By Dylan Ng Hiap Jun (21J04), Lim Hong Wei (21J08) and Tian Botao (21J20)
When we mention Japanese culture, what comes to mind? Giant mythical creatures? Traditional Japanese delicacies? Breathtaking animations? Well, they only scratch the surface of the plethora of aspects Japanese culture encompasses . In recent years, Japanese culture has started emerging as one of the most influential types of foreign culture to enter our society as part of globalisation, and its impact is felt in many aspects of our lives, be it the music we listen to, the kind of entertainment we enjoy, or even some lasting lessons from a story we hold dear to us.
RVians and even RV’s staff are no strangers to Japanese culture, and their voices on why Japanese culture should be embraced and marvelled at is an eye opening perspective that all of us can take up as well!
Anime, also known by some as Japanese animation, is the mascot of Japanese culture alongside its pen and paper ancestor, Manga. Some of the classics that most have at least heard about include Pokemon, Dragon ball, Naruto and some trendy anime that have recently skyrocketed in popularity includes those of the likes of Kimetsu No Yaiba (Demon Slayer), Shingeki no Kyojin (Attack on Titan) and Jujutsu Kaisen (Sorcery fight), that surely have become a big part of our lives whether as a representation of our childhood or the lessons we learn from them.
To broaden our perspective, we had the honour of interviewing our charismatic and knowledgeable teacher, Mr Tan Ching! You may know him as a Chemistry, CID or even a Project Work teacher. What most people do not know is that behind his serious and intimidating presence, lies a passionate anime-watcher!
Q: Are you a fan of Japanese culture (mangas/anime) ?
Q: How did you get exposed to Japanese culture?
A: Before the Korean wave, there was this period where Japanese drama, manga and anime was quite the hype. I remember when we were at RV, the instrumental of theme songs of a Japanese drama were played over the PA before morning assembly.
Q: Which anime/manga has made the biggest impact in your life, share and elaborate
A: One Piece. To me, I think of it as a reminder of how we should live life. Life should be an adventure to realise our crazy dreams and it’s made even more meaningful with comrades who have their own dreams but are supporting one another in our being and becoming.
One Piece follows the adventures of Luffy and the Straw Hat Pirates, as they brave the seas together, achieving their very own dreams!
Q: How much time do you spend on manga/anime per week?
A: I’m the kind who will binge watch when most of the episodes of the season are out. So maybe 6 hours at a go for a 12-episode run?
Q: How do you manage your time between work and this hobby/interest?
A: I guess it helps to be efficient when working. Learning to work fast, work smart, work well is something that accumulates over time. Besides, I see anime (and other productions or shows) as sources of inspiration for creativity and stories. That helps with my work too. So, in a way, it’s nice when that work and hobby is blurred.
Contrary to popular belief, anime is not always about violence, combat, or anything obscene which are common stereotypes regarding anime within our community. Instead there are many anime that can delve deep into the human psyche and address deep, abstract topics. They explore some real life issues in a way that other mediums are unable to, with a mix of realism and some fantastical elements while serving as a great form of human literature as well.
The movie “I want to eat your pancreas'' which was released in 2018, despite its questionable title, is actually a work of art that encapsulates the essence of living life to the fullest and being optimistic, even if the ending of your story may have already been uncontrollably written for you. Anime has been both an entertaining and inspiring source of entertainment, which is exactly what some RVians and RV’s staffs have thought about their exposure to anime!
Despite its gory title,the movie “I want to eat your pancreas” is a moving romantic tale that is sure to make you shed a tear!
Tan Jing Yang from 21J10 has also engaged in rather ‘under the radar' anime like Barakamon, which is about a calligrapher who found his own style and personality after living in a rural part of Japan. This is also a prime example of how anime doesn't necessarily have to include flashy battle sequences or be overly comedic for it to stick with the viewer, but can depend on meaningful messages. Barakamon is not a tale of good triumphing over evil, but rather an example of why our uneventful daily lives can be story enough, even if said life involves being assaulted by small children.
Barakamon emphasises on the fun in the most trivial of things through the comical interactions between our main characters Naru (Left) and Sei (Right)
Anime can be seen as positively and directly influencing one’s habits and lifestyle while being a good refreshing medium to consume after a tiring day at school. Hence, if you have not tried watching anime, we highly recommend you to give it a go in your free time and you may find out there is much more that meets the eye to Japanese culture.