July’s theme for OWLS is Technology and it was requested by one of our fellow bloggers, MagicConan14.
Here’s the prompt:
For this month’s topic, we will be discussing how technology impacts our relationships with others and how it improves our lives (such as in communication, education, and etc.) by exploring the technology used in various anime and pop culture worlds.
Your Name (2016)
Directed & Written By Makoto Shinkai
When we think about technology, we usually focus on the high-tech stuff that impacted the way we live and what we value. However, I am going to take a step back to admire one of the oldest pieces of technology we have and without it, the other things we enjoy like the Internet, computers, and smartphones wouldn’t have been invented.
Writing is a Technology.
The piece of technology I am talking about is writing. Writing is a technology. Before written language was invented, we would communicate through speech. Oral communication was the way people would tell stories and gather information. What was said orally was repeated over and over so that listeners can retain that information in memory. Then we invented the alphabet. Each language has its own alphabet and with those alphabetic letters, we formed words that have meaning. Those words were then put into sentences that followed a structure and order, which then provided us with a meaningful message. By being able to write out what we want to say, information was easy to send to others through letters and we were able to store information in writing as opposed to having to memorize everything. Yet sadly, our ability to retain information in our brains paid the price as our short-term memory strengthen and our long-term memory weakened.
Even so, writing is still one of the most valuable forms of technology we have. Without it, I wouldn’t even be able to write this post. In fact, I probably wouldn’t be able to send this post to you, readers, without the access of the Internet which allows us to send messages to people around the world in just a few seconds.
Your Name: Tradition vs. Modern
For this post, though, I will be discussing how writing is used as technology in Your Name by showcasing how Mitsuha Miyamizu and Taki Tachibana communicate with one another as they are switching bodies.
Before they started switching bodies, we were able to develop a sense of character among the main protagonists by observing their daily lives as teenagers. Mitsuha Miyamizu lives in a rural town and her family is a keeper of a shrine. She represents tradition and local customs as her family is rooted in traditional values. As for Taki Tachibana, he acts like a modern-day city boy: he’s living the Tokyo lifestyle, attending a fancy school and has a part-time job as a server at a high-end restaurant. He’s the example of a guy living in the modern day world. When they start switching bodies, they begin to learn about life outside of their own environment. Taki attains a spiritual awakening towards Japanese religion and culture, and Mitsuha finds liberation away from traditional customs and constricted social norms. By knowing their character backgrounds, we are able to see the binary opposition of certain aspects such as modernism vs. tradition as well as high technology vs old technology. In the next section, we will see how writing became a reliant piece of communicative technology for the two.
Writing to Communicate in Your Name
When they switched bodies, the two were unable to call one another due to living in two different timelines. And so, they communicated with one another by writing messages. They switch to a more traditional approach of communication, writing, as opposed to a modern form of communication like a phone call or email. They would write in notebooks and on their bodies to talk to one another. They used writing as a form of interrogation, asking one another who they are. They used writing as a way to create order and rules; in which they created an agreement of what they can and cannot do when they switch bodies. They use writing as a way to report. Mitsuha would keep a record of what she did as Taki in his daily journal log on his phone. Lastly, writing was a way for them to express how they truly feel towards one another. At the end of the movie, Taki wrote that he loves Mitsua by writing 「好き」(like) on Mitsuha’s hand as opposed to saying it out loud.
In these situations, writing became the primary source of communication between Mitsuha and Taki, transcending time and space. Writing is a technology. Writing is a way for us to organize our thoughts into words. Writing is a way for us to communicate without time and location as an issue. We can send our writing to people who live overseas and our words can be recorded for others to read no matter what time period. Writing not only allows us to record our ideas and thoughts, but we can use it to express our feelings and emotions to someone. Writing is a powerful tool that should be highly valued but it is constantly overlooked. Without writing, we wouldn’t be able to do the things we are able to do today, and so writing is a technology that should be appreciated.