Princess Mononoke Analysis

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Hayao Miyazaki’s Princess Mononoke is a development of Japanese animation that can be seen as a romantic fable of two characters that were brought together through one cause; however, Miyazaki’s film can be seen as a Japanese cultural production. It is seen as a cultural production because it shows elements of Shinto through the Kami and the use of water for purification, as well as the female stereotype reversal that was quite dominant in the time of the Heian period. The characters in Princess Mononoke interact with the kami (gods or spirits) when they are in sacred sites or areas that assist in the contact. In Princess Mononoke, the mountain is the place where the characters make contact with the kami, which is their Shinto shrine because…show more content…
The insistence of purification—both physical and spiritual—is basic to Japanese religion” (Earhart, 1982, 12). Therefore, the water that Ashitaka used to help relieve the pain that he was in from the demon because water was used a “purifying agent” (Earhart, 1982, 12). There are two cases in the film that show that water was used to heal Ashitaka provided the use of water to relieve his wound from the demon. Another time was when the spirit of the forest puts Ashitakas body in the water to heal an iron bullet wound that he suffered while bringing Princess Mononoke out of Iron Town; additionally was when Princess Mononoke drug Ashitaka through the water purify his wounds. The use of water to purify also described as one of the three distinctive characteristics of Shinto. “Shinto features a reverence for the “bright” and “pure” in all matter and thought, attempting to overcome physical pollution with rites of exorcism and bad thoughts with a “pure and bright heart” (Earhart, 1982,…show more content…
In multiple instances throughout the film, female characters violate gender norms by acting as both warriors and leaders because they are adapting typically masculine traits. In the film, women are the majority of the labor force at iron town. The men are merely there to do the labor that needs the most physical power. “Americans oversimplify Japanese women as demure, submissive, and oppressed” (Kyu Hyun, 2002, 38). This quote shows that the stereotype of women in Japanese culture had been just like the western perspective where they were below men. This quote also shows that Princess Mononoke reverses the gender role from being submissive to being above men. Another quote that supports that women were not submissive says that “the young unmarried women in Japan have become a powerful group, demographically and economically” (Kyu Hyun, 2002, 39). The women who were in the upper class society of Japan had time on their hands and we know this because they had time to write literature. “Most of the canonical work from this period was produced by women of the upper social class” (Varner, 2005,

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