Analysis Of Taro The Dragon Boy And Princess Mononoke

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The Nihon Shoki, one of Japan’s oldest works, has the most extant historical record of Japan. It begins with the creation myth of how Izanami and Izanagi created modern day Japan. However, this myth explicitly mentions sex, allowing for a clear distinction of gender: “the glaring excessive form in Izanagi’s body and perceived insufficiency in Izanami’s body.” Izanami’s description led to the subordination of women, as the myth describes her gender as insufficient, thus reducing a woman’s power and influence. Over time, we have developed a tacit definition of gender, as we constantly see gender depicted through the use of stereotypes in several media outlets, such as anime. Notwithstanding, media outlets, including anime, exist that challenge traditional gender definitions. In Taro the Dragon Boy and Princess Mononoke, differences exist in the portrayal of female characters; each director defines the female gender, which influences how his audience perceives and constructs gender identity, thus impacting Japan’s progress towards gender equality.
Takahata Isao’s Taro the Dragon Boy depicts and enforces gender roles because of its origins from a folk tale. The setting of Taro the Dragon Boy takes place in Japan’s distant past. During this time, society highly valued masculinity and viewed feminine traits negatively—society saw women as subordinates of men, or as anthropologist Sherry Ortner claims: “woman is being identified with…something that every culture devalues…and that

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