Disneyfication in Japan
Disneyfication is a term assigned designed to describe and denigrate a society that has an increasing similarity to the Disney theme parks. The phrase holds the same meaning and definition as Disneyization, which was coined by author A. Bryman in his book The Disneyization of society (1999).
It is used to describe the dedicate use of themes, merchandising, huge consumption and emotion based labour on a society.
One of a very obvious disneyfication on the Japanese culture and country, would be through Studio Ghibli.
Studio Ghibli is one of the more famous animation company in japan. It was established in June 1985 by Takahata Isao and Hayao Miyazaki. The success of the film, Nausica of the valley of the wind lead to the founding of the studio. And since then, they have continuously created new and outstanding films, catching hearts of not only the Japanese, but from audiences and fans from all over the world.
Some of their more famous works include, ‘Spirited away’, ‘Howl’s moving castle’ and ‘Ponyo on the cliff by the sea’.
Disneyfication is very prominent in studio ghibli. They have incorporated the usual Japanese culture into movies and added some westernised touch into it.
Theme cafe and museum was also opened during 2001. The museum has different themes in different sections depicting specific scenes or character from each of the studio ghibli films such as ‘My neighbour Totoro’.
Cultures have been changed and altered in order to suit and attract the attentions of the younger generations. The addition of influences into the films further modifies the traditions and culture. However, it is through this modification of culture, that the society is moving on.
Disneyfication also meant the introduction of Stand Operating Procedures into a working environment. In this case, the cafe opened in the museum. The servers in the cafe would be trained to work a certain way.
Changes brought by growth of tourism
With the growth of tourism in Japan, there would be an increase in the introduction of influence from other countries. Practices and the way people look at things would have affected. The influx of western culture into japan has already developed and change the way the Japanese works. In order to catch up with the changes happening outside of the country, they will be conform into changing. For example, the way a company works, or how the interior of the shop should be design, etc.
Disneyfication also affects the way and thinking of the owners. With theming being the more ‘IN’ thing in the market now, they would think about opening theme restaurants or cafe in order to attract the right crowd and make their business successful.
Therefore, in my own views and opinion, i feel that tourism is the main culprit in commodifying cultures and traditions in japan.
In the case of studio ghibli, alteration of tradition Japanese culture had to be done to be included into the films so that more people would be attracted into watching it. However, not all is bad in this case. Should the tradition be able to catch the attention of the younger generations, it would encourage them to search for more information and thus being exposed to the cultures or tradition that they would not have be interested in on a normal basis.
Most of the studio ghibli films also have hidden meanings or teaching in order to make sure viewers gets the best out of watching the films. They are able to put the teaching through in the films and get the message across to all the different age groups.
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