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Breasts and the West: Breast Size, Bad Girls, and the Japanese Ideal

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Title: Breasts and the West: Breast Size, Bad Girls, and the Japanese Ideal
Author: Thieschafer, Jacinta
Description: My project is about the role of breasts in anime. Although the popular belief is that anime depicts a cultural obsession with large breasts, after watching years of anime, I noticed that there was a trope: only the bad girls have large breasts. In Japan, where women typically have smaller breasts than in the west, there wasn’t interest in breasts until the Japanese began to have contact with the West, post WWII. As I began to research the topic, I learned that heroines (good girls) in comics are a portrayal of the ideal. Therefore, I argue that small breasts are associated with the ideal, traditional Japanese woman. This leads me to suggest that perhaps large breasts in anime are a signifier of something that is not traditionally Japanese. When this significance is attached to a villain, westernization is seen as a threat to the traditional way of life. Therefore it is up to the small-breasted heroine, representing the values of traditional culture, to defeat this villain, who represents the dangers of westernization, and win the hero for the sake of maintaining traditional Japanese values.
Date: 2012-12-06
Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/10365/22390

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