Tainted Away: Violence Over Nature in the Anime of Hayao Miyazaki

Tainted Away: Violence Over Nature in the Anime of Hayao Miyazaki

Merve Çay (İstanbul Bilgi University, Turkey)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-4655-0.ch014
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Global climate change and its effects on the planet attract attention by policymakers as well as scholars. Global ecological crises are gradually being examined both in cultural and scientific terms all over the world as a concept as the relationship between nature and people is examined further. Japanese animation director Hayao Miyazaki stands out with his critical approach to the relationship between humans and nature. Miyazaki's animated films such as Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, and Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind provide us with a different perspective on Mother Earth and the relationship between nature and people in connection to “past,” “present,” and “future.” In this chapter, Miyazaki's three films are examined through three approaches in ecocriticism—deep ecology, ecofeminism, and dark ecology—to show how Miyazaki maintains a unifying, and a not discriminatory, narrative in our perception of nature by finding balancing solutions to dichotomies such as nature-man, human-nonhuman, man-woman, technology-nature.
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Ecocriticism was established as a literary theory in the late 1970s. In that period the human-induced environmental degeneration forced mainly artists and philosophers to re-evaluate their relationship with nature. Glotfelty states that ecocriticism is simply the study of the relationship between literature and the physical environment. She adds that whereas feminist theory analyzes text from a gender-conscious perspective and Marxism examines it in the light of production and economic class, Ecocriticism takes an earth-centered approach to literary studies. As a theoretical statement, ecocriticism tries to find a middle ground between the human and the nonhuman, taking a critical stance that sits squarely between literature and earth (Glotfelty & Fromm, 1996: pp. xviii–xix).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Industrialization: The development process of industries in a country or culture.

Shinto: Indigenous Japanese belief system which is polytheistic and revolves around both animate and inanimate things.

Consumerism: Increasing consumption of goods which are mostly unnecessary in an industrial society.

Anthropocentrism: Putting human beings in front of God and beings other than human, regarding them as a central element in existence.

Materialism: The belief that material possessions and comfort are more important than spiritual values.

Androcentrism: Evaluating things such as cultures and individuals with a male-centric worldview male.

Anime: Japanese style animation aimed both children and adults.

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