Iyashikei: The genre of catharsis

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Iyashikei is one of the genres which is most unique to anime and manga. Existing for the most part as a sub-genre of the slice-of-life genre, it has few well-known parallels outside of the anime world. Despite being a sub-genre for the most part, iyashikei goes far beyond merely being a smaller category, giving an experience that no other genre is capable of.

Iyashikei means “healing-type” and the genre’s works reflect this meaning. Iyashikei aims to heal the viewer through delivering a sense of relaxation and catharsis. This is accomplished through a tranquil – though not necessarily happy – in-show experience which allows the viewer to calm their mind and relax by focusing more on the emotional experience than on the intellectual. In the West, where the destination is much more heavily favored in fiction, this can lead to a sense of boredom. To the Japanese however, a focus on the journey in fiction is much more common than in the West, so a work in which little happens but what happens is meaningful and cathartic will be much more popular. Continue reading “Iyashikei: The genre of catharsis”

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