Author: emilyduncan12

University student studying Bachelor of Communication Media/ Bachelor of Creative Arts (Music). Singer/ guitarist/ songwriter and electronic music producer.

Veganism in Japan – a look through anime

Some Spilt Ink

As a vegan, I am interested in how the movement is progressing throughout not just my own country, but throughout the world. I visited Japan in 2014, and found it incredibly hard, if not impossible to be completely vegan. For the most part it is impossible to know what is in your food, and I found that Japanese people don’t really consider seafood as animal, so we would often order a vegetarian meal and find it laced with fish. However, my lack of Japanese language skills probably didn’t help in solving this issue.

Japan has a history rooted in Buddhism, which highly endorses vegetarianism. In fact, once upon a time, the killing of all animals was illegal in Japan.

There are hardly any studies that suggest the popularity of veganism in Japan. In fact the only one I could locate surveyed only 1,188 people and found that 4.7% of Japanese population are…

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Fumbling through anime, searching for animals

Some Spilt Ink

I have always been interested in representations of the animal within art and the media, and have previously analysed these depictions television shows like The Handmaids Tale (2017) to understand the societal attitudes towards farmed animals (Follow the link here to read). However, I have never seen such random representations of farm animals like the ones in Japanese anime. When I begun this project, I had no idea that I would be adventuring into a realm where intelligent, headless, plucked chickens with an agenda to take over the world, commit mass suicide. But, alas, I’m amongst it, and have stuck with my initial idea and run with it, albeit, quite shocked.

My introductory blog post firstly detailed my own experience with Indonesian and Japanese culture, with specific reference to being a vegan in those countries. I have become aware that I have a privilege that allows me to choose the…

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Representations of the animal in Asian film and television

Some Spilt Ink

I travelled to Indonesia in February of this year, and although I knew that it would be quite easy to find vegan food in a country that has historically lived-off soy products, rice and veggies, I was not prepared for the attitudes towards animals and their welfare.

Living in a small village, I witnessed the raw trading and slaughter of chickens which were pulled out of the make-shift carts by their wings and stuffed into small cages to await family slaughter. In some cases children in the village would play with them for a few days first.


Here in Australia, the process behind the meat we consume is so completely out of view that we forget that the abstracted pink, packaged meat actually was once an animal. In Indo, this reality was so stark and blatant and the villagers were not phased at all. Lame ponies pull carts double their…

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Ultra-violence and techno-masculinity in Akira

Some Spilt Ink

*CONTENT WARNING: discussions about sexual violence*

Hyper-masculinity is tangible and immediately apparent within the first 15 minutes of Akira (1988). A shockingly abrupt sexual assault scene, and the subsequent dismissal of the victim by the male characters around her, deems the woman absent in Akira. We are faced with what Gottesman (2016) calls “techno-masculinity”, whereby the feminine has been replaced by technology and commodification. He comments on how the motorcycles used by male characters are signifiers of their masculinity and strength, reminiscent of the dangerous and out-of control Bōsōzoku biker gangs of the 80’s.


I would argue that the shocking normalisation of rape is a deliberate technique used by the film makers to solidify the audience’s dislike for Tetsuo, who is more interested in asserting his own masculine dominance over other male characters, than helping his girlfriend Kaori after she is attacked. Tetsuo is easily more worried about the…

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Reaction to Gojira (1954)

Some Spilt Ink


I travelled to Japan when I was eighteen, my first ever international experience. My idea of the country was previously based on Americanised war movies and English- dubbed anime that aired on ABC before school. Never before had I experienced a monoculture. Japan was unlike anything I had ever experienced or expected, and ignited my need to know beyond my own context. To my untrained eye, coming from a culture with little attachment to tradition, there seemed to be some sort of modern glitch. There is an undercurrent of techie, youth culture that infiltrates the traditional. The hyper-sexual and overtly modern, sit next to the conservative aspects of Japanese culture. It is not uncommon to see a coloured, automatic vending machine in the middle of a traditional village space. Anime posters next to temples. Kawaii stuffed-toys an acceptable part of adult culture.

As I will explain, much of my understanding of…

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