Why Is A Parent's Guide to Anime Needed?


Some anime are expressly designed for children, and some can be enjoyed by the entire family. Others--including many series originally broadcast on Japanese television--contain material that some parents will find objectionable, even though other parents wouldn't hesitate to share these videos with their kids. And some are explicitly designed for adult audiences and shouldn't be shared with children.
Another point parents should bear in mind about anime is that, in Japanese culture, casual nudity isn't considered to be harmful to children. Many quite innocent anime videos, designed for broadcast on Japanese TV, contain brief nudity in non-sexual situations (for example, in public baths, which are very much part of traditional Japanese culture).
Non-Japanese parents will need to decide for themselves whether this content is appropriate for their children. Unlike American animated films intended for children's audiences, anime tends to deal much more realistically with evil and death. The classic American villain--wholly evil, and not very believable--gives way to complex characters with whom one can partly sympathize. Anime is often thought-provoking and provides an excellent foundation for raising important issues with your children.
Parents should realize that Japan isn't as "liberated" as the U.S. with respect to the presence of women in the professions, and some anime reflect this and portray women in traditional, submissive roles. This isn't necessarily a liability; evidence of this difference could provide an occasion for discussing cultural differences and historical change with american kids. On the whole, though, anime authors are probably more liberal than Japanese society, and one finds many anime with strong, independent female characters.
Recently, too, there is a growing controversy over gender roles in Japan. An American friend recently complained bitterly over the pervasiveness of sadistic, (heterosexual) male-oriented Japanese pornography in Japan. There is like a message that women are sexual objects in some japanese cartoons and it has become almost epidemic in Japanese culture, and that male chauvenism is everywhere. Many career women in Japan seem to be so disgusted with things that they refuse to marry. And too many men are expected to sacrifice themselves to their jobs, to the point of having no family involvement. When a man retires, he sometimes becomes trapped in a family he doesn't know, with nothing to do, and he tends to die soon after from his sudden lack of purpose.
For parents convenience, A Parent's Guide to Anime uses a simple, color-coded rating scheme. However, they say that family decisions regarding the suitability of any particular video require more detailed information, which provides substantive reviews. The reviews can provide information to help them to decide whether to share a given anime video with their family or not.
This is how they select the audience’s censore, below each icon they write a brief explanation of the video content:




Historical and Modern Attitudes

Historically, like almost every culture on the planet, Japan has tended toward idealizing male dominance and female submissiveness. However, women have not been invisible, especially in Japan's early years. Some of Japan's greatest literary figures were women, such as the novelist Lady Murasaki, who lived about a thousand years ago. Some of Japan's earliest rulers were empresses. However, when Japan became war-oriented and feudal, women quickly became second-class citizens. Most women were treated as they have been treated throughout history: as merchandise, or servants, and as heir-producing machines. This is not to say men were free from societal chains; men in Japan are expected to conform to societal expectations, too, and males were expected to devote themselves to their tasks with great diligence and hard work.
The macho ideal of a strong, cool male fits the Japanese ideal very closely. At home, some Japanese men tend to order their wives about. They have a tendency to speak gruffly, and use the wife's first name. "Kyoko, the tea!" or "Mayuko, please get me more coffee." Wives, meanwhile, are generally expected to refer to their husbands with the polite form of "you," or "anata," and they are expected to use more polite phrases and to obey their husbands.
Of course. An interesting exception to this, however, are many families with children. Some parents take to calling each other as "Mama" or "Papa" (or "okaasan" and "otousan"); hence, not only do the children refer to their mother as "mama" or "okaasan," but so does the father (and vice versa). "Let's ask mama when she gets home," the husband might say. "Papa, is this your wallet?" the wife might say. This is extended further once the parents become grandparents, and they start calling each other "grandfather" or "grandmother," just as the newest generation does.
At work, though, it is reported that women are the last to be hired and the first to be fired. Many college-educated women simply aren't hired, even if they're qualified. There is still an expectation that a married woman will quit her job to stay at home. Sexual harassment, though technically illegal, is apparently common at the workplace, and both men and women are expected to regard it as normal.
In society in general, naked women are plastered all over from subways to the TV set (yes, even prime time TV). As one American family in Japan put it, "At first the kids would stare at the TV set (because of the prevalence of female nudity), but after a while, they got used to it." Pornographic bookstores are pretty common, and business men are frequently seen reading pornographic books openly, in public. Much of the recent pornography, reports a friend, is based on sadistic themes.

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