Hayao Miyazaki: The Transnational Fantasy of Post-WWII Japan

Of all of Japan’s modern international cultural product, perhaps the most prominent is Japanese animation, or animé, and for more than a decade, Hayao Miyazaki has been the preeminent Japananese anime filmmaker.  Wildly popular within Japan, Miyazaki’s influence has gone global, and his art is appreciated by both young and old worldwide. [Read more…]

Christopher Drake Barnewolt

Christopher is an International Relations major, with a strong interest in history.  Born in California and raised in Massachusetts, he came to William and Mary seeking some famous Southern hospitality, and likes what he sees.  Christopher began studying Uechi-Ryu Karate, an Okinawan martial art, when he was six years old and holds the rank of a First-Degree Black Belt, or shodan.



Growing up, Christopher initially resisted the Pokemon craze that swept through his peers like wildfire through tall grass, but was ultimately sucked in through peer pressure.  Later in high school Christopher and his friends took part in a memorable viewing of Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away, an aesthetically breathtaking film he remembers one of his friends appropriately describing as “stoner-ific.”  Simultaneously intrigued by and wary of modern Japanese pop-culture, Christopher kept his distance from most of its manifestations until being blessed with a quirky college girlfriend with a love for anime.  Through her, Christopher was reintroduced to the works of Miyazaki, Studio Ghibli, and Satoshi Kon.

These new interests were eventually integrated into Christopher’s love of history.  While taking a class on Modern Japanese History, Christopher became more aware of the unique cultural position of Japan, it’s long and varied history, and the ongoing identity crisis Japan has been experiencing since Commodore Perry forced her to accommodate the Western powers.  Christopher is particularly interested in the transformation of Japanese society since Japan’s defeat in the Second World War, and how activists on both the left and right have attempted to re-shape Japan’s modern identity in their own image.  He is especially interested in the sociopolitical messages of the great anime master Hayao Miyazaki and the semiotics present in his work, and sees him as emblematic of post-war Japanese pacifism, which may be on the decline.