Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The anima in animation: Miyazaki heroines and post-patriarchal consciousness
by Shore, Lesley Anne, Ph.D., Pacifica Graduate Institute, 2014, 223; 3645282
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation explores how the heroines in Hayao Miyazaki animations subvert the antiquated, patriarchal models of the conquering hero that predominate Western literature and cinema. As unifying agents of change, such heroines use communal solutions to conflict by rejecting militarism, refuting stereotypical gender roles and reversing environmental destruction. Five Miyazaki animations are reviewed: My Neighbor Totoro, Spirited Away, Howl's Moving Castle, Princess Mononoke and Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind. The protagonists in these films undertake a voyage of balance inspired by Shinto animism and Japanese mythological traditions that reflect the heroine's journey schema and the individuation process that is the zenith of depth psychology. I argue that Miyazaki heroines are not solely aligned with Jungian theories of the anima as a contrasexual projection of a male, but rather as the spark of life that ignites the storyline.

The intention of this work is to examine the role of the anima rich heroine by drawing upon the depth psychological theories of James Hillman, Hayao Kawai, Marie- Louise von Franz, Ginette Paris and Christine Downing. At the same time, Miyazaki heroines are contrasted with the Disney princesses that reinforce traditional heterosexual norms and other pop culture protagonists that support androcentric order.

To attain a holistic vision of the world, the Miyazaki heroine must overcome the patriarchal constructs of her society that would otherwise disempower her. Such heroines exert their strength of character through compassionate understanding of the oppositional characters within the film story rather than viewing them as foes to be destroyed. Miyazaki heroines discover equilibrium of self by meeting their unconscious shadow aspects and positively integrating them instead of projecting them negatively onto others.

The anima rich, complex heroine in Miyazaki animations is a transformative protagonist that represents an emerging heroic and mythic model for a global community in transition. Drawing from soul more than ego, she contributes to an evolving collective psyche that bears the potential to heal and reshape this nascent post-patriarchal world.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Paris, Ginette
Commitee: Mahaffey, Patrick, Zenon Maheu, Gilles
School: Pacifica Graduate Institute
Department: Mythological Studies
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 76/03(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Asian Studies, Social psychology, Womens studies, Film studies
Keywords: Animation, Cinema, Feminism, Japanese myth, Miyazaki, hayao, Psychology
Publication Number: 3645282
ISBN: 978-1-321-34049-5
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