Thursday, August 18, 2005

Culture Shock in the Disney DVD

Here's a very good example of the dangers involved in importing pop culture, or even traditional culture, from other countries. Disney's latest attempt to import an animated feature from Japan's reknowned Studio Ghibli (maker of such blockbusters as Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke, among many others) has left at least one American reviewer scratching his head with both puzzlement and disgust.

This particular movie, Pom Poko, is based on traditional Japanese mythology concerning the tanuki, or raccoon dog (not "raccoon", as the reviewer mistakenly says). The problem is that, in old Japanese mythology, the tanuki is not only a very clever and mischievous, supernatural creature with shape-shifting abilities. It is also, shall we say, well endowed...and it tends to make very good use of that endowment, as this movie accurately portrays...much to the reviewer's sorrow...

The Europeans have long accused Americans of being too (hypocritically) prudish. I wonder what the Japanese would say about this review? Maybe I should ask...

7 comments:

Corn Cob Bob said...

Sometimes, the game of Cornhole ends up in a serious Scrotum fight, not unlike the battle in this movie.

Believe me, I know!!

DewKid said...

.... and who asked you??

rob said...

I have posted a still from Pom Poko that might shed some light (ahem) on the type of thing that may be raising some Western eyebrows...

hey, just trying to be helpful here!

The Moody Minstrel said...

Thanks, Rob.

Actually, the picture in that still seems pretty tame. Traditional images and sculptures of tanuki dating from medieval times often have bags between their legs that are about as big as their legs.

Let's just say that, if Studio Ghibli had left the tanuki "unadorned", people here would be scratching their heads and saying, "That's not tanuki!"

Then again, this is the country where buying teenage girls' used underpants is a favorite hobby among middle-aged men...

Anonymous said...

I haven't seen the movie, but I found an interesting review.
http://www.nausicaa.net/miyazaki/pompoko/impressions.html#5

Well, actually, Tanuki is one of the most familiar figures in Japanese folk tales. And there are some cute children's songs.

Anonymous said...

I haven't seen the movie, but I found an interesting review.

www.nausicaa.net/miyazaki/pompoko/
impressions.html#5

Well, actually, Tanuki is one of the most familiar figures in Japanese folk tales. And there are some cute children's songs.

Anonymous said...

Sorry I published the first one without seeing the preview.

And the review I meant was
5) Chicago Sun-Times(June 11, 1995)