Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Why Does Japan Love Disney So Much?

Matsuya Ginza department store is holding yet another Disney event on it's exhibition floor in Tokyo's Ginza district.   Disney's 90 Years of Dreams and Enchantment.  Definitely worth taking a look. 

There is a story about Walt Disney who sat through a storyboard pitch for a cartoon involving Mickey, Donald and Goofy by one of his directors.  The director decided to take a different turn in the characteristic approach of what Disney's headline trio were known for.  I'm certain as in many cases the director was nervous about approval from Walt.  However during the pitch, Walt apparently couldn't restrain himself from laughing at the gags proposed in the cartoon.  Even to the point where Walt was in tears from the laughter.   Surely the director had a "hit" on his hands. 

The director closed his pitch and likely waited for Walt to catch his breath and wipe the tears from his face before asking, "So you like it right?!"  

"NO", Walt responded.  "You killed my characters!"  

Despite the fact the fact it was funny it was a string of "gags" that likely could have been done with any character and it out of the context of the individual characteristics Mickey, Donald and Goofy were known and appreciated for.    

The anecdote is because (and this is not a criticism) but you couldn't stand anywhere in the exhibition without hearing   Kawaiiiiiiiiiiii!  (Or, Cuuuuuuuute! In English) squealed  every 30 seconds by not just Japanese schoolgirls but greatly housewives and OL's (Office Lady).    Again it's no criticism because Disney characters ARE cute and appealing, but there was no further elaboration about what exactly is "cute" about them outside of how they are rendered.    I hope the greater appeal is in what they DO not just how they look.   

(The Walt Disney anecdote above can be found in the volumes of Didier Ghez's, "Walt's People".)

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