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Nello and Patrasche, western samurais?: Japanese imagination of “A dog of Flanders”

Output: Contribution to conferencePaper

A 19th century British novelist wrote A Dog of Flanders about a poor boy Nello and his dog Patrasche. They die in each other’s arms in front of a Rubens’ painting in the Antwerp cathedral. This novel inspired numerous films and TV series in Japan and the States. The most influential of them being the Japanese animated series of 1975: each episode was watched by over 25 million. By contrast, nobody in Flanders knows the novel or the impact of the story. Didier Volckaert and I directed a documentary about the transnational imagination of Flanders, based on the novel.

By screening several clips of the animated series and of the documentary, and by confronting the conducted interviews with critical theory on Occidentalism (Gill, 2004 and others), this paper aims at questioning the ways Flanders is being imagined to transform the original British story to Japanese values. This case study thus strives to approach the discourse on Occidentalism from a methodically comparative and critically informed point of view so as to think through the differences between adopting/adapting images in a cross cultural context.
Original languageEnglish
StatePublished - 2009

ID: 5433644