One cannot deny the influence of popular culture and it’s artifacts on those
exposed to it. However, the ways in which the results of these secret
transmissions (hiden) from popular culture manifest themselves within society are
unique in each circumstance. One such hiden is found in the result of a ban
introduced in mid-17th century Japan that would impact the gender ideals of
Japanese women for hundreds of years, up to and including today. This ban
restricted women from performing on the stages of kabuki theatre, and left the
work of performing the Onnagata (way of the woman) roles to men. One result of
this, aided by a seemingly insatiable consumer culture, is an idealized gender that
has found it’s way into the roles of women represented in such popular medias as
anime (Japanese animation), manga (Japanese comics), and video games. Given
that 60% of the media produced in Japan is animation, as opposed to 10-15% in
America (Napier, 2005), the influence of such things believed by many westerners
to be “childish” is much more potent than one may initially believe it to be.
Additional contributor: Paul Rouzer (faculty mentor)
The Hiden Hypothesis: Examining the Influence of Popular Media on Idealized Genders in Japan.
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