George Chen: Kyoto University Animation Club

This semester, I joined the Kyoto University animation club, which primarily is an interest group for students interested in various types of animated TV series and films. Meetings primarily consisted of casual, informal get-togethers in small groups, discussing various shows and films. Many of the members, incidentally all guys, seemed to be interested in TV series like K-On and Gurren Lagann more than films like those by Hayao Miyazaki and Shinkai Makoto. So, while our exact interests were more distant than I thought they might be, I learned several things, not directly related to the club’s content, about how Japanese club life and relations go about.

The club was very informal, with a flat organization, and various people used distal and direct-style speech, which seemed to be mostly personal preference rather than senpai-kouhai relationship. Coming and going into the club room, which was in a science building, was fairly informal, and people just gathered with various interests, playing games, introducing shows, or debating the merits of various programs. The most important take away I had was that not all Japanese clubs used a hierarchical senpai-kouhai relationship, and this was rather dependent on the type of club’s activity and intensity. In my case, the anime club was not intense, but very welcoming and a nice place to discuss shows that I enjoyed with other like-minded, Japanese students.

Clearly, if you are looking for an intense, structured, hierarchal club, other circles would probably be a better fit. But if talking about animation in an easy-going clubroom sounds interesting, the circle could be worth a look.

3 thoughts on “George Chen: Kyoto University Animation Club

  1. Hey George,

    Sounds you had a relaxing, yet interesting experience for your CIP!

    Just as you said, I think it’s really interesting that your circle had no senpai-kohai relationship. How do you think this directly affected the organization of the circle, if it even did, and subsequently, how did your interaction with other members in the circle shift from the first day you joined to now (3.5 months later)?

  2. Hi George!

    It’s too bad the interests of the guys in the club weren’t exactly the same as yours, but it’s good that you were able to learn new things and get experience in a relaxed setting! I myself was in one of those “stricter” seeming clubs, but it was interesting to hear many girls saying that in university, clubs aren’t usually so strict in relationships.

    Coming off of that, do you feel you were able to make some solid friendships, and did you feel comfortable speaking casually with the people around you? Also, do you feel like you have been able to become more comfortable speaking about things you’ve seen (narration of shows, for instance) because of talks you’ve had in the club?

  3. Heya George,

    Sounds like a good time! It’s too bad that they weren’t as interested in Miyazaki or Shinkai as you were, but it can be fun to mix things up once in a while.

    What sort of things did you discuss while you were in the club? Did you learn anything new or noteworthy about the differences between TV and film animation/production? Or maybe that’s too specific — as you said, the club members seemed to be doing a variety of activities at each meeting. What was your favorite?