Globalism and Localism in Hayao Miyazaki's Anime
In his Runaway World, Anthony Giddins writes that globalisation "is led from the west, bears the strong imprint of American political and economic power, and is highly uneven in its consequences. But globalisation is not just the dominance of the West over the rest; it affects the United States as it does the other countries" (Anthony Giddins, Runaway World: How Globalisation is Reshaping our Lives [London: Profile Books, 1999] 4.). I think this situation of globalisation affecting its own originator and leader parallels the (post)modern or meta-modern situation, in which the animistic sensibility (magic), which has thus far been marginalized or actively suppressed by the (Western) Enlightenment (modernity), is actually being revived via modernity itself. One typical example of this revival is Japanese anime: for instance, in Hayao Miyazaki's Nausicaä of the Valley of Wind, Princess Mononoke, and Spirited Away. However, I am rather skeptical as to whether or not Miyazaki's version of animism and magic, whose propagation outside Japan heavily depends on Disney's commercial networks, could help bring about the fundamental change that Giddins contends is necessary: that humankind must and can control runaway globalisation. My paper analyzes Miyazaki anime in light of globalisation and localisation, and explores the possibilities and limitations of Miyazaki anime in realizing Giddins' contention. In the process, I draw on Michael Hardt's and Antonio Negri's concept of "Empire", "a decentered and deterritorializing apparatus of rule that progressively incorporates the entire global realm within its open, expanding frontiers" (Hardt and Negri, Empire [Harvard UP, 2000] xii). I argue that their concept of Empire brings into question the Utopian communities that Miyazaki anime envisions as ideal substitutes for modern, imperialistic nation-states.
Keywords: Globalism and Localism, Hayao Miyazaki, anime, runaway globalisation, Empire, Enlightenment, modernity, (post)modernity
Prof. Takao Hagiwara
Associate Professor of Japanese, The Japanese Studies Program, Dept. of Modern Languages and Literatures, Case Western Reserve University