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  Vol 39, July 2009

The World and Japan: Animated Anxiety in a Global Age

John Lance Griffith

The spread of pop culture productions out from one coumtry across the world is the very expression of globalism. The significance of Japanese anime and manga in America is becoming increasingly appearent; that it is no longer simply a produst for the Japanese market, for the exclusive consumption of its particular culture, means that that it has placed itself within and recognized itself as part of that globalized world. On the one hand, the positioning of anime within the large world has its advantages for its writers and the culture at large, by providing Japan a voice in that world. On the other hand, despite anime's spread acress the world and the potential benefits of globalization, within the narratives of an-ime itself there persists a strain od anxiety and suspicion regarding the prospect of increased economic and culture globalism. In anime's villainous multi-mational corporations and its frequent depiction of a de-humanizing internet (Ghost in the Shell, Serial Experiments Lain), we see a fear that integration of economy and the melding of culture threatens identity at level of the individual and the nation. This es-say analyzes the ambivalent representation (narratives and images) of globalism in literature (the novel of Haruki Murakami) and also more popular forms of culture such as anime; and it considers both in light of sociologist Niklas Luhmann's system theory, in order to explore how these narratives articulate their anxiety about the impact of the global system on the individual and about the formation of identity in a global age.

Keywords globalism, anime, Ghost in the Shel, Haruki Murakami, Niklas Luhmann
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