Learning About the Japanese Lifestyle Through Anime

  • Anime, as we all know, plays an important role in the lives of Japanese. When you say the word “anime,” the first word that comes to mind is “Japan/Japanese.” But first of all, what is anime and how does it differ from regular cartoons?

    What is anime?

    Anime is a short word for animation. It is a form of art that refers to the Japanese animated movies. It includes different genres that can be found in cinema and such. In some English dictionaries, anime is defined as “Japanese-style animated film or television entertainment” and/or “a style of animation created in Japan.”

    What is the difference between Anime and Cartoons?

    Essentially, there is really no difference between the two. It is just that they are different kinds of the same thing. Formally, any method that imitates an action on the screen is called an animation. Both cartoons and anime are hand-drawn still images or hand-drawn comical short animations. Yet, anime and cartoon differ with their visual characteristics (including facial features/expressions), concept (cartoons are usually light-hearted while animes often don’t follow general concepts, it can be an adventure to another world or such), and subject/theme (cartoons intend to bring laughter and humor while animes mostly focus on life issues or human emotions and sometimes have violence or sexual context).

    Anime as a reflection of Japanese lifestyle

    We all know that watching anime gives us an idea about the daily lives of the Japanese people. From how they eat to how they treat people. Also, various Japanese activities are featured in anime. For example, the animes Kimi ni Todoke and Toradora (both rom-com anime) show a certain activity which is a school festival. Many animes use this kind of setting in their stories. Another featured happening is a festival. You can see the activities that Japanese people engage in at an actual festival in real life. Another example is the Christmas Eve and New Year’s. Animes show the things that Japanese people do during such holidays.

    Japanese foods are always present in anime. Actually, I’ve never seen an anime that would not feature any kind of Japanese food. There’s always a certain episode in which they eat onigiri or bento/obento. In the anime School Rumble, Curry Rice and onigiri is the common meal you can encounter through the episodes.

    Attitudes and personalities of the Japanese can also be known through anime. Since it came from Japan and the artists are/were Japanese, then most likely the attitude and personality of the characters are alike to the Japanese people. Almost all of the animes conduct hospitality and affection towards other people. Anime main characters are helpful, thoughtful, and inspiring to the other characters as well. You can see the cheerful and bright side of people personality through the anime characters.