Turning back time: an exploration of nostalgia in Shinto japan through studio Ghibli films
Lim, Jia Hui
Date of Issue2017
School of Humanities and Social Sciences
This essay performs a cultural reading, and explores the stages of cultural learning of characters in the double-feature Studio Ghibli films, My Neighbour Totoro by Hayao Miyazaki and Grave of the Fireflies by Isao Takahata. We see the importance of learning and appreciating tradition for the protagonists in Totoro, and the problem of being unable to cope with changes represented through the struggle and death of the protagonists in Grave of the Fireflies. Both films require their protagonist to endure cultural adaptation and learning. This is due to the changes and defamiliarization of the environment in both films, from destruction caused by war shown in Grave, and the move to a new town in Totoro. This essay aims to compare the ways both films depict that process of cultural adaptation and learning by examining the presence of Japanese cultural beliefs that originated from the Shinto religion in both films. Through this, my essay argues that both films articulate a yearning for an idealized past.
Final Year Project (FYP)
Nanyang Technological University