2017 Student Research Conference:
30th Annual Student Research Conference

Examining the Playable Character in Okami: Amaterasu as an Onnagata

Samantha D. Pohlman
Dr. Julia DeLancey, Dr. Sara Orel, Dr. Heidi Cook, and Dr. Masahiro Hara, Faculty Mentors

In 2007, the Japanese open-world game Okami stunned players with its powerful Japanese spirit, or yamato-damashii. Although overshadowed by the release of the PlayStation 3 and having low initial sale, Okami won IGN’s Game of the Year award and has remained a fan favorite for years. Visually, it draws heavily from both Japanese sumi-e painting-- a monochromatic ink painting borrowed from China--and kabuki symbolism, costuming, and make-up. The narrative relies on Japanese folklore, literature, and Shinto mythos, but also upon that of kabuki tropes and iconography. Even the main character, Amaterasu, parallels the onnagata—a female character--tradition in kabuki. This presentation will argue that Okami is a rendition of kabuki placed in a new medium and will draw this conclusion through an in depth look at the main character, Amaterasu.

Keywords: Okami, video game, kabuki, onnagata

Topic(s):Art - Art History
Asian Studies

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 213-4
Location: OP 2210
Time: 10:15

Add to Custom Schedule

   SRC Privacy Policy