Tengku Intan Maimunah Tengku Sabri & *Noor Sulastry Yurni Ahmad
This article explores the representation of war in Japanese animation films and its impact on society. This study advances the understanding of the portrayal of war in Japanese animation films as well as the role of animation films in depicting important historical events. The films selected are Barefoot Gen (Hadashi no Gen, 1983), Barefoot Gen 2 (Hadashi no Gen 2, 1986), Grave of the Fireflies (Hotaru no Haka, 1988), Girl in Summer Dresses (Natsufuku no Shoujo-tachi, 1988), and Kayoko’s Diary – Who’s Left Behind (Ushiro no Shomen Daare, 1991). The examination of these films reveals the socio-political implications of war pertaining to the Japanese involvement in World War II. The findings show that the war atrocities perpetrated by the Imperial Japan are condemned by the strong portrayal of devastation and deprivation faced by innocent civilians on the home front. The article concludes that in addition to being a form of art, animation films also act as a social commentary and a medium to provoke positive social change in the society at large.
Keywords: Imperialism, Japanese animation film, anime and media