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  • How much can you learn about Japan from Studio Ghibli films?

    This question also applies to anime in general. I've been wondering if you could use anime and anime films to teach someone about Japan. Obviously, many of the plots are completely unrealistic, but within them I feel there's often a lot of hints about daily life and Japanese history. For example, when a summer festival is shown, people wear yukata and you can hear cicadas in the background. Or the tradition of girls and women giving boys and men chocolate on Valentine's Day. Can you think of any other examples? Or perhaps hilarious examples of why anime really shouldn't be used to teach someone about Japan!

  • #2
    Having watched the majority of Ghibli Films like Spirited Away, Graveyard of the Fireflies, Howl's moving castle, Valley of the Wind, Ponyo etc. it gives you an idea why these type of anime are popular with the masses. However, if we were to talk about these films teaching things about Japan then I can only remember two titles for that. One would be the Graveyard of the Fireflies, this film was about the second world war and how two brothers lived their lives in this chaotic era. The other one was...I forgot the title, but it was a film after the war was over. It gives a few highlights on what happened after the war and how Japan changed because of it. But then again, if we don't limit ourselves to "Ghibli Films" then there are plenty of animated movies and series that will give you an insight on what it's like to live in Japan. One anime film would be "Cross Roads", a film about two young students giving their best to enter Tokyo University through the entrance Exams.

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    • #3
      In my opinion, if the main point of watching the films is to teach someone about Japan the most effective way is to use other series anime in a school or slice of life genre rather than the Ghibli Films. I love the films but they're more on the fantasy/history kind of depiction. Not to compare both, but if we were just talking about Japan (as of right now)films for teaching reference, Makoto Shinkai Films are more fitting. The best examples I could give are Cross Roads, 5 Centimeters per Second, Garden of Words andof course, Kimi no nawa.

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      • #4
        Wow, you guys really familiar with Japanese animation.
        I also quite like Ghibli film though,
        Sometimes, people not live in Japan know about things than we Japanese do know. I never seen "Cross Roads" "5 Centimeters per Second", "Garden of Words andof course", "Kimi no nawa".

        Thank you very much the information.

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        • #5
          I think I've seen 5 Centimeters per Second, but the others are new to me, tsubaki nakajima. I'll have to watch them sometime! And Louie also recommended Cross Roads - that'll have to be first on my list.
          I do agree that the most "educational" about daily life are probably anime set in a school or slice of life, but I do think that there are hints of Japanese life and traditions tucked away even in more fantasy genres. Maybe I'm thinking of language...it has been a while since I've watched most of the anime I'm thinking about! But even a "magical girl" anime like Cardcaptor Sakura contains a lot of examples of daily life, food, school, etc.
          I'm really excited to hear about more opinions and examples anyone can think of!

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          • #6
            Point taken with Card Captor Sakura, I wish I could roller blades like that to go to school, but its not possible here. Also, I recommend you trying most of Makoto Shinkai Films if you have time. The quality is superb! But nothing beats Howl's moving Castle and Spirited Away with the plot and creativity though!

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