By Karen Mae de Vera
Ang nakakabilib talaga sa anime is how deeply embedded the Japanese culture is into these fictional universes and you can clearly identify these traditions even if you’re watching a show about aliens and robots. ’Yung tipong ang pinakamalakas na fighter sa mundo, makikita mong naka-chopsticks habang humihingi ng extra rice. #KaninIsLife
Na-curious ka ba kung ano pa ang mga IRL references to Japanese culture in anime? Read on to find out!
If the character comes from a traditional family, expect old-school Japanese architecture like sliding doors or fusuma and moveable screens or shoji. The usual hapagkainan setup for this kind of place consists of a tatami mat, a low-rise table, and a type of chair that’s ideal for sitting upright while kneeling or the seiza style. Pang formal dining etiquette talaga ang seiza and medyo nakakangawit kapag ’di ka sanay, pero keri lang rin ang cross-legged position or sitting with both knees to the side sa mga baguhan.
© 2022 Shou Harasuno/KADOKAWA/ Sasaki and Miyano Partners
PARA LANG PO SA TABI
Hatid-sundo ba kamo? In Japan, most students go to school on their own either on foot or by traveling the interconnected railways. As in pati mga batang estudyante, makikita mo passing through the neighborhood as a group. So if you’re watching a school-themed anime, expect a lot of scenes where classmates are having convos while riding the train or the show’s love team are walking home together. Tapos diba may meme pa kung saan ang bida ay tumatakbo papuntang school habang may bread sa bibig kasi late na siya? (Kung sa Pinas ’yan, magiging pandesal ’yon. LOL!)
© CLAMP, ST/KODANSHA, NEP, NHK - LICENSED BY MEDIALINK
SOBRANG BENTO NITO!
Ah yes, the go-to baon in every anime! The bento is a carefully portioned and packed meal with a price point that ranges from single-container convenience store finds to the bongga multi-tiered lacquered boxes in fancy restaurants and luxury bullet trains. What sets it apart from the usual lunch box meal is the artistry involved in the presentation. Home-cooked bento, especially for kids, even has edible cut-out shapes or characters. If you’re scrolling through social media, maraming mga aesthetic foodie posts where people practice the art of bento-making. (’Yung sinabi ng magulang mo na “don’t play with your food” but you’re just making im-bento.)
DASAL AND INCENSE LANG ANG KAILANGAN
If the character lost a loved one, for sure may sementeryo scene kung saan kinakausap niya ’yung grave either to make kwento or ask for advice before something major happens. Baka napansin mo rin that the character is burning incense sticks. The smoke represents the physical manifestation of someone’s wishes and prayers. When visiting a Japanese cemetery, it is customary to burn incense sticks, present offerings, and clean the tombstone in order to pay your respects to the deceased. Kapag ito ang nakita mo sa anime, for sure maiiyak ka na so don’t forget to grab some tissues. (All the feels!)
© Koyoharu Gotoge/Shueisha, Aniplex, ufotable
MAY GINAGAWA KA BA? WALEY, NAKA-TENGU LANG!
Kung may historical vibes ang pinapanood mong anime, baka may makita kang mga masks in the shape of yokai or supernatural creatures found in Japanese folklore. These masks are often found in shrine festivals and Noh stage plays and usually come in the form of the Oni (demon), Kitsune (fox spirit), and Tengu (bird-like protector of the mountains). The mask shown above is a Tengu in human form where the beak is replaced with a long and pronounced nose.
TARA, LET’S TEMPLE RUN
There are Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines everywhere in the anime world. If it’s a slice-of-life show or historical story, they will be familiar sights in the background. People visit these sacred structures to not just admire the architecture but also pray to the gods or kami.
© Gege Akutami/Shueisha, Jujutsu Kaisen Project - Licensed by Medialink
UNIFORM? MORE LIKE, UNI-PORMA
You can’t have a show about teens without the iconic Japanese high school uniform! The common styles seen in anime are the gakuran (a button-up top with a stiff collar paired with pressed pants) and the sailor fuku or seifuku (a sailor blouse accessorized with a tie or ribbon and paired with a skirt). Other shows have also featured students wearing the more Westernized blazer uniform. And of course, one of the most famous anime uniforms is from Sailor Moon and even becomes part of the battle outfit. Kung pwede lang mag instant transformation para nakabihis agad sa umaga.
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