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Brown School

En o musubi: Eternal Ties and Missed Connections in the Animation of Makoto Shinkai

Friday, November 19, 2021 | 1:00 PM

Busch Hall, 202
Brookings Hall, St. Louis, MO 63105, USA

The third-highest grossing animated film of all time, "Your Name" (Kimi no na wa, 2017), is a powerful romance that depicts young Japanese people in extraordinary circumstances as they navigate space and time to forestall a mysterious cataclysm. Frustrated with her life, a teenaged shrine maiden wishes she could be reborn as a boy in Tokyo. Her wish being granted, she awakens in Tokyo, and finds herself inhabiting the body of a teenage boy. Likewise, the boy awakens at a remote shrine, stunned to be in female form. Over time, the two switch in and out of each other’s bodies. As they learn about each other’s life and coach each other through notes left on smart phones, they recognize that they are tied together in cosmic ways that neither had imagined. Punctuated with the rhythms of rail-transit and electronic communication, coupled with rich Shinto and Buddhist ideas of fate and community and the difficulty of locating the self within them, Your Name deftly bridges the fantastic, the mundane, the sublime. Considering the development of his oeuvre from 2002-2019, this presentation examines how the films of director Makoto Shinkai (b. 1973) weave together visual narratives that express regret for missed connections, longing for enduring ties and the agency to create them.

Please note that for all in-person events, attendees must adhere to Washington University’s public health requirements, including the latest events and meetings protocol. Guests will be required to show a successful self-screening result and wear a mask at all times.

Sponsored by East Asian Languages and Cultures

Event Type

Lectures & Presentations


Arts & Sciences


Humanities & Society



East Asian Language and Cultures
Event Contact


Speaker Information
Christopher A. Born, assistant professor, Japanese & Asian Studies, Belmont University
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