• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Daughter of Kami: Shinto and Christian themes in 'Nausica of the Valley of the Wind'

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Daughter of Kami: Shinto and Christian themes in Hayao Miyazaki's Nausica� of the Valley of the Wind Introduction Religion has affected art for centuries, because human responses to art and religion involve similar processes: imagination and emotional involvement (Beit-Hallami, 1983). It seems natural for religion to continue its influence on popular culture, especially film, because of its wide reach. However, looking at Japan, is it possible for a "non-Japanese" religion like Christianity to exert influence its popular culture, and to what extent? To answer this question, we look at the 1984 animated film of Hayao Miyazaki, Nausica� of the Valley of the Wind (Kaze no Tani no Nausicaa). Nausica� is said to be the quintessential Miyazaki film (Osmond, 1998) and it earned 740 million yen, with almost a million viewers. It owes its popularity to the incorporation of universal themes like religion, the environment and industrialisation. It contains so many themes, both Japanese (feudalism, Shinto) and non-Japanese (Greek Mythology, Christianity, European medievalism). It is interesting to note that Miyazaki is often described as a humanist, following no particular religion, yet Nausica� contains an almost equal amount of references to Shinto and Christianity in the film. There are many English versions of the various terms and names of the characters in the film, partly because there is a more complex manga of the same name. ...read more.

Middle

Embellished with vivid music, an image of a nature revered for its sacredness and perfection is projected. Reverence for nature also comes from seeing it as sacred, and from knowing its power. In the film, humans fear the lethal spores of the Fukai, and its constant spread. At the same time, as the viewer discovers later on, the Fukai actually has restorative powers. It is in fact cleansing the Earth of mankind's waste left behind from the Great War. Similarly, the Ohmu possess benevolent telepathic powers (although they can only communicate with Nausica�) as well as the power to destroy humans and civilisation. In another scene, Kushana, commander of the Tolmekian army, announces her plan to burn the Fukai. In response, the Valley people exclaim in hushed tones, "Burn the Toxic Jungle?", "Is it possible?" showing that they consider the Fukai indestructible. These powers of the Fukai and the Ohmu cause humans to fear and respect nature at the same time. Nausica� reveres the life of both humans and insects. She implores countless times to the warring Pejites and Tolmekians, "Please, no more killing!" and "I can't bear to have anyone else die". Instead of killing insects that attack humans, she uses an insect charm to calm them down and coax them back to the jungle. ...read more.

Conclusion

and surrender (she put herself at the Pejites' mercy). In trying to save her people from an attack by the Ohmus, Nausica� is shot twice, burned by acid and finally dies facing the Ohmu stampede. The Ohmus, however, revived Nausica�. Her death and resurrection mirrors that of Jesus' after his death and burial. At the end of the film, a chiko plant grows in the pure sand in the Fukai, symbolising the resurrection of nature at last. We see that it is not only Nausica�, but also nature, that is brought back to life. Conclusion In this essay, we have seen that Christianity can indeed influence a Japanese anime, however, the Shinto elements in Nausica� are far more extensive. The Shinto themes mainly stress mankind's relationship with nature while the Christian themes focus on mankind's destiny. Apparently Miyazaki did not intend to have such religious overtones in Nausica�. However, in the spirit of symbolic interactionism, these religious themes nevertheless have meaning for those who ascribe meanings to them. Viewers (like me) interpret the images and scenes in the film and make sense of them in different frameworks, such as religion. Did Nausica� manage to truly unite mankind with nature? Perhaps through the medium of popular cultures, she serves as a "female Japanese prophet" to remind us to strive towards peace and harmony with nature and mankind. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our University Degree Wordsworth section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related University Degree Wordsworth essays

  1. Journey to Manhood… An Analysis of "Do You Fear the Wind".

    He is supposed to "slash", "fight", use "force", and "be savage". The poet, in his choice of words, inadvertently reveals his belief in the qualities that a 'real man' should possess. The persona continues his harshness in the command, "Go wade like the crane."

  2. What is the meaning of Wordsworth's claim that he grew up 'foster'd alike by ...

    Wordsworth sees himself to have been governed by the indoor world as well as the natural world. His thinking does not run parallel to Rousseau's who tends to condemn anything not of the natural world. The indoors is part of the facilitating environment needed by the child.

  1. NATURE, natural, and the group of words derived from them, or allied to them ...

    The doctrines of Christianity have in every age been largely accommodated to the philosophy which happened to be prevalent, and the Christianity of our day has borrowed a considerable part of its colour and flavour from sentimental deism. At the present time it cannot be said that Nature, or any,

  2. The supernatural in Coleridge's "The Rime of the Ancient mariner" & the uncanny in ...

    After passing seven days, the moon casts its silver light on the sea, enabling the mariner to see the beauty of the "water snakes" which helps him to love God creatures. His sin, resembled with the Albatross, falls down from around his neck "as lead".

  1. Expound and assess Aristotle's doctrine of natural slavery

    Indeed he refers dismissively to other views on slavery "that are nowadays supposed true" (1253b17). As Smith writes, "a defence of slavery solely on pragmatic grounds was not all that Aristotle sought to achieve, for such an argument could have been offered without most of the moral and metaphysical considerations

  2. Compare and Contrast The Concept of Nature in the Works of Karl Marx and ...

    moral position on the concept is that capitalism leads to excess production, and thus to too many needs. It follows that there are "right" and "wrong" needs, wrong needs being those needs of capital, leading to a situation in which the worker overproduces.

  1. A Rose Is But A Rose: Parker vs. H.D.

    The reader is left with a feeling of uncertainty, "Can the spice-rose drip suck acrid fragrance hardened in a leaf?" The poems ambiguous ending provokes a need for dissecting the poem further. Is the sea rose just a rose like any other?

  2. The Project Paper - The short story.

    During the troubles of 1918-21 that led to the new Irish Free State, he served as a director of Dublin's influential Abbey Theatre. America offered O'Connor-O'Donovan early hospitality: in 1931 The Atlantic printed his first story. In the 1950s he lived in America, teaching at Northwestern and Harvard.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work