More questions about Anime and Japanese culture

I have two questions about popular anime cliches and their reference to Japanese culture.

  1. First cliche: A person assumes a victory pose as a giant wave crashes behind him. Sometime the old style “rising sun” is seen in the sky. I have a feeling this is a reference to something well known in Japanese culture, anybody know what?
  2. Second cliche: A person is cheering another person (or themselves) on to victory. they hold two paper fans with the new style “rising sun” printed on them. Same question as above.

I’m not real sure with either, but:

I believe that this is referencing Ukiyoe, since pictures of the sea were one of the big subjects (the other two being mountains and geisha.) But if it’s tying into a particular image, I don’t know it.

The fans are sort of the Japanese equivalent to pom-poms, but with a different–more masculine–history. I would personally guess that it’s just an issue that it’s nice to have something large and bright-colored in your hands when you cheer, and if you were partying in the summer, you were likely to have a small fan with you, so it led handily to the desire for something pom-pom-like.

The rising sun is probably just a remnant of (probaby) Meiji-era nationalist styling.

The fan thing is like pom-poms in American culture - something people use for cheerleading.

I’m pretty sure the wave thing is not a particular reference to anything - just for cheesy dramatic effect (like in The Little Mermaid when the wave crashes behind her right in time with the last note of her song “Part of Your World”).

One more question to hitchhike on the OP:

Why does anime frequently feature characters with closed eyes for the duration of a dialogue?

My original thought was to save costs on animation, but I’m seeing in even in modern mostly-CGI anime as well.

As a sidenote – because this doesn’t answer any of the questions posed here but does provide lots of information about Japanese culture and anime – this list from is a great resource.

ETA: This list is useful, too.

I’m not sure what examples you’re thinking of, but it’s not uncommon for closed eyes to be a part of the character design (See Brock (Pokemon), Koizumi (Haruhi) and at times Naruto (mostly early on)). It could also be the expression chosen for the scene. It usually signifies either a happy demeanor, or cluelessness.

I was actually referring to my two favorite at the moment, Ghost in the Shell SAC and Cowboy BeBop. Usually supporting characters, and often enough to cause distraction. Entire expositions with closed eyes. Not just to signify happiness or cluelessness (I’ve seen that too), but (like I said) expositions, dialogue and the like.

I though that it was a Japanese culture thing, but I’ve watched my fair share of live action Japanese film and have never seen anything like it except in anime.

I was also thinking that it was a cost cutting measure so they don’t have to animate anything but the character’s lips; however I’ve seen this in well-produced anime as well (Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, etc).

So, not to express “earnestness” during an speech, either? I have seen it used often to that effect (sometimes with hand placed upon heart).

The “standing on the rocks as ocean waves crash around you” pose gets used a lot in samurai movies as well. It’s not so much a victory pose as one of resolve and determination (i.e it always comes before the climactic conflict, rather than after). If I had to pull something out of my ass I’d say it relates to Shinto and ritually purifying yourself through isolation and exposure to the elements.