"Superflat" is used by Murakami to refer to various flattened forms in Japanese graphic art, animation, pop culture and fine arts, as well as the "shallow emptiness of Japanese consumer culture."
The Jōmon pottery were distinguished themselves form contemporaneous any other vessels in the world; an artistic interest of Jōmon Japanese overwhelmed a practical utility.
A parvenu Toyotomi Hideyoshi constructed a fabulous portable tea room, covered with gold leaf and lined inside with red gossamer.
During the period under the Muromachi or Ashikaga shogunate rule, a profound change took place in Japanese culture.
The introduction of Western cultural values led to a dichotomy in Japanese art, as well as in nearly every other aspect of culture, between traditional values and attempts to duplicate and assimilate a variety of clashing new ideas.
The Kyoto nobility in the Heian period developed a society devoted to elegant aesthetic pursuits.
In the Edo period, a style of woodblock prints called ukiyo-e became a major art form and its techniques were fine tuned to produce colorful prints.
The Kamakura period saw the introduction of the two religious streams that had perhaps the greatest impact on the country.
Even after Empress Suiko openly encouraged the acceptance of Buddhism, the ancient belief had not be taken over by Buddhism but has survived for centuries to this day.
The official policy of separation of Shintō and Buddhism caused great damage to Buddhism in Japan.
Enryakuji, the temple complex of Tendai became a sprawling center of power, attended not only by ascetic monks, but also by brigades warrior monks who fought in the temple's interest.
Meiji rulers made Shintō the official religion, creating a form of Shintō known as State Shintō by merging Shrine, Folk, and Imperial Household Shinto.
Kami, Japan’s indigenous religion and foreign Buddhism never quite fused, but a combination of Buddhist and Taoist elements, and the incorporation of shamanistic features of the indigenous religion remained however inextricably linked all the way to the present day.
Over time the Japanese developed the ability to absorb, imitate, and finally assimilate those elements of foreign culture that complemented their aesthetic preferences.
Tezuka,'the father of manga' and 'the god of comics'loved the Disney stories and illustrations so much, he copied them line for line.
“In certain contexts, Japanese culture can combine the auras of sexual energy and violence without creating an atmosphere of seedy perversity or provocation.” Roland Kelts
Managa is an art form in which expressive elements: drawing, typography, graphic design, and panel layout are highly integrated. The expressive techniques hold true for Anime, and make it a sophisticated art form.
Violence is another prominent feature of Japanese Manga and Anime. Besides the works whose main theme is violence itself, those for younger target depict violence with no restraint as well.
Among Japanese traditional art techniques, line drawing has fundamental impact on today's Manga and Anime. "Drawn only with outlines, Manga who inherits the characteristic of Japanese-style painting made up of lines seem three-dimensional.
With the rise of popular culture in the Edo period, a style of woodblock prints called ukiyo-e characterized by the aesthetic two-dimensional forms, the absence of western notion of perspective became a major art form.
Japanese aesthetics, in its nature covers a broad spectrum in comparison with the explicit formulation of 'aesthetics' in the Western sense, and is seen as an integral part of daily life.
"Animation" is a compound word of"Anima" ("Animal" comes from "Anima") and Animate. Few Japanese Manga and Anime don't contain any animistic connotation.
In the Ghost in the Shell universe, "ghost" means soul, essence, being, mind that separates humans from robots and Ais. If a cyber-brain can generate its own ghost, then there is no particular importance to be placed on “the human.”
Okuno Takuji, a Japanese anthropologist suggests that the expressive techniques in Anime and Manga today derive from the traditional techniques.
Kabukimono (かぶきもの) personified basara (婆娑羅, basara, posing for dramatic effect dressed in imported gaudery form china.) and furyu (風流, fūrū, ostentatious flamboyant design).
"Moe" (萌え, mo’e), came out in 90th, is not a trendy concept something popping out of the blue, but an aesthetic sense that has intricately tied to the Japanese traditional aesthetic ideas.
"The essence of Japanese Anime is in its taboo-free, in terms of violence, eroticism, and mechanical presentation." Sugiyama Tomoyuki
Beyond its cool design, in the context of taboo-free expression, mechanical nature in Manga and Anime may take on a meaning of anthropomorphism or animism.
Let's start with the town, where Haruki grew up and his stories came from. The sea out in front, hills behind, and right next door, major port.
Young Haruki would often hear his parents discussing eighth-century poetry or medieval war takes at the dinner table. Haruki said, “Throughout my teens I became hate ‘Japanese literature’ and ‘teachers’.”
Of his middle-school years, Murakami has written that all he remembers is being beaten by his teachers. He didn't like them and they didn't like him because he wouldn't study.
Haruki was permitted to buy books on credit at the local bookstore, as long as he avoided comic books or trashy weekly magazines, and he became a voracious reader.
In his novels and essays, Murakami expressed his deep emotional attachment to the sea that was close to him throughout his adolescence years.
"The town has deep hold on me; almost all my memories are tied up with the place. Yet the spring I left town to enter university, I let out a sigh of relief from the bottom of my heart,"Haruki said in his novel.
Hanshinkan, the area between Osaka and Kobe, was a comfy place to spend Haruki's boyhood to the adolescent period.
Haruki would play Mahjongg almost every day, fool around with girls, spend hours in jazz cafés and cinemas, smoke, skip school, read novels during class, and so forth, but his grades were never terrible.
"The road by the river had been one of my favorites. I could walk at the same speed as the river. I could feel it breathing. It was alive. The town belonged to the river from the very beginning, and it would always be the way."
What is Cool Japan?
The keywords, "Cool Japan," are flying all around the world.
From fashion, anime, games, and food, various cultures that the Japanese take for granted are being accepted as cool and trendy by foreigners.
"COOL JAPAN Discovering what makes Japan cool," uses the sense of foreigners to the fullest, to dig up and examine the appeal and secrets of these cool cultural aspects.
In a 2002 article in Foreign Policy entitled "Japan's Gross National Cool," Douglas McGray wrote of Japan "reinventing superpower" as its cultural influence expanded internationally despite the economic and political problems of the "lost decade."
Surveying youth culture and the role of manga, anime, fashion, film, consumer electronics, architecture, cuisine, J-pop, and phenomena of cuteness such as Hello Kitty, McGray highlighted Japan's considerable soft power, posing the question of what message the country might project.
He also argued that Japan's recession may even have boosted its national cool, due to the partial discrediting of erstwhile rigid social hierarchies and big-business career paths.