Your Name

The movie Your Name features a body-swapping fantasy of the two Japanese adolescents, Taki and Mitsuha. Taki is from a highly developed city, Tokyo, and Mitsuha is from a traditional household in Itomori. Tired of her life centered around family tradition, Mitsuha wishes to be a “handsome Tokyo guy” which turns into a reality. The film then illustrates daily routines of Taki and Mitsuha as they switch with each other randomly.¬† I find the themes of division and violation to be interesting in this film.

Taki and Mitsuha’s body-swap starts with Yotsuha’s “Breakfast! Hurry up!” with her door slam. Similar scenes with doors between people occur several times throughout the movie, including the one between Taki and Mitsuha when they intersect one another at the subway station. Their home–Tokyo and Itomori–and the landscapes depicted in the film are also very contrasting. Itomori is a serene place with beautiful nature and religion whereas Tokyo is a crowded place with tall buildings and busy individuals. It feels as if they are living in two separate worlds and the concept of intersecting times therefore seems more natural.

The division in gender roles is also evident throughout the film. Tokyo is obviously a more developed place compared to Itomori, and Taki seems to be representing the “typical male character” symbolizing¬† progress. On the other hand, Mitsuha looks up to the city life and appears to be more submissive and traditional.

Stereotypical gender roles remain even after their body swap. For instance, guys are expected to be tough and sporty while girls are expected to be chatty and artsy.¬†However, the movie doesn’t end here but involves violation of such norms.

 

Taki as Mitsuha is kicking the desk and expressing anger toward her classmate.

‘Mitsuha’ is good at playing basketball.

Mitsuha as Taki knows how to sew and appear “feminine” to his coworker.

‘Taki’ loves going to the cafe and taking photos of desserts.

 

All of these switched gender roles are initially considered unusual by their friends, but they eventually become more popular with their reversed qualities. Through this, the author challenges traditional gender norms in the Japanese society and tells the audience that it is okay to deviate from them. I also see Taki’s attempt to transcend his time zone to meet Mitsuha as a form of violation to something that “shouldn’t” or “can’t” happen. His continuous attempt to connect with Mitsuha pays off in the end, and the gaps created by different forms of division finally narrow down.

3 thoughts on “Your Name

  1. I like your analysis about their “stereotypical gender roles”. Instead of thinking these are “gender differences”, I regard these as “gender complementation”. Taki and Mitsuha became more popular after their gender reversal, because they got the advantages they lacked but the opposite side possess. Taki was shy and didn’t stand out in front of Ms. Okudera. But the Taki when Mitsuha was in his body was outgoing, warm, caring. He forwardly helped Okudera and sew her dress. Similarly, the Mitsuha when Taki was in her body was braver, more outgoing, less feminine but also more special.

    However, while they becoming more popular for others, they were violating the social norms for gender as well. Mitsuha cares about her hair and her behaviours in front of other people. She thinks girls should not be that rude like Taki and should take care of their appearance. So they listed a “CANNOT DO” list for each other. Those scenes are interesting.

  2. Krystal,

    This is a very strong analysis. I am curious about the four images that you highlighted above–how do each of the behaviors highlighted reveal social expectations of men/women? And are there ways that the male/female characters find the switch liberating/creating new opportunities for them to express themselves?

    Thanks,
    Amanda

    • Hello Amanda! Thank you for your feedback.
      In the first scene where the focus is on Mitsuha’s legs, she kicks the desk and reacts aggressively to her classmates’ comments about her dad. Looking at her friend’s surprised face and opened mouth, we can assume that it’s not something she typically does. When Taki is Mitsuha, he (she) expresses anger more freely. We can draw from this scene that girls are usually more reserved and calm while guys are expected to be more bold.
      In the second scene when Mitsuha is playing basketball, she blocks out the guy who was trying to take the ball away from her and scores successfully. Then we see a bunch of shocked faces looking at her, which all of them are guys.They react as if a girl is not supposed to play basketball so well. Here we see another male/female stereotype: guys are good at playing sports, and girls not so much.
      The third scene shows Taki’s “feminine” quality, an adjective directly used by his crush who was impressed at his sewing skill. Girls are usually expected to be more artsy and meticulous while guys are portrayed as being more indifferent and careless. His crush really likes Mitsuha being Taki because he acts more feminine and this becomes his strength rather than weakness.
      The last scene shows Taki taking pictures of desserts and being delighted to be at the cafe. His friends are more blunt about the situation but Taki shows excitement with his curved eyes and blush on his face. Such expressions add to his obsession about taking photos and portray feminine behavior defined by the society.
      Mitsuha gets to express herself most freely when she gets to hang out with Taki’s crush. She uses her “feminine” qualities to appeal herself and makes progress in their relationship.
      Taki also liberates Mitsuha’s traditionally feminine qualities by expressing himself openly in front of others. When Mitsuha’s classmates talk behind her, he stands up for it and fights for it unlike how Mitsuha ignores it and avoids it in the beginning of the film.
      By violating these norms and being each other, they learn to grow and appreciate the “opposite” qualities they each possess.

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