Monday, August 18, 2014

One Week Ramblings: The Actual Church of Barakamon

I've been very enthusiastic blogging about Barakamon, one of the best shows this season and definitely the one I would most readily recommend to anyone. One of the reasons why I love this show so much is how it presents Christian values in every episode--it's what I'm blogging about it, after all--which I had thought at first to be incidental rather than intentional, like most cases of Christian values I find in anime. However, these Christian values might not be as incidental as I thought.

While it was probably mentioned before, episode 7 of Barakamon confirms that the show takes place on the Gotou Islands off of Nagasaki. And if you read the Wikipedia entry I just linked to, particularly the Demographics section, you'll find out, as I did, that the people of the islands are descended from a Christian sect that escaped there during the persecution of Christians in the 1600s, and that there are many Catholics and Catholic churches on the islands, making it one of the most notable Christian communities in Japan. This is especially notable given that Japan has a very small Christian population, at supposedly less than 1% of the entire population--in anime, this means that very few anime are actually about Christians and Christian values; as I mentioned before, most cases of Christian values in anime are completely incidental.

Now, I cannot say for sure that the author of Barakamon is intentionally drawing on Christian values, or that the characters living on the island are Christians; nothing directly related to Christianity is shown, outside a picture of a cathedral as one of the tourist spots one of Seishuu's off-island friends wants to visit. Nevertheless, it is very clear that the people of the island live according to Christian values, in their sense of hospitality, grace, and overall friendliness, and knowing the Christian background of the islands, it now makes much more sense that their culture is steeped in those values, regardless of their actual beliefs.

All this is to say that Barakamon is probably the closest thing to an actual Christian anime airing on TV in a long time. Christian anime fans like myself who are long used to having to find redeeming values in a definitively non-Christian field of media should be glad to know that there is at least one major series for which the Christian faith is, if not a core part of the show, at least a significant factor in it. It certainly has given me a new appreciation for what was already one of my favorite shows of the season.


News Briefs:

Lots of anime movies have their Blu-ray and DVD listings solicited.

Two Studio Ghibli favorites are appearing on Blu-ray for the first time: Kiki's Delivery Service and Princess Mononoke. In addition, Hayao Miyazaki's most recent (and probably last) work, The Wind Rises, is now available for pre-order on Blu-ray and DVD.

In addition, Patema Inverted and Welcome to the Space Show are also available for pre-order on Blu-ray and DVD.

1 comment:

  1. Great, going to check out that series, thanks for sharing the info. on the island. I knew there weren't many Christians in Japan but didn't know there was an island with a legacy like that.