عنوان مقاله [English]
This article aims to examine features in Japanese comic books and animations (Manga and Anime) that can be identified as religious elements. An attempt is made to explore what factors can lead to the production of religiously-themed animations which at the same time are entertaining and educational. Through the animation production process, artists and directors express their ideas that undoubtedly embrace social or personal ideological values. Although stories can indicate a great deal of the authors’ intention, excessive focus on the authorial intent downplays the active role of audiences in reception and interpretation of the content. In fact, authorial intent does not always match audience’s reception as audiences can interpret the content in various ways. Despite the fact that Japanese society is religiously deficient, based on the recent studies of scholars in the field of manga and anime, an extremely wide variety of potential religious dispositions exists in Japanese manga and anime. Analysis of religiously themed manga and anime shows that deploying religious contents in these media can be divided into two main approaches. First, proselytizers of specific religious group that use media such as manga and anime to present their formal manifestos. In this case, the commissioned artists should follow specific doctrines to shape the transmitted messages. Yet, proselyte based products can be greeted with apathy by audiences because of their didactic religious content. In the second approach, artists and directors may borrow religious vocabularies and imageries in the service of creating reasonable and entertaining stories. So, artists can liberally pick and mix images and concepts from a variety of religious contents for the mere entertainment, while their primary interests could be making art or money. These kinds of products may elicit religious responses in audiences despite having little content that can be considered as religion. Analyzing the methods for the representation of religious concepts in Japanese manga and anime indicates that as the statement of religious views in these works take a more pedagogical and didactic approach, the anticipation of the events of the story and therefore the message of the work becomes easier. As a result, the entertainment aspect of the story can be considerably reduced. On the other hand, works that have been produced with the goal of entertainment have been successful somehow to make a balance between the author’s intention for education and the audience’s demand for entertainment. In recent years, animation has established itself as one of the most important aspects of cultural policies in Islamic republic of Iran due to the recognition of the dominating power of this media toward young generations. The Iran’s approach is set to produce religious themed animation in order to convey Islamic and national values to the audiences. But this kind of products has always suffered from the lack of appeal and as a result, the animation industry in Iran has come across various problems regarding its development. The goal of this study is to explore what options animation industry of Iran can learn from the Japanese experiences.