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SeventhSense's avatar

Why are Japanese Anime Cartoons depicted as having no Noses or strange Noses?

Asked by SeventhSense (18869points) March 21st, 2009

Do Asian artists have a mental or nasal block? Are these not supposed to be human? And there are a variety from off centered to one nostril to no nostrils. There is even the small triangle hole. Has Michael Jackson influenced the course of Japanese Art?

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14 Answers

MrMontpetit's avatar

I’ve also wondered why the big and colourful hair… also the big and odd-coloured eyes.

A_Beaverhausen's avatar

its art, hard to explain.

TaoSan's avatar

Because Japanese people have “nose phobia” ?

James17555's avatar

Because animes are supposed to focous on the feelings of their characters, so the faces are stripped down to what’s important: The Eyes, Eyebrows and Mouth. This also explains the size of the eyes, and of course the minimalistic view of the nose: Or have you ever seen an angry nose or a happy nostril? :P

But generally there is no real, logical explanation for this: Art is never logical, and a drawing styles evolves over time just like a living being, it grows with its painters, and eventually develops into something like this!

Lupin's avatar

Hey! Watch it! I’ve got a nose!

Harp's avatar

The Japanese (and other Asian cultures) think “western-style” noses are huge and funny looking. If they want to caricaturize the western physiognomy, they exaggerate the nose for comic effect (see here).

So in these little idealized characters, the nose is de-emphasized into oblivion.

SeventhSense's avatar

@Harp
Interesting link. Thanks. It was most informative

marinelife's avatar

They can be drawn faster if they do not have to bother with the nose.~

dynamicduo's avatar

The nose is simply not a major contribute to emotions and expressions, whereas the eyes are. @James17555 has it right.

fundevogel's avatar

@dynamicduo and @James17555

wrinkling the nose or flaring nostrils expresses emotion.

SeventhSense's avatar

@fundevogel
So do you think that they don’t want to express emotion?

dynamicduo's avatar

@fundevogel – but it’s not a major contribution at all. The emotions can be expressed through dialog or other means.

fundevogel's avatar

@SeventhSense I was simply giving examples of the use of the nose in expressing emotion. I think that anime often uses an almost brechtian collection of symbols to represent emotion, but I don’t think it has gone so far down that road as to avoid emotion. The use of symbolic representations of emotion reminds me of theater, particularly Greek or Kabuki theater where masks were used to help exaggerate the features and expressions of the characters for greater recognition.

@dynamicduo Just because there are other ways to communicate what a wrinkled nose or flared nostril say doesn’t mean those actions aren’t significant expressions. I would argue the nose can be a great asset to expression because it so rarely comes into play. It’s use indicates a level or type of emotion not frequently seen. And honestly, discarding an action just because you have another one for that occasion simply limits the spectrum of how you can express emotion and increases the likelihood that the way that emotion is expressed will become formulaic and unengaging.

SeventhSense's avatar

@fundevogel
The use of symbolic representations of emotion reminds me of theater, particularly Greek or Kabuki theater where masks were used
Interesting observation. I think that’s it. It’s a masklike caricature type of expression. And with the kids it’s like an innocence but a frozen innocence. And from my understanding of Japanese culture, there is a distinct type of prolonged childhood whereby adults play cute little games in bars. One theory is that they have a strong and nurturing family life that it is cut too short by societal obligations.
@dynamicduo
Yes but the eyes lack expression too other than doe like innocence, bug eyed surprise or anger. It’s all quite mask like compared to Western comics

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