A magical “trick” that attracts even modern people… Why do Japanese people love “Harry Potter” so much?
The locations for the “Harry Potter” movie are filled with famous places in England, which ranks high on Japanese people’s list of “countries they want to visit!
I have seen “Harry Potter” at least three times. I’ve seen ‘Harry Potter’ three times through, and some films I’ve seen more than 10 times. I have loved British fantasy literature since I was a child, such as “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Chronicles of Narnia. The United Kingdom is known for producing a great deal of excellent fantasy literature. I think “Harry Potter” expresses the charm of British fantasy to the fullest. The antique atmosphere of the library and principal’s office, with its many old books on magic, is very exciting. It is very exciting.
says Dr. Dai Takeuchi, Professor of Philosophy in the Department of Literature at Rissho University. He specializes in the study of Western magic.
The film is shot on location at Annick Castle, Durham Castle, Gloucester Cathedral, and other stately and majestic Norman buildings developed in England during the Middle Ages. I think the reason for their popularity in Japan is because of the longing for such traditional British culture.
In fact, the United Kingdom is consistently ranked among the top 10 countries in “Countries to Visit” rankings conducted by travel agencies and other organizations for Japanese people.
Real-life “Schools of Witchcraft and Wizardry” and “Magicians
Many fantasies were born in England, and when it comes to fantasy, magic and sorcery are always associated with it.
In the 16th century, a man named John Dee, who was said to be the wisest man in the Elizabethan era, together with Edward Kelly, a medium, used a crystal ball to communicate with angels and spirits, leaving behind a vast amount of records. Incidentally, Dee’s appearance is the archetypal image of an old sage, reminiscent of Dumbledore, principal of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
In the 19th century, the culture of witchcraft reached its peak, and in 1801, a man named Francis Barrett published a book titled “The Magician,” in which he recruited students for the school of witchcraft he had established.
In other words, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry did exist!
Though it was quite small, with a capacity of 12 students.
Gothic literature, which originated in the 18th century, gradually spread in the 19th century, resulting in masterpieces such as Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” and Bram Stoker’s “Dracula”.
The motifs of Gothic fiction are “old castles,” “secret chambers,” “underground passages,” and “caves.” …… It’s kind of like the world of “Harry Potter.
In 1887, a secret society called the Golden Dawn was founded by three magicians, including McGregor Matthurs. Among its core members was Nobel Prize-winning author W.B. Yeats. He is also known for his significant contribution to the study of Celtic fairies.
In the 20th The 20th century brought the magician Aleister Crowley, also known as “the wickedest man in the world.
He was a major influence on the later culture of practical magic and the occult.
More notably, the repeal of the Witchcraft Act in 1951 led to the emergence of the “Wicca” witchcraft movement.
At any rate, I think it is clear that the traditions of Britain’s real-life witchcraft culture provided the soil for the birth of Harry Potter.
Wizards, they said, really existed. Did they fly and transform themselves?
Of course not. But in a way it is possible. Through rituals and other means, magicians can enter a special state of consciousness and create a kind of image world. They can fly and transform themselves in this imaginary world. It is not reality, but it can be experienced quite vividly.
Today, it is possible to technically construct these image worlds as VR spaces.
Animations featuring cute witches, such as “Himitsu no Akko-chan,” “Sally the Magician,” and “Witch’s Delivery Service,” have long been popular in Japan. Perhaps they have a sense of affinity with wizards as well as admiration for them.
Is it witchcraft that causes people to go crazy over idols or to buy them when they see advertisements?
According to Professor Takeuchi, the manipulation of public image is truly magical.
For example, a producer who produces a succession of idols who have a passionate fan base can be considered a modern-day magician, and a theme park that guides the flow of people through the layout and design of its buildings, with entertaining devices everywhere, is also magical.
Political propaganda and commercial advertising strategies are also a form of witchcraft in the sense that they lead people to do what they want.
When you put it this way, we may be unknowingly being played by the magicians of our time.
Warner Bros. Studio Tour Tokyo-Making of Harry Potter” will open in June. I wonder if there are various magical tricks to enthrall us here as well.
Dai Takeuchi Professor of Philosophy, Faculty of Letters, Rissho University. D. in Literature. Specializes in phenomenology and Western occultism. His major publications include “The Reality of Magical Phenomena: An Analysis of the Experiences of Witch Suspects” (Filkal, Mu), “The Significance of Tarot Divination in Eliphas Levi” (Eureka, Seidosha), and “The Question of Creation in John Dee” (Existential Thought, Ritsusha).
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Interview and text by： Izumi Nakagawa