Re-evaluating my understanding of Ghost in a Shell


I feel my account of Ghost in a Shell requires further analysis. I want to further explore a few elements that invoked strong responses from me within my previous post. Firstly Ghost in a Shell requires previous knowledge, it has assumed knowledge. This is a trait of Japanese culture, Japanese culture is known as a high context culture thus they communicate primary through nonverbal cues. This is through the belief that everyone has a shared understanding. With this now in my mind I recall the characters often communicating through nonverbal communication, cues which may have added to my confusion due to my lack of contextual background.

The nudity within Ghost in a Shell was confronting, especially since Japanese culture has strong censorship within the media; nevertheless, Motoko Kusanagi consistently had her nipples on display. Though I could not grasp why we never saw a naked male character. Japanese culture does not condone the male organ, their adult toy industry for instant will not allow penis shaped objects to be sold. To counteract this all penis shaped objects have a face on the end. Even though the culture has strong censorship it seems clear the female body is more acceptable than males. Though why isn’t the nudity censored as it would be generally in a Japanese film? This perhaps could be due to the anime being a computer generated image or perhaps it is widely accepted because the character is a cyborg and not footage of an actual human, thus this leads into my second question, was Motoko really a human?

My basic belief is that due to being self-aware Motoko could be considered human. Japanese culture embraces artificial intelligence as demonstrated within this film. Christopher Mims (2010) notes that Japanese culture is accepting of robots as equals and believe that they inherit a soul, this is stemmed from Animism that is a component of  their religion Shinto. Thus they see robots as aiding everyday life, this is clear in Ghost of a Shell as they are aiding in peace keeping. This also provides context to why the main character is conflicted with grasping her existence, the film is promoting the audience to question their beliefs. Thus stimulating audience participation within the film.

Perhaps if I was to re-watch the film knowing the belief that robots are equals with souls in Japanese culture I would perhaps greater understand the importance and melancholy feeling and be able to engaged within the films attempt to make me question her existence.


Mims, C 2010, “Why Japanese Love Robots (And Americans Fear Them)”, MIT Technology Review, 12th October, viewed on 25th August 2015, url < >


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