Japanese food, language make people curious
Entertainment stores have been witnessing increased footfalls with the rising popularity of ‘anime culture’. Japanese restaurants and language institutes have joined the race.
Vani Kartik, owner of the Entertainment Store, informed The Observer: “The number of people coming to our store for anime merchandise has increased…. About 70 percent of these people are college students. For the past one and a half years, more and more people are buying anime merchandise. These products and customized merchandise bring back their old memories.”
Japanese restaurants have also seen an increase in footfalls. Pradeep Bhora, manager of Harima, a Japanese restaurant, said: “After Covid, we are getting a lot of Indian guests, especially on weekends. Many times people don’t even know how to eat a dish but they still order and ask me how to eat it. A lot of Japanese cultural events have been organized in our restaurant.”
Jackson Jose, co-founder of Artmonk Film Production House, said: “Animation is completely technology-based, and this is an advantage as there is a certain level of difficulty in shooting live-action films. A lot of stories can be conveyed through the use of animations and it uses a tremendous amount of imagination as well.” The anime industry will grow further in terms of viewership.
Many have started learning Japanese after watching anime shows.
Pallavi Goshal, founder of Nili Japenese, a language institute in Bengaluru, shared: “Many students are coming to learn Japanese because of anime. If there are 16 students in a class, half of them are the ones who came here after watching anime. For the past two to three years the viewership is increasing. We have started three or four kids’ batches this year. We have been seeing a lot of young people as well.”
The Observer spoke with several anime fans.
Snigdha V, a student, said: “My sister is a huge fan of animes. She even started eating ramen after watching these shows. I remember she once told me that she wants to eat the ramen that Naruto eats.”
Some feel that anime products make them come closer to their childhood. Madhur Bharadwaj, a 20-year-old student, said: “I watch anime because of the plot and story. It gives a sensation that no real-life movie or series can give. Anime culture has affected us deeply.” He has even purchased merchandise of his favorite anime character. “These customized products make us go down the memory lane and (we) relive our childhood…” he added.
Another youngster, Sreya V, believes most animes have a storyline that is different than most real-life shows, movies. “They are far more interesting to watch.”
Many watch anime because of their short duration. “ One of the major reasons why I watch anime is that the duration of an anime is 20 to 25 minutes per episode. Violence, murders and gory scenes are not as disturbing as in real-life shows. We can even see that when a real-life character defies science, it looks cringy; but in an anime, the scene will look badass.”
Khushboo Bakshi, a clinical psychologist, said: “There is a correlation of emotions between the person watching the show and the characters involved. People tend to associate themselves and their emotions with these characters. These shows have a close association with their childhood, and this enhances the impact of these shows on their minds.”
Roaf Mir, a professor of cultural studies at Jain University, said: “Indians have willingly accepted and adapted to these new cultures. Anime culture is about technology and it is creating a huge impact on people. There are fictionalized characters in these series but people do develop a parasocial relation with these characters.”
According to a recent study by Epic Dope, an international online community, India is the second largest consumer of animes in the world after China. It also says 73 percent of Indians watched animes in 2020.