Spirited Away (1996)
Hayao Mayasaki (2006)
The cinema of Hayao Mayasaki frequently revisits themes of ecology, opposition to war, and a recovery of old Japanese values in contemporary society. In this respect, his cinematic output performs a vital cultural role in the comprehension of Japanese values; his work is imaginative, informative, and of great cultural importance. Spirited Away, Mayasaki’s most critically acclaimed animated film, explores the struggle of dissolving traditional culture and customs within an increasingly globalised society. As such, the filmmaker employs fundamental Shinto and Buddhist symbols in his film, the two religious cornerstones of the prevalent ideology in the Japanese belief system. By illustrating the conceptual base of these two ancient religions, the director makes direct links to Japan’s history and culture, reminding his Japanese audience of their rich cultural heritage, while simultaneously transmitting meaningful universal values to his foreign viewers. Thus, Mayasaki actively encourages the practice of Cultural Diplomacy by creating an international dialogue of Japanese culture; his work serves as one of the most tangible links between the Western and Oriental culture.