10 ways the series pays homage to Japanese culture
Now entering the second half of his race, Jujutsu kaisen is still extremely popular. The show remains both dark and fun, and masterfully mixes classic shonen tropes with horror motifs to create a truly mesmerizing world. The main characters are charming, the supporting characters are eccentric and there is no shortage of excellent action sets that make MAPPA proud.
Beyond that, Jujutsu kaisen is really a show that could only be Japanese. Many aspects that give the series its identity pay homage to life and traditions in Japan, and it’s impossible to imagine this series taking place anywhere else. By combining elements of both old and new Japanese culture, Jujutsu kaisen looks like an offbeat tribute to the beloved archipelago.
ten The “Welcome to Tokyo!” The footage shows how important the region is
The fascination for Tokyo is as much regional as it is international. Japan is not the largest country, but many country citizens and especially those who live in Hokkaido or Kyushu live hours from the world’s most densely populated city. Even by high-speed train, getting to Tokyo is no easy task.
Yuki and Nobara’s excitement is to be expected, especially when it comes to visiting Harajuku, Tokyo Tower, and other landmarks. Like New York for many Americans, Tokyo is for many Japanese: a city that is also a symbol of national identity.
9 The use of temples as schools is historically accurate in Japan
Tokyo Prefecture High School Jujutsu bills itself as a Buddhist temple, and it is far from the first temple to house students. Centuries ago in the Edo period, commoners sometimes received private lessons from terakoya, or temple schools.
These schools, often run by Buddhist priests and even samurai, were popular before public school became the most common way to educate the masses. There is an important precedent which designates temples as places of learning.
8 The show explores the Kyoto vs. Tokyo feud with its students
The classic rivalry between the Kansai and Kanto regions of Japan is infamous. Kansai is home to Osaka, where people would be friendlier and the food would be tastier, but Kanto would be home to Tokyo, where people would be more reserved and professional.
Jujutsu kaisen very deliberately pits students from these two regions in the tournament between Tokyo Tech and Kyoto Tech. Japanese viewers are well aware that there is weight behind this feud, and it adds a bit more spice to the action.
7 The show accurately depicts the Shinto funeral
Some fans claim Jujutsu kaisen is one of those rare gems: an anime that improves upon its source material. An example of this is manifested in MAPPA’s delicate nods to the Shinto tradition. After his grandfather dies, audiences watch Yuji use chopsticks to scoop up the bones from the cremated ashes.
In a series full of monsters and unreal fight scenes, quiet moments like this anchor audiences in a reality all too familiar to families who have witnessed such ceremonies before. Death is universal and far too real.
6 The scenes depicting spiritual possession respect the eastern vision of the afterlife
Possessions are a common theme in the anime, spotted in everything from Naruto To Parasyte. But while Western and Judeo-Christian cultures are often obsessed with the idea of chasing spirits once they have taken root, in most Japanese folk vessels often attempt to survive with their guests rather than giving them the boot. Naruto must learn to live with Kurama in him, and Kyo from Basket of fruits has to deal with the inconvenience of hosting a cat daemon.
Basically, Japanese traditions are more focused on prevention and purification. Wearing amulets for protection or for success in life, washing hands before entering a temple, sealing containers to prevent curses from escaping: these practices are not uncommon even today. So, in a sense, Gojo’s approach to tackling Yuji’s “possession” fits this bill. Rather than shooting the monster, Yuji must learn how to deal with Sukuna.
5 The show explores the idea of the employee; A typically Japanese role in society
Nanami is among the best characters in Jujutsu Kaisen, largely because he is a subversion of a familiar role in Japanese society. Employees are a quintessentially Japanese phenomenon in the business world, described as city dwellers doing the same white-collar jobs for decades, giving every ounce of themselves to their businesses.
Sometimes this loyalty is unhealthy, and employees are also known to gather in izakayas and karaoke lounges to drink their woes. Nanami instead chooses to abandon her business to return to her exorcist roots, but her brutal professionalism remains a defining character trait.
4 The show places a realistic level of importance on after-school clubs
High school is not compulsory in Japan, but for students who enroll, it is usually compulsory to participate in daily after-school clubs. These clubs are intended to help students build character and learn social etiquette. In Jujutsu Kaisen, like in countless other anime, Yuji and his classmates participate in an occult club.
It is difficult to determine exactly how common such clubs are in reality, but since students can form their own clubs with enough members and staff approval, there is bound to be. In fact, this could be the kind of club that the anime has made possible over the years. Life imitates art.
3 The show is faithful in its exploration of Yokai and Sukuna mythology
Jujutsu kaisen borrows heavily from yokai folklore, demonstrated by the various depictions of monsters and spirits the show has thrown at us so far. But Sukuna’s origins are not necessarily linked. According to some sources, it is a creature of legend, a demon with two faces and four arms. In others, he was a true hero and leader of the Hida region. It may have been both or neither.
The stories have generally presented Sukuna as literally or metaphorically two-sided. Duality is a huge theme in the anime and one that looks likely to continue. After all, people wear different faces for different occasions.
2 The show explores the fields and Buddhism
In Jujutsu kaisen, powerful characters create “domains” which are essentially small worlds contained within themselves. These areas can be expanded to accommodate others, and many of the most creative and violent fight scenes in the series take place within these boundaries.
The idea that each person contains an inner world that they have the power to control is common in Buddhism. Mindfulness in meditation requires knowing yourself. Most people recognize the proverbs that describe the body as a temple. In Jujutsu kaisen, this is sometimes taken extremely literally, and “manifesting” has a whole new meaning.
1 The show places importance on shared meals and socializing
While it is true that most cultures recognize the importance of sharing meals with others, in Japan this practice is especially vital. Nomikai refers to the social aspect of sharing meals or drinks with peers after work, and is considered a social requirement. For students, these gatherings are rowdy events known as konpa. For younger people, like characters like Yuji and Junpei, this type of bond is always deeply valued.
Inviting someone to share a meal is often an offer of friendship, and inviting someone to eat at your place is a sign of trust. Because much of Japanese society operates by unspoken social rules, it’s likely that Yuji eating at Junpei’s really meant something to both characters.
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