Japanese religion, mythology, and the supernatural in Anime and Manga

Amy Plumb*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The world of anime and manga, Japanese animation and comics respectively, has developed into a pop-culture phenomenon with a rising popularity worldwide, triggering a shift from a niche market into the mainstream. Anime and manga are strongly hybrid texts which incorporate diverse pretexts, thus, this paper will focus on the pretexts of Japanese religion, mythology, and the supernatural in anime and manga, and an analysis of how these pretexts have constructed this mediums pictorial representation of such ideas. This paper will also examine how artists intertextualise recognised images as a form of symbolic shorthand to create new narratives via the retelling (or re-envisioning) of a vast accumulation of well-known stories, characters and settings for modern audiences. This paper draws heavily on the works of Miyazaki Hayao, who is greatly influenced by Shintō notions of purification and pollution. Other notable anime and manga included are: Watase Yuu's Ayashi no Ceres and Kishimoto Masashi's Naruto, both of which use Japan's rich mythological database within their works as central components for their series; and the horror filled Hundred Stories which intertextualises traditional folktales and superstition, based in already recognised images and meanings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)237-246
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of the Humanities
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • Anime
  • Japanese mythology
  • Japanese religion
  • Kishimoto masashi's naruto
  • Manga
  • Miyazaki hayao
  • Watase Yū's ayashi no ceres


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