The Cultural Effects of Imagery and Human-Nature Relationship on the Space Setup in Miyazaki Cinema

Uludağ Z., Sürdem Ş. S.

Inernational Symposium on Urbanization and Environmental Problems, Transition / Transformation / Authenticity (Uluslararası Kentleşme ve Çevre Sorunları Sempozyumu, Değişim / Dönüşüm / Özgünlük, Eskişehir, Turkey, 28 - 30 June 2018, pp.391-399

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Full Text
  • City: Eskişehir
  • Country: Turkey
  • Page Numbers: pp.391-399
  • Gazi University Affiliated: Yes


The Effects of Cultural Imagery and Human- Nature Relationship on the Space Setup in Miyazaki Cinema



Architectural spaces have social values, cultures and associations within ordinary but meaningful relationships of everyday life and enable them to be transmitted to future generations. For this reason, it is possible to find the formation logic of space in social life, cultural values and geography. Because architecture is influenced by changing cultural and social processes over time, it constantly changes the language of communication. It transmits not only the period and the story of place that it belongs to but also the history and the value of that society and culture. So, space is not only an area that defines a void in space borne, but a place that can be explained by social interaction and action, and its content can be conceptualized, which is the cultural and physical dimension. In this case, architectural space is a tool for social and cultural change, transformation and originality. The concept of space, which is shown as the most original and distinctive feature of architecture, is multidimensional for this reason. This carries it to a ground of interdisciplinary. In this work, this power of architecture will be handled with in relation to a different discipline. Today we live in an urban environment shaped by productions that treat the authenticity of space, its historical / cultural value and its meaning as a consumption object, often without questioning it. The space which is cut off from its context and lose your originality can not host continuities of the culture and tradition. In this case, the created ordinary architectural environments have a strong relationship with technology but, cultural ties and social values are ignored. Yet culture is an instrument for the individual to establish communication with the environment and nature. This instrument is losing its influence day by day due to the pollution of the nature and the environment that become the object of consumption today. Cengiz Bektaş summarizes our situation with these sentences: "Once the culture is polluted, everything is following each other. To say directly, as culture is polluted, the water gets dirty, the air gets dirty.  Soil is polluted...Can we regard the cultures of armed countries as immaculate? Even if their water, air, soil are clean..." (citated by Keleş from Bektaş, 2005, p.1). Napier (2008: 21) indicated that animation setting with the rapid change in narration and the continuous transforming of imagery has effects not only on Japan society but also on industrialized countries. It has a superior advantage about reflecting of change atmosphere. In connection with this, it is resulted that the animations can be instrumentalized in order to analyze the changing society, culture and architecture. In addition, architecture as an interdisciplinary area ensures this research. The aim of this study is to show how the cultural and social experiences of the space are handled and represented in other disciplines such as the anime. In this work, Animations of Miyazaki which deal with problematic issues such as cultural degeneration, identity loss, human-nature relation and breakdown of this relation, deterioration of ecological balance, technological based nature destruction will be examined. Additionally, the contents associated with the subjects that he worked in his animations, Miyazaki reflects directly or indirectly the culture-based imagery to the settings that he created. In short, Miyazaki has developed a unique cinematic narrative form by analyzing the cultural and social structure that determines the visual and auditory codes. Although this form can be seen as local due to the fact that it is fed from Japanese culture, it is universal with the narrative serviced and the message given.

 In this work, conceptually discussed topics are examined according to animator Miyazaki's works rather than works seen concrete in the field of architecture. The aim of this work with the examined films is to analyze the representations of Miyazaki's culture in the tidal way he created between his imaginative world and reality, and how these reflects the theme and the spatial situation in the space. Scope of the study includes movies of Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (1984), Castle in the Sky (1986), My Neighbor Totoro (1988), Princess Mononoke (1997), and Spirited Away (2001). These movies are chosen as the sample films since they have a unique narrative language and the most critical perspective seen on the environmental problems. The method that is followed in the formation of the text is the determination of the subject, the source and literature review, examination of image-architecture-culture relation through Hayao Miyazaki films, analyzing the theoretical structure of the subject through films and discussion of the result.

The study consists of two parts that are theoretical patterns and evaluation of these theoretical patterns with examples. In the theoretical section, concepts of culture, image and space are examined, while in the second section these concepts are analyzed through Miyazaki films. Findings related to the space comes to the mental dimension visually with animations will be tried to understand by means of the images. Critical interpretation that is missing today is thought to be found through animations due to the animations are the interpretation of the architecture by the spatial representations. In addition, the animations are not just representational objects; but also they transform spatial fiction both a mental fact with the interplay of real and the fictional space. As a result, animations use architectural elements such as chateaus, castles, temples, baths, urban squares, as an instrument to create the narrative, and bring these spatial elements to the mental dimension by means of images. The misleading architectural environment that is forced to perceive everything through the visuals that are brought closer to the reality affects one’s perception of the space negatively. This study shows that spatial perception can be understood by means of different tools. It is thought that the animations that reach the mental dimension of the space through the visuals through the visuals can be proposed as one of these tools. It is also thought that animations will help change the point of view thanks to the created consciousness with their messages by showing what they might be, even if they do not provide solutions to the problems in the environment of architecture that is meaningless, transfigured and disconnected. As a result, what we have achieved with this work is that we can question in what Miyazaki tried to convey through his films, "what has been lost and what might have been in the past" in architecture.


Keywords: Hayao Miyazaki, representation, image, culture, architectural space