Japanese culture often becomes the focal point of countless anime stories. Japan’s thirty-thousand-year history contains myriads of traditional art forms and cultural customs that hold immense ethnic significance to the nation. Japanese art varies from more well-known and conventional crafts, such as calligraphy and woodblock prints, to more obscure creative pursuits, such as lacquerware and traditional dancing.
While most international anime fans cannot experience these traditional Japanese arts first hand, the medium of anime can serve as a wonderful educational platform for those interested in Japanese culture and heritage. Anime viewers around the world can gain a deeper appreciation of Japanese art through animation.
ten These notes of Snow White accent the traditional Japanese instrument Shamisen
The traditional three-stringed Japanese musical instrument, the shamisen, is featured in many anime series. Characters from countless shows, such as Gintama Where Saekano, can be seen playing. However, Those notes of Snow White highlights the playing of the shamisen as the central point of its narrative. The show focuses on the artistic journey of Setsu Sawamura, a gifted shamisen player who was inspired by his grandfather, an acclaimed master of the instrument, to find his unique musical voice. Setsu’s journey to regaining his love for the shamisen introduces audience members to this fascinating instrument and teaches them to appreciate its music.
9 Kabuki-bu! Enjoy the art of Kabuki theater
The surreal performances of classic Japanese kabuki theater are familiar to people around the world. This form of dramatic theater is famous for its extravagant costumes, captivating acting, and colorful history that dates back to the early Edo period. Nevertheless, the art of kabuki theater is still alive and popular, despite having been around for centuries. The 2017 animated series Kabuki-bu! follows Kurogu, a kabuki enthusiast who attempts to start a club dedicated to theatrical form at his school. Some audience members might be intimidated by Kabuki’s long and convoluted history, like many of Kurogu’s classmates. However, the true passion of the hero is guaranteed to spark love for kabuki in every viewer.
8 Kono Oto Tomare! Sounds of Life educated the public about Koto
The koto is a plucked half-tube zither instrument with thirteen strings that produces a stunning and unorthodox sound. Kono Oto Tomare! The sounds of life strives to introduce its audience to the art of playing the koto and to educate them about the surrounding culture of the instrument. The series begins with a single founder of the Koto High School Club, Takezo Kurata, struggling to recruit more members. Over time, more and more people join Takezo and share with him their appreciation of the iconic Japanese musical instrument.
7 Tamako Market focuses on the culinary art of making mochi
Japan is famous for its delicious culinary arts and decadent traditional desserts. The popular Japanese rice cake, mochi, stands out as one of the county’s most beloved cultural cakes. Kyoto Animation’s Wholesome Life Slice Series Tamako Market takes its viewers on an adventure through the vibrant business community of the Usagiyama shopping district. At the heart of the district is the respectable Tama-ya mochi shop, run by the Kitashirakawa family. The playful story of Kitashirakawa’s teenage daughter, Tamako, focuses on mochi-making, a tradition that brings families and friends together.
6 Sakon, the ventriloquist teaches spectators Japanese puppet theater
Bunraku is a form of Japanese puppet theater that originated in Osaka in the early 17th century and had considerable cultural significance for the region. The animated series of the late 90s Sakon, the ventriloquist takes an unconventional approach to incorporating bunraku into its plot.
The show focuses on a brilliant puppeteer Sakon Tachibana and his favorite doll and best friend, Ukon. Together, the two solve various murder mysteries in their community, using the art of bunraku to aid in their investigations.
5 Hanayamata draws attention to Japanese dance move Yosakoi
Yosakoi is a relatively new form of Japanese performing arts that originated on the island of Shikoku in the 1950s. Nonetheless, it quickly gained popularity at various Japanese festivals and celebrations. The art form even received an anime dedicated to it, Hanayamata. The series tells the story of Naru Sekiya, an average high school girl, as she meets a transfer student from America, Hana. After falling in love with yosakoi, Hana decided to study in Japan and start her own club showcasing the unique movement of performative dance.
4 The protagonist of Barakamon is a soul searching calligrapher
Calligraphy in Japan is also known as shodo, which literally translates to “the way of writing”. Although derived from Chinese calligraphy, shodō quickly established itself as its own brand of artistic expression. slice of life series barakamon tells the story of a selfish calligrapher, Handa Seishuu. After punching a critic at his exhibit and sabotaging his career, Handa retreats to a remote village to find his own voice in the intricate art of calligraphy and mature as a person by interacting with the villagers of the Goto Islands.
3 Hyouge Mono delves into the history of the Japanese tea ceremony
The Japanese tea ceremony is a traditional cultural activity recognized as its own unique art form. The art of preparing and presenting tea dates back to the 9th century and is considered an essential part of the nation’s cultural heritage. The historical series Hyouge Mono focuses on a famous Japanese warlord from the Sengoku period, Furuta Sasuke, who got lost in his passion for making tea.
The compelling tale sheds light on the intricacies of the tea ceremony and its unfortunate effects on the warlord’s status and career.
2 Miss Hokusai sheds light on the craft of Japanese engravers
The Japanese style of woodblock printing known as ukiyo-e and its prominent artist Katsushika Hokusai are credited with the most iconic work of Japanese fine art, The Great Wave off Kanagawa print from the Thirty Series -Six Views of Mount Fuji. Miss Hokusai focuses on the famous engraver’s daughter, O-Ei, and her life in her father’s shadow. The film chronicles O-Ei’s artistic and personal journey, as she was, as many art experts believe, as capable and talented as Katsushika Hokusai. Nonetheless, O-Ei’s life was tragic both creatively and romantically.
1 Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu is a love letter to Rakugo, a style of Japanese storytelling
The spoken word vaudeville style known as rakugo is one of the oldest forms of Japanese entertainment. Rakugo is a form of verbal storytelling in which a single performer mimics each character through intonation and pitch while remaining perfectly still. Josei’s Heartfelt Drama Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu uses rakugo as a tool for his fascinating character development. The series focuses on the lives of two famous rakugo performers, Yakumo Yuurakutei and Sukeroku Yuurakutei, their personal rakugo styles, and the path that led to the latter’s death.
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