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.