in the genre of urban romance "enka" - led to the mass circulation of such tapes. All these products sparkled with optimism, cheerfulness and were an excellent illustration of the myth of the "welfare state", persistently instilled in the masses.

Nikkatsu, the oldest film company in the country, founded in 1912, started producing films again in 1954, after a break of almost twenty years. It became the citadel of a cheerful, light and conformist "youth film", devoid of even a hint of social problems. At the same time, Nikkatsu, under the direct influence of the American thriller, began mass production of gongu - gangster films, in which there was a continuous escalation of the aesthetics of violence. Toei studios produced films of the" male " genre. The overwhelming place among them was occupied by popular kengeki-fencing films that went back to the Middle Ages and reflected the life and morals of the samurai class. There was a lot of lightness, movement, and rapid dynamics in these romantically conventional films.

Unlike Nikkatsu and Toei, Shochiku was dominated by the so - called jōsei eta - "women's films". It was dominated by the principles established in the 1920s by the company's president, Shiro Kido. Kido considered it necessary to "avoid anything unsightly and base in the studio's production", advocating for the creation of"healthy and bright film comedies"2. Gradually, the main studio of the Setikou company, Ofuna, developed a genre of family film called semingeki, which meant " a play about the common people." This was an example of a moderately truthful everyday life of ordinary people, devoid of acute situations and fully meeting the requirements put forward by Shiro Kido.

Haha-mono films about the sacrificial love of a mother and tsuma - mono films about wives in search of their own individuality, which were produced at this studio, were also aimed at traditional mass psychology.

To complete the description of the mass production created at the studios of the "Big Six", we should also mention "monster films" - films about prehistoric animals brought to life by liberated nuclear energy, like the famous"Godzilla".

This was the foundation of that huge structure called the Japanese cinema, which provided spiritual food for a wide Japanese audience, determined the tastes, value orientations, ideals, as well as the lifestyle and behavior of the country's population. And, as it is not difficult to see, the problems that worried the society itself were not reflected in these products. (End point-

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however, major filmmakers such as Akira Kurosawa, Yasujiro Ozu, Kenji Mizoguchi and others managed to give their films a sharply social sound, but this was more like an exception to the general rules by which the Japanese film world lived*.)

Cinema became a major business enterprise, with the help of which many dissatisfied people could dream about the fulfillment of their hopes. The formula of happiness found in the cinema, which simultaneously makes a lot of money, turned out to be very strong and soon spread to other types of mass art. Even serious novels and dramas, having passed through the" millstones " of cinema, turned into something completely different from them, but at the same time aimed at meeting the dreams of an unsatisfied and immature mind.

Such a powerful cultural medium as cinema has brought people together through time and space, synchronizing society. For the first time, you could safely bet that not only you and your neighbors read the same news in the morning and know the same movies and music, but almost the entire population of the country. The film became a medium that not only could show us how others lived, but also gave this process a kind of intoxicating charm. This was the beginning of the celebrity era.


The "Golden Age of Radio" (1930s-1950s) led to the rise of national radio stars. But, unlike cinema, it developed mainly as a means of broadcasting, and not as a new art form. As such, radio has acquired in Japan, as in the West, three main functions: broadcasting news, advertising goods, and broadcasting entertainment music programs or theatrical shows. At the same time, the main emphasis was placed not on the rational, but on the emotional side of perception.

Then television came into power. The Japanese were the most TV-watching nation. Throughout the 70s and 90s, more and more new channels appeared. Television continued to play the role of the main unifying factor for the whole country. From year to year, TV advertising set new records, as companies paid more and more for displaying their products, especially during the most "golden" time-in the evening.

And then the great turning point began. A new medium has emerged, much more powerful than radio broadcasting, which has captured its bottomless niche of transmitting a wide variety of data and images outside of space and time. Today, the Internet is becoming the pinnacle of the limitless power of mass culture.

It was the emergence and spread of the Internet by the end of the 20th century that led to a global revolution in the global information and cultural space and defined a fundamentally new stage in the development of mass culture. Suffice it to say that in terms of the number of its users, which are more than 100 million people in Japan, this country today occupies one of the leading places in the world.

At the same time, the world itself was divided into opponents and supporters of the "world wide web". Today, a lot is written about all possible negative consequences of this new invention of humanity, and first of all, in the spiritual sphere of human existence. But it is possible to approach the assessment of this new phenomenon from a different angle. Yes, the Internet is an all-powerful carrier of mass culture, but it is in it that this culture, perhaps for the first time, gives a person the opportunity to be himself and not be like a crowd.

Of course, it has dangerous "popular" sites, where many people go under the influence of fashion and standardized tastes, but there are also a huge number of other electronic pages, reading which allows its user to be well-erudite and well-informed about everything that is happening in the world (at least in those areas that are important for the development of the Internet). he is interested), and not remain a faceless part of this world. And in this sense, we can say that the Internet and new information opportunities give mass culture softer forms, depriving it of its original dictatorial principles.

Each element of the entertainment industry naturally chooses the most popular products, defining a privileged location for them, thus imposing a choice. But with the advent and development of the Internet, the entertainment industry-from music to movies to television-has undergone major changes. Box office receipts in movie theaters began to fall, TV network ratings declined, the press was read less, and the time period during which a book named the best-selling remains at the top of the hit parade halved over the past 10 years. But the point is not that the demand for these products has sharply decreased, on the contrary, they have grown many times. The fact is that the very forms of consumption of works of the cultural industry are changing. Today," home delivery of goods " via the Internet to any country and at any distance is guaranteed to every user. And thanks to this, mass culture today has become tens or even hundreds of times more popular.


Manga and anime 3, widely presented today and on the Internet-

* See: Katasonova E. Japanese cinema - Japanese exoticism or Japanese identity. "Asia and Africa today", 2006, N 9, yu.

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no, they are the main "food for the mind" of most Japanese people in recent decades, forming their worldview and self-esteem. It is quite significant that the Japanese read. If back in the early 1970s, crowds of employees in crowded Tokyo subway cars were flipping through books on business, history, politics, and sometimes even serious novels, then from the mid-80s - adventure books and manga comics.

About the wide distribution of comics in Japan during these years - one of the most striking phenomena of Japanese mass culture - the weekly "Time" wrote at one time: "In the post-war period, comics became a" national hobby " in Japan: in 1983, they already accounted for more than a quarter of the total circulation of books and magazines in 4.7 billion copies., and the number of their regular readers has exceeded 30 million people. " 4

Comics are read everywhere: on the train and at home, during recess at school and during lunch break. Everyone reads - men and women, schoolchildren and students, clerks and professors. Shelves for comics are set aside in almost every bookstore and in the so-called "conventions" - specialized stores with round-the-clock trade. In Japan, there are also a large number of manga cafes. And relatively recently, Sony, with the expectation of this craze for pictures of both adults and children, began to provide a service for downloading comics directly to your mobile phone.

According to the Nomura Research Institute, $ 906 million was spent on comics in Japan in 2004, and the market is gigantic.5 In short, reading manga is one of the cheapest and most accessible forms of leisure, and for large publishers it means huge profits. Are all Japanese people so childish? Or maybe comics are so interesting? Why do the Japanese love them so much?

The main fact of such a huge increase in the popularity of comics in Japan is their visual quality. A Japanese reader reads a thick manga magazine with up to 320 pages in 20 minutes. Manga is akin to hieroglyphs. A picture is also a meaningful written sign. At the same time, there is an unwritten law of this genre - manga is almost always black and white, only covers and individual illustrations are drawn in color.

In most cases, manga is a series with a sequel, which is published in newspapers and more often in weekly and monthly magazines. The usual volume of a series in a weekly magazine is 15-20 pages. There are also short manga stories that consist of four vertical frames (usually with a highly stylized drawing, purely humorous content). However, most comics are published in the form of specialized magazines. Since 1991, the share of magazines and comic books in total sales of printed products is already over 35% (for comparison: in the USA-7%). According to 2003 data, there were 290 titles of these magazines alone (228 for adults and 62 for children).6. In 1993, the most famous weekly manga magazine "Senen Jump" broke the record of popularity - 6 million 470 thousand. instances.

The most popular short stories in pictures are reprinted in separate volumes - "tankobon", which, as a rule, are published in paperback and contain about 200 pages. In 2003 alone, 185 new titles were added to the output of such books, totaling 10 million 14 thousand copies.7

Unlike in other countries where children are the main consumers of comics, 3/4 of the comics magazines published in Japan are intended for adults. Naturally, the variety of tastes of comic book lovers has given rise to many styles and genres: from symbolism to photorealism, from fairy tales to philosophical works and textbooks in many disciplines, up to economics. Each of these magazines is aimed at a specific audience: toddlers for whom manga is published without signatures, teenage boys interested in science fiction, middle-aged men and women. In recent years, attempts have also been made to create manga for older Japanese people.

"Kodomo manga", intended for children from 6 to 11 years old, form a separate layer of manga art. The drawings are mostly simple and unpretentious. These are stories involving robots and fantasy-style fairy tales, in which, by Western standards, there is a lot of violence. Special comics for women "josei manga" are aimed at readers over 20 years old, mostly housewives. They occupy about the same niche as romance novels in the West. Their main content is all kinds of love stories. Experts explain the popularity of women's comics by the fact that they allow you to distract from the realities of Japanese society, where women's lot is still family matters. 3 thousand professional female artists are engaged in composing comics.

The most popular games in Japan are "senen manga" for boys and "seinen manga" for boys. The heroes of most teenage comics have some kind of supernatural abilities, which allows them to fight evil in all its manifestations. Modern comics offer deeply developed characters. Moreover, genres designed for a young audience are no less in demand among adults and teenage girls.

At the same time, for girls aged 6 to 18 years, a separate genre is distinguished - "shoujo manga", which, perhaps, may well compete with publications for the male half of their peers. This classification is not based on any particular style or artistic characteristics: if the publisher believes that the manga will appeal to girls, this is already a reason to classify it as "shoujo manga". Some distinctive features - it has less action, but more romantic images, atmosphere, and mood. Special attention is also paid to details, clothing, and hairstyles. This is why popular manga of this genre almost always come out in the form of anime and are accompanied by the release of various toys, souvenirs and other related products that are in great demand.

Japanese popular culture creates its own types of heroes. They are partly similar to Western models, and partly retain the features of traditional Japanese culture. The main character of comics for

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girls are called "bidze" (beautiful girl). A typical example of "manga for girls" is "Beautiful Warrior Sailor Moon". The favorite hero of Japanese girls - " bisenen "(a beautiful boy), who shows courage and perseverance at crucial moments, is found in almost all genres of manga and anime. Images of "bisenen" often adorn the covers of comics for girls. In particular, the famous Japanese artist Takabatake Kasse specializes in this topic. His "bisenen" is in a short kimono or sailor suit, riding a horse or taking an obstacle on it.

The English researcher J. Baruma describes the type of this hero as follows: "Although in the West comics for girls are full of unusually beautiful young men with long eyelashes and starry eyes, they are still undoubtedly men... In Japan, they are more ambivalent in appearance... These androgynous young heroes are called by the word "bisenen", beautiful young men " 8.

Japanese girls have traditionally dreamed and today continue to dream of moving as far away as possible-sexually, emotionally, geographically-from everyday reality: to unearthly space, to fantastic pseudo-European palaces. But if earlier in comics for girls even kissing was considered something unacceptable, now these publications are full of explicit sex scenes.

About a quarter of all manga production is made up of the "heitai" genre, which includes sexual and erotic motifs. Literally translated, the word "heitai" means "wrong", "perverted", and more recently - mostly perverted sex. " N " or "ecchi" - slang abbreviation for" heitai " refers to any sexual manifestations in manga. "Eromanga " or" H-manga " has a wide range of fans and is divided into several subgenres.

The creator of the manga is called "mangaka". Usually one person (often with assistants) draws a comic book and writes texts, but there is also group creativity. However, one manga usually doesn't have more than three or four people working on it. In addition to professional manga, there is also an amateur one - "doujinshi".

Japanese comics artists have taken physical form from the West, combined it with the tradition of illustrated storytelling and humorous drawings, brought their own original ideas and thus gave birth to this genre. Manga researcher Frederick Szeched called manga "a fully formed artistic medium on par with novels and films." 9

Japanese comics are distinguished from their American counterparts by their impressive volume, which allows them to develop in more detail, complicate and enrich the storyline, as well as deeply reveal characters, actively use changing angles and various optical effects using a technique that later became known as the "kinometod". All these innovations introduced by Osamu Tezuka help the artist to give a special power of visual impact and emotional depth to his narrative, giving rise to a large variety of styles. But the most important difference is that Japanese popular culture creates its own types of heroes, which are only partially similar to Western models, while retaining the features of traditional Japanese culture.

The point is that manga, like all Japanese mass culture, develops, as a rule, universal themes, giving them a mass (and therefore largely simplified) character, while at the same time preserving the language of feelings, symbols, experiences, images of heroes and heroines that are understandable for the Japanese national culture.

Various types of characters that make up the artistic language of manga can be divided into concrete and abstract. Specific characters are more often associated with everyday ideas and habits of Japanese people and may not always be clear to an untrained reader. For example, the symbol of anger is a stylized cross-shaped wrinkle on the forehead. This symbol migrated from manga to television: in comic TV shows, it is drawn on the forehead of living people.

But there are also abstract symbols, the form of which can vary, and the meaning is plural and understandable to everyone. For example, the size of the letters of the cue can mean a cry, specific types of font are associated with a certain intonation. The outline of the explosion around the head indicates a guess, the black background indicates sadness and loneliness, etc.

Manga as an expressive medium is among such types of media as film, television, etc. And, apparently, comics are one of the most promising branches of Japanese mass culture, since the topic of superheroes has not yet exhausted itself, and the flight of imagination of authors is not limited to the budget.


Anime in Japan occupies a more modest position than manga, while abroad the situation is exactly the opposite. Today, more than 60% of the world's animation is produced in Japan, which has become one of the country's main exports, with the United States being the main importer. Not so long ago, all the diverse and attractive Japanese products were still considered a cultural curiosity, the audience of which in the West was limited to children - passionate fans of cartoons. Today, the magic of anime has fully captured adults as well. According to the analytical center - Institute for Communications of the largest advertising company "Dentsu" ("Dentsu Communication Institute"), in the homeland of anime-Japan

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its sales increased more than 40 times.

A strong impetus for the growth of anime popularity was the true global triumph of the film "Spirited Away" directed by Hayao Miyazaki, which won the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival in 2002 and the Oscar for Best Animated Film in 2003. "Miyazaki-san's films take us to places we've never been before, and his wonderful images feed our imagination," says Richard Cook, chairman of the Walt Disney Studio Management Board.10

It is this attractive feature of Japanese anime that American filmmakers were the first to take advantage of. Let's remember the same Quentino Tarantino and his acclaimed film "Kill Bill". But the most incredible display of Japanese style in Hollywood is the fantastic Matrix trilogy. Its creators, the Wachowski brothers, are big fans of Japanese manga-anime culture and have repeatedly admitted that they set themselves the task of reproducing the style of Japanese cyberpunk anime to life. The film " The Matrix "is based on the famous anime" Ghost in the Shell "Momoru Hoshii, who in turn took as the basis of his tape the popular manga Masamune Shiro "Division"Armor".

The Japanese began their first experiments with animation in the mid-1910s, and the first anime appeared in 1917. For quite a long time, anime was on the margins of cinema, but even here the militarists played a beneficial role, supporting any "correct" art. So, the first two big anime films were released in 1943 and 1945 and were game propaganda that glorified the power of the Japanese army.

As in the case of manga, Tezuka Osamu played a crucial role in the history of anime, who suggested that we abandon the meaningless competition with Walt Disney feature films and move on to creating TV series that surpass the American ones not in terms of image quality, but in terms of attractiveness to the Japanese audience.

Most of the anime is TV series and series created for sale on video (OAV series). However, there are plenty of TV movies and full-length animes. In terms of variety of styles, genres, and audiences, manga is significantly superior to anime. On the other hand, many anime are adaptations of popular manga. Most of the anime is for children and teenagers, although there is also anime for young people. The middle-aged audience is attracted by the" family anime " that children watch together with their parents.

Seriality dictates its own laws-anime creators are less inclined to technical experiments than animators in other countries, but they pay a lot of attention to creating attractive and interesting character images (hence the importance of high-quality voice acting) and plot development.

Anime is created by anime studios, which are usually relatively small and operate on external funding from various sponsors (TV channels, toy corporations, manga publishers). Usually, such studios are formed around several outstanding creators, and therefore the studio, as a rule, has its own specific "studio style".

Just like manga, Japanese anime is characterized by a variety of characters. This is the leader of a gang of bikers, the rebel Kaneda (the movie "Akira"), and the nihilist, who is, nevertheless, a real pilot-ace-Isamu (the TV series "Macro Plus" (Macross Plus)), a swordsman who knows neither fear nor pity Gatts (the TV series " Berserk"(Berserk)). This is a teenager who prepares himself every day to save the world, but is convinced of his own uselessness and inability to take any independent action Shinji Ikari (TV series "New Generation Evangelion" - Neom Genesis Evangelion), this is the invincible vampire Alucard, who stands on the side of people in the fight against other vampires just because that he finds it funny (TV series "Hellsing", and many others.

Japanese directors and screenwriters take their craft more seriously than their American counterparts. The images of the characters are more interesting, deeper and more original, so that almost real people with their own way of thinking, with their own views on life, with their own ideals, fears, complexes, dreams appear on the screen. Many national cultures are afraid of losing their "identity" by borrowing something from other cultures. There is no such fear in Japanese culture. In Japanese fantasy, you can meet not only Japanese-Chinese werewolves, but also European elves and dwarves. In one fantasy, there's even a Soviet tank. However, this does not threaten any "identity", on the contrary, elves become Japanese, dwarves become Japanese, and tanks become quite national ghost cats. Even when manga or anime creators strive to create something "totally European" or" totally American, " they can't escape their own national culture. And that is why their artistic experiments do not destroy Japanese culture, but complement it, expand the set of techniques and ideas.


Japanese comics and animation culture is by far the most developed and diverse in the world. As a matter of fact, the existence of a significant national comic-animation culture can only be described in relation to the United States, Japan, and France. At the same time, the United States and France are countries with a Christian mentality, and Japan - with a Buddhist - Shinto one, and this largely determines the main features of its differences from other national cultures.

Japanese mass culture embraces human life in all its manifestations, without trying to embellish reality and deliberately ennoble the characters, and only to the smallest extent protects society from contact with the unattractive aspects of life. This approach is associated with a basic worldview - an optimistic view of human nature. This attitude is thoroughly cultivated by the Buddhist-Shinto mentality.

As the Italian researcher Fosco Maraini points out, "the Japanese, both at work and at work, are very much the same."

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just enjoy the fullness of being. No torment associated with the memory of any original sin at the level of the collective subconscious mind does not disturb their sleep. There is no need for psychiatrists and doctors. The world is beautiful, man is God, work is good, health is in order, fruit is delicious, sex is pleasant, and even war is a blessing in case of victory! " 11

This allows the Japanese to portray the world and people as they are, rather than as they should appear, which largely determines the difference between Japanese culture and Western culture, where there are conflicting judgments about human virtue. So, for example, the characters of many manga and anime, movies and TV dramas that are beloved in Japan appear not only clever and wise. Their creators do not seek to hide the secret and not always pure thoughts of their characters, and even expose them in the literal and figurative sense.

This is what the main character of the anime "Dragon Ball" looks like Kamme-sani, a famous master of the ancient art of the sword and a guru in the eyes of the young. He appears to the viewer fantastically clever and wise, but at the same time the authors of the picture were not afraid to show the rather unsightly and comic sides of his character. Another hero, Son of Goku, is presented in all his simplicity and naivety, which is emphasized by the complete nudity, as they say, "without a fig leaf", which Puritan Americans were forced to draw in order to demonstrate in their country. Apparently faced with this rather typical situation, Kazuhiko Torishima, editor-in-chief of one of the best-selling manga magazines, Senen Jump, once remarked: "I feel sorry for the American kids who live in the world of Disney, filtered through the filters of adults." 12

Another characteristic feature of Japanese popular culture is its penchant for positivism and idealism, which permeates many comics, cartoons, television dramas, and even video games. All of them are full of idealistic worldview, naive feelings, romantic impulses, etc. Young heroes live in an atmosphere of naive romance, experience love sufferings, dream of heroic adventures in the name of noble goals.

In modern Japanese animated films, the features of the cognitive worldview of the Japanese are quite prominent. One of the most striking examples is the animated series "Pokemon". In the series about "Pokemon" there is no desire of positive characters for power and wealth in any form. Moreover, if such a desire is present, it characterizes a strictly negative character, who in the end will definitely be defeated, will realize the severity of his delusions and will certainly embark on the path of spiritual rebirth. The hero, as a rule, is lonely and driven solely by the desire for self-improvement. Finally, the leitmotif of the Japanese cognitive process is the sensory sphere. In the texts, the load on the sensory channel of perception prevails, and the emotional relationships and experiences of the characters play a much more important role than the development of the storyline.

Senen Jump magazine conducted a survey among young people. In particular, young people were asked to name the word that "warms their soul the most", the thing that "they consider the most important and that makes them happy". The answers were friendship (yujou), effort (doreku), and victory (seri). These words became the main criterion in the selection of stories for publication in this journal13.

All of this is in stark contrast to contemporary American popular culture, with its rather pronounced features of rationalism, cynicism, and nihilism.

Japanese mass culture products are also distinguished by their proximity to everyday life. American comics artist Brian Stelfiz notes: "Comics in the United States have become a kind of caricature. We need unlikely heroes " 14. Japanese popular culture heroes-manga, anime, and TV dramas-display opposite qualities. They are endowed with both vices and weaknesses, as well as positive and strong character traits. But their weaknesses are perhaps more important for plot development and for understanding the character. It's not just about finding a comic beginning. They give the character the characteristics of a truthful, human beginning and inspire confidence in the reader or viewer.

Famous animator Hiroshi Fujimoto emphasized:: "You can't draw comics for kids through the lens of an adult's perception and create something that you think children will enjoy. You have to create something that you actually enjoy yourself. Then they'll find it entertaining, too. You must look through their eyes, in other words, take their place. " 15

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And yet, works of Japanese popular culture are a set of standard themes. The most popular of them is "human relations". This is natural for Japanese society, where great importance is attached to the peculiarities of group consciousness, the search for ways to harmonize interpersonal relations. This includes issues of resolving industrial conflicts, and relationships between classmates, colleagues, friends, and, of course, colleagues. These problems are multi-faceted, they give rise to many complex and contradictory emotions, and therefore arouse great interest and empathy. Creators of anime and TV dramas actively use these themes in their works.

Another favorite topic is work. In many manga, anime, and TV dramas, it is perceived not just as a means of subsistence, but it is given much more importance. Work is the meaning of their heroes ' lives. However, in recent years, the problem of choosing between a career and a family has come to the fore, which reflects the current processes affecting Japanese society.

Most of the stories in manga, anime, and other genres of popular culture are devoted to dealing with circumstances. And sometimes achieving victory is not so important compared to the strength and wisdom that are acquired in the process of fighting. Especially extolled are such human qualities as physical and spiritual strength, patience, perseverance, etc. This is well shown in the character of the hero from the film "Dragon Ball", whose fighting qualities are not given from birth by God, but were the result of physical and psychological training.

Despite all these differences in the national mentality, artistic traditions of the East and West, and perhaps because of them, the fashion for hand-drawn little men has literally captured the whole world today. Moreover, it is anime that influences other genres of Japanese popular culture today.


It is anime that owes much of its formation to Japanese popular music. The song, written for the animated series "Macross", became the first Japanese pop song, and the singer who performed it gained stellar popularity.

Unlike music in traditional Western animation, in Japanese anime, music can be very complex and have an independent value. The anime release may be accompanied by the release of a soundtrack CD. For example, 28 CDs were released for the series "Beautiful Warrior Sailor Moon".

Their author is one of the most famous anime composers in Japan, Kenji Kawai. He owns several dozen songs for the most famous Japanese anime series. However, the main masterpiece of Kawaii is considered to be the sound track of the full-length film "Ghost in the Shell", which hardly left anyone indifferent from the audience. In addition to writing anime music, Kawai also writes songs and music for pop artists, console games, and feature films. Of the latter, he is best known outside of Japan. "Ring".

The vast majority of Japanese rock and pop composers and performers work for the market, give what the mass audience expects and wants to hear. There is no question of any freedom of creativity and self-expression here. The market dictates its own strict laws. At the same time, this area of Japanese mass culture is of interest, if only because it didn't actually exist twenty years ago. In Japanese, only folk and stylized folk compositions were performed - the so-called "enka".

The end of the 1980s is considered to be a turning point in the history of Japanese popular music. New artists, using the latest Western music technologies and knowledge of the peculiarities of the national Japanese mentality, began to compete on an equal footing with American artists, gradually displacing them from the Japanese mass market. In fact, by the early 1990s, Japanese bands had gained popularity not only in Japan itself, but also began promoting throughout Southeast Asia. The group "Chage&Aska"was especially successful in this.

The main criteria for the song were the following requirements: the song must be in Japanese (understandable) language, be melodic and have meaning. At the same time, the visual component of shows and clips is no less important, and sometimes even more so, than the actual musical performance. This gave rise to its own special style, later called Visual Rock (visual rock). It is believed that this style was born under the influence of Kabuki theater with its very bright and colorful scenery and lush costumes, the use of pyro and lighting equipment, etc. A vivid embodiment of all these features in the musical movement was the group "Malice Mizer".

The most common way to enjoy a song is by performing "karaoke". Then you can attend concerts, TV programs, etc.

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Japan is generally not characterized by the use of social protest music, commercial Japanese music usually lacks this very protest in an explicit form, concentrating on technical mastery of performance and melody. At the same time, heavy music, rock and dance music, rap and other radical formats are also popular among young people, where the emphasis is not on protest, but on delivering a certain aesthetic pleasure to the audience. Moreover, with all its modern sound, the melodies performed by Japanese musical groups are marked by bright original features that distinguish it from European and American hits. And maybe that's why it attracts fans of contemporary music in other countries.

The key concept of modern Japanese music is the word "idol". An "idol" is an outwardly attractive singer or singer who has a pleasant melodic voice and sings aesthetically beautiful songs that are convenient to perform karaoke. This is exactly what a typical popular artist in Japan looks like. The paradox is that in order to become popular or famous, a musician does not have to surprise anyone and offer something new and original. On the contrary, it should be as similar as possible to some standard already created by someone else.

The changed technological forms of cultural production no longer allow us to return to the old traditional images. One of the most important functions of modern mass culture is the mythologization of public consciousness. Works of mass culture, as well as myths, are not based on the distinction between the real and the ideal. They become the object not of knowledge, but of faith. There is an opinion that the most adequate term expressing the essence of works of mass culture is the term "icon" 16 (in the Japanese language and Japanese artistic consciousness - idol).

It is the icon-idol that corresponds to the Russian concept of image. This term describes a type of artistic reflection that is symbolic, fundamentally unrealistic in nature, is an object of faith, acts not on an intellectual, but on an emotional level. Therefore, mass culture focuses on instincts and subconsciousness, and it is the iconic image that is widely used. But these are no longer religious icons, but pop culture icons.


What is the attitude of Japanese society towards modern mass culture? If you answer in one word, it is very ambiguous.

Japanese official and business circles actively promote manga and anime abroad. Today, the popularity of anime, for example, has probably not affected only developing countries, where there are simply not enough funds to buy license rights. In a hurry to solve this problem, the Japanese government intends to provide funds for this purpose from its international foundation "Japan Foundation", operating under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan.

At the same time, in 2006, the Japanese Foreign Ministry, in order to raise the country's image abroad, took the initiative to approve an international Manga prize among foreign young artists. In turn, the Ministry of Transport of Japan is already inviting foreign tourists to the international Manga summit, which will be held in Kyoto in 2008.

Prefectural authorities are also working in the same direction. So, relatively recently, with the support of the Tokyo Municipality, the World Anime Exhibition was held in the capital of Japan, which was attended by about 200 Japanese animation companies and the most famous animators and film producers from around the world.

Japanese business is also not far behind the authorities. Sony Pictures Entertainment opened the Animax channel in Japan in 1998, which became the No. 1 channel among anime fans in Japan, as well as one of the most popular in cable and satellite networks. The company's next geographic target was Asia, which was followed in 2004 by the creation of the first 24-hour anime TV channel outside of Japan in Singapore. This channel is designed for a young audience, and in addition to Singapore viewers, it covers the territories of Hong Kong, Taiwan and other countries where the audience of Japanese anime is about 100 million viewers.

Meanwhile, in Japan itself, the warning is growing that " comics can ruin the nation." This opinion is shared, in particular, by the Japanese teacher M. Matsuzawa, who claims that schoolchildren who devote their free time to looking at pictures in comics not only lose the skill of real reading, but also learn to freely express their thoughts and feelings themselves, and then to some extent lose the very ability to think deeply, fully and experience..

page 65

As he explains, "the very volume of the thought process is reduced to operating with pictures, there is a replacement of the reader's culture - screen culture, where not only a flat image prevails, but also a flat perception: it does not go deep, does not unfold either in a "three-dimensional" representation in the sphere of thought, or in a corresponding experience in the sphere of sense, because the non-stop change of it leads to attention, leaving no time for reflection, for the formation of a full-fledged deep emotion. " 18

This screen type of perception is formed not only by movies and television, but also by comics, a computer display that has become part of the everyday life of the Japanese, replacing the previous ordinary games for children. That is why there is a growing concern among Japanese specialists that the spread of comics (manga) in Japan also leads to the formation of flat thinking, because the artistic image in manga is replaced only by its conditional projection, a stereotypical designation of a particular character.

But Japanese teachers today are concerned not only with the fact that works of mass culture are fundamentally not designed for the activity of the inner workings of consciousness, but the purely psychological impossibility of adapting our perception mechanisms to rapidly changing stimuli results in blunted sensations, fatigue, and the need for light entertainment art. The inability to experience feelings as complex states, accompanied by a certain depth of their experience, also generates the inability to sympathize, to empathize emotionally. But if we usually talk about emotional deafness in this case, then in relation to artistically educated Japanese people, this could be called, in the words of the film director Hiroaka Yoshida, "obesity of the soul", and Japan - "a nation of soulless merchants" 19.

Japanese teachers and psychologists are equally concerned about other destructive trends in modern mass culture, which could to some extent affect the very internal foundations of Japanese society. Assessing the influence of modern mass culture on the psychology of the younger generation in Japan, contemporary author Akio Shiromatsu sincerely complains that "children and young people are forced to live in a flood of inhumane life values, such as the worship of money, the cult of entertainment, the cult of power, instilled by militaristic ideology. Children and young people who develop an inability to enjoy the universality of human wealth are alienated from genuine development."20. According to Japanese psychologists, these features of works of mass culture are one of the reasons for the prevalence of cruelty and violence-violence on the street, at home, at school, which struck Japan.

Of course, experts ' concerns have their own reasons: a multi-part animation about space samurai robots, samurai action movies, the so-called romantic pornography genre typical of modern Japan, etc. they came into conflict with traditional Japanese culture. However, the very existence of this powerful traditional culture, which is not only not destroyed, but carefully protected in this country, in my opinion, can act as an effective counterbalance to the offensive of the artistic facelessness of mass culture.


Perhaps, it is precisely because of its pronounced traditional beginning that Japanese mass culture today is one of the most developed, diverse and popular in the world. The Asian edition of Time magazine, in its September 2003 issue, quotes Ichi Nakamura of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology: "Japanese society has gone from industrial to pop-cultural." 21

In the same issue of Time, Tsutomu Sugiura, director of the Marubeni Forecasting Center, says that over the past 10 years, Japanese "cultural exports" (revenues from the sale and licensing of entertainment content from movies, anime, and music) have tripled to $ 12.5 billion, while industrial exports have grown by only 20%. Of course, the amount of $ 12.5 billion seems very low when compared with the monthly income of the same Toyota ($11 billion), but the growth dynamics can not but surprise 22.

Analysts seriously view the success of Japanese pop culture as a chance to fully overcome the effects of the economic crisis. In this regard, the American magazine "Foreign Policy" in 2002 even coined the scientific term "Gross National Cool". In this article, author Douglas mcgay argues that the ability of Japanese people to adopt and assimilate the best that foreign countries have to offer is quite enough to make the country a real cultural superpower.23

Being 20 to 30 years ahead of its neighbors (after all, pop culture is a product of a developed economy), Japan provides a wide range of surprisingly attractive cultural products. Although the economic component of such exports is still relatively small, Japan's" gross national steepness " is growing rapidly: the country confidently claims to be highly competitive in the field of mass culture.

1 Istoriya sovremennoy yaponskoy literatury [History of Modern Japanese Literature], Moscow, 1961, pp. 218-219.

Gens I. 2 Those who have thrown up the challenge, Moscow, 1988, p. 21.

3 Since these two genres are inextricably linked (anime is most often based on manga), it is probably worth talking about them as a single cultural phenomenon.

4 The Time. 11.02.1985, p. 42.

5 http: //

6 Joho media hakuse (White Paper on Information and Mass Media). Tokyo, 2004, p. 63.

7 Ibid.

8 Cit. by: Man: Image and essence. Humanistic aspects. Yearbook, Moscow, 2000, p. 171.

9 The Daily Yomiuri. 11.12.1996.


Maraini Fosco. 11 Japan. Patterns of Community. L., 1972, p. 23.

12 The Nikkei Weekly. 17.02.1997, p. 1.

Schodt Fr.L. 13 Dreamkand Japan: Writing on Modern Manga. Berkeley, 1996, p. 198.

14 Ibid., p. 89 - 90.


16 Ibid.


18 Ibid.

19 Ibid.

20 Ibid.

http://peewww.wisesoft/ru 21-Strana Igry magazine, No. 151, November 2003.

22 Ibid.

23 Ibid.


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