Course: Manga and Anime – The World of Japanese Comics
Lecturer: Ory Bartal
Student: Bar Greenstein
Mukokuseki - “Stateless” Aspects of Anime
In accordance with the Japanese Family Registration Law, many Japanese official documents, such as birth notification forms, ask for one's "honseki"; "principle register" or "principle affiliation". Members of family registers affiliated with Japan (hence Japanese) will write the address of the register for the jurisdiction in which they live. Those who are not members of such registers (namely, aliens) will write the name of their country of nationality – and those who have no country will use the term "mukokuseki", meaning literally "has no nationality" ,is "stateless".
The term ‘mukokuseki’, or “stateless”, has also been used by various commentators to describe Japanese manga and anime. As film scholar Susan Pointon points out that “it is impossible to ignore the constant cross-pollination and cultural borrowing that complicate and enrich anime texts.” Pointon goes on to propose that contemporary media cultures function as intersections where elements of different cultures collide, mutate, and merge. In her summary of anime From Akira to Princess Mononoke Susan J. Napier suggests that “Despite its indisputably Japanese origins, anime exists increasingly as a nexus point in global culture - [it inhabits] an amorphous new media territory that crosses and even intermingles national boundaries.” In this regard anime is perhaps the ideal aesthetic product for contemporary period, at the forefront of creating an alternative cultural discourse that goes beyond traditional categories of “native” or “international” to participate in what may well be a genuinely new form of global culture.
Many elements contribute to the “stateless” aspects of anime; among them are fantasyscape settings and ethnically-ambiguous characters, trans-cultural themes such as the apocalypse and escapism,...