Understanding anime - visual iconography as a mirror of Japanese culture

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract



Anime is commonly known as a Japanese animation style pervaded with a particular visual language and iconography that is frequently used to convey emotions, thoughts, feelings, moods or needs – in short, subtext. In order to get a full understanding of anime, it is imperative to become familiar with this non-verbal language. This visual language was born from various elements that shaped Japanese culture, as well as etiquette and how one should express one’s emotions or innermost thoughts. We will attempt to understand the cultural aspects behind the emergence of this iconography as well as how the Japanese position themselves when it comes to expression of emotions or feelings, and how these beliefs transfer to the non-verbal language of anime, through the analysis of examples of where this iconography is used. We also aim to explore the meaning behind the most common stylized expressions found in anime characters, analyzing a broad range of examples from anime of different genres and three different decades, exploring the way how they have evolved over the years while to trying to understand why they are still relevant nowadays.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022
EventInk and Motion #1: International Conference on Animation and Comics - Universidade Católica Portuguesa, Porto, Portugal
Duration: 23 Mar 202225 Mar 2022


ConferenceInk and Motion #1: International Conference on Animation and Comics


  • Anime
  • Japan
  • Iconography
  • Animation
  • Manga


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