The Hiden Hypothesis: Examining the Influence of Popular Media on Idealized Genders in Japan

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The Hiden Hypothesis: Examining the Influence of Popular Media on Idealized Genders in Japan

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2011-04-13

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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.

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Additional contributor: Paul Rouzer (faculty mentor)

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Mayfield, Matthew. (2011). The Hiden Hypothesis: Examining the Influence of Popular Media on Idealized Genders in Japan. Retrieved from the University Digital Conservancy, https://hdl.handle.net/11299/104737.

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