The Many Faces of Popular Culture and Contemporary Processes: Questioning Identity, Humanity and Culture Through Japanese Anime

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Author: Mateja Kovacic, Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong
Email: mateja@life.hkbu.edu.hk
Published: September 2014
https://doi.org/10.22492/ijah.2.1.02

Citation: Kovacic, M. (2014). The Many Faces of Popular Culture and Contemporary Processes: Questioning Identity, Humanity and Culture Through Japanese Anime. IAFOR Journal of Arts & Humanities, 2(1). https://doi.org/10.22492/ijah.2.1.02


Abstract

In the highly globalized world we live in, popular culture bears a very distinctive role: it becomes a global medium for borderless questioning of ourselves and our identities as well as our humanity in an ever-transforming environment which requires us to be constantly "plugged in" in order to respond to challenges as best as we can. The vast array of cultural products we create and consume every day thus provide a relevant insight into problems that both researchers and audiences have to face within an informatised and technologised world. Japanese anime is one of such cultural product: a locally produced cultural artifact that became a global phenomenon that transcends cultures and spaces. In its imageries we discover a wide range of themes that concern us today, ranging from bioethical issues, such as ecological crisis, posthumanism and loss of identity in a highly transforming world to the issues of traditionality and spirituality. The author will demonstrate in what ways we can approach and study popular culture products in order to understand the anxieties and prevailing concerns of our cultures today, with emphasis on the identity and humanity, and their position in the contemporary high-tech world we live in. The author's intention is to point to popular culture as a significant (re)source for the fields of humanities and cultural studies, as well as for discussing human transformations and possible future outcomes of these transformations in a technoscientific world. A case study will be presented: Mamoru Oshii's Ghost in the Shell and Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence.

Keywords

bioethics, popular culture, Japanese anime, technology, Ghost in the Shell