“Thinking of Spain in a flat way”: Visiting Spain and Spanish cultural heritage through contemporary Japanese anime

Manuel Hernandez Perez

Abstract


This article contextualizes the representation of Spain and Spanish culture among Japanese cultural producers, particularly through the production of Japanese commercial animation (commonly named anime). Toward that goal, it provides a historical background of Japan-Spain relations within the context of the tourism industry, as well as some examples of the diverse forms of representation within several creative industries. Subsequently, the article reviews the ways in which popular culture has been contributed to national branding. There is special attention to the Spanish case and the proliferation of such images sometimes resulting in the (mis)representation of Spain’s tangible and intangible cultural heritage. Internationally-distributed anime productions will be examined as a reflection of Spanish national branding on Japanese audiences and this global industry. Three cases among contemporary anime productions (Nasu: Andarushia no Natsu, 2003; So・Ra・No・Wo・To, 2010 and Crayon Shin Chan, 1992-) have been selected due to the combination of fictional and misrepresented Spanish cultural features in their narratives.


Keywords


Spain; Japan; Japanese Anime; Fictionality; Construction; Misrepresentations; National Branding

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Mutual Images Journal by Mutual Images Research Association is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.