The “animalized humans” – the reformulated body

A study on the phenomenon of Japanese Catgirls in Danish school curriculum

Research output: Contribution to conference without publisher/journalConference abstract for conferenceResearchpeer-review

Abstract

This contribution will discuss the phenomenon of the so-called Japanese Cat Girls who practice the behavior of cats as a contradiction to Disney's cartoon where animals have a human character.
From Disney cartoons we experience how animals are being humanized and are representing human character to a degree where it becomes difficult to see them as animals. This is just one example of how animals are attributed with a human character. A trend among keepers of humanizing their pets has emerged, which sometimes goes beyond the interests of the animals’ welfare – as animals. The pets are equipped with props that appear to satisfy the owner's need instead of the needs of animal itself and make the animal look like a cartoon character. Pictures of animals represent a large variation of representation forms and genres where Disney represents an example of a cartoon culture of humanized animals.
The outset for this contribution is a discussion of another cartoon culture of depicting animals: the Japanese Manga culture. Here the animals are not only represented in a humanized way. The Manga culture goes one step further and engages with a remediation of the cartoon animal to people. Female Japanese dress like cats and act like cats. They are named Catgirls. What may look like a costume for a particular carnival at first sight is a particular culture of engaging with the cat by taking on catlike behaviors and exhibiting traits such as playfulness, mischievousness and deviousness. The Catgirls even take the sound of the cat’s meow into their language and end their lines of speech by that. The animal behavior becomes a human gesture. The phenomenon of transforming into a cat by taking on and playing its attributes in urban space is the background for the examination of the cat in this contribution.
Thus, this contribution does not discuss how cartoons humanize animals rather the other way around: how humans take on attributes and behaviors of animals in the forms of mediated cartoon cats. The discussion is motivated by a Danish project about literary experience among 6-9 graders in Danish schools. The schools were involved in the process of developing a graphic novel to an interactive book
The discussion’s theoretical approaches draw on performativity (Wulf), visual culture (Rogoff) and suggests a a perspective related to symmetrical anthropology (Latour), brought about by the contradictory position between the humanized animal character and the non-humanized social practice where humans attributes themselves with animal behaviors.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date7 Oct 2014
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 7 Oct 2014
EventJahrestagung 2014 der Kommission Pädagogische Anthropologie : Tiere - Universität Koblenz-Landau, Koblenz, Germany
Duration: 6 Oct 20148 Oct 2014

Conference

ConferenceJahrestagung 2014 der Kommission Pädagogische Anthropologie
LocationUniversität Koblenz-Landau
CountryGermany
CityKoblenz
Period06/10/201408/10/2014

Cite this

Buhl, M. (2014). The “animalized humans” – the reformulated body: A study on the phenomenon of Japanese Catgirls in Danish school curriculum . Abstract from Jahrestagung 2014 der Kommission Pädagogische Anthropologie , Koblenz, Germany.
Buhl, Mie. / The “animalized humans” – the reformulated body : A study on the phenomenon of Japanese Catgirls in Danish school curriculum . Abstract from Jahrestagung 2014 der Kommission Pädagogische Anthropologie , Koblenz, Germany.1 p.
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The “animalized humans” – the reformulated body : A study on the phenomenon of Japanese Catgirls in Danish school curriculum . / Buhl, Mie.

2014. Abstract from Jahrestagung 2014 der Kommission Pädagogische Anthropologie , Koblenz, Germany.

Research output: Contribution to conference without publisher/journalConference abstract for conferenceResearchpeer-review

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AB - This contribution will discuss the phenomenon of the so-called Japanese Cat Girls who practice the behavior of cats as a contradiction to Disney's cartoon where animals have a human character.From Disney cartoons we experience how animals are being humanized and are representing human character to a degree where it becomes difficult to see them as animals. This is just one example of how animals are attributed with a human character. A trend among keepers of humanizing their pets has emerged, which sometimes goes beyond the interests of the animals’ welfare – as animals. The pets are equipped with props that appear to satisfy the owner's need instead of the needs of animal itself and make the animal look like a cartoon character. Pictures of animals represent a large variation of representation forms and genres where Disney represents an example of a cartoon culture of humanized animals. The outset for this contribution is a discussion of another cartoon culture of depicting animals: the Japanese Manga culture. Here the animals are not only represented in a humanized way. The Manga culture goes one step further and engages with a remediation of the cartoon animal to people. Female Japanese dress like cats and act like cats. They are named Catgirls. What may look like a costume for a particular carnival at first sight is a particular culture of engaging with the cat by taking on catlike behaviors and exhibiting traits such as playfulness, mischievousness and deviousness. The Catgirls even take the sound of the cat’s meow into their language and end their lines of speech by that. The animal behavior becomes a human gesture. The phenomenon of transforming into a cat by taking on and playing its attributes in urban space is the background for the examination of the cat in this contribution. Thus, this contribution does not discuss how cartoons humanize animals rather the other way around: how humans take on attributes and behaviors of animals in the forms of mediated cartoon cats. The discussion is motivated by a Danish project about literary experience among 6-9 graders in Danish schools. The schools were involved in the process of developing a graphic novel to an interactive book The discussion’s theoretical approaches draw on performativity (Wulf), visual culture (Rogoff) and suggests a a perspective related to symmetrical anthropology (Latour), brought about by the contradictory position between the humanized animal character and the non-humanized social practice where humans attributes themselves with animal behaviors.

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Buhl M. The “animalized humans” – the reformulated body: A study on the phenomenon of Japanese Catgirls in Danish school curriculum . 2014. Abstract from Jahrestagung 2014 der Kommission Pädagogische Anthropologie , Koblenz, Germany.