Lynn Okamoto and Reversing a Trend

Since the early twentieth century, Eastern ideals have flowed into the West as Western technology has flowed into the East.  And so, we have authors like Herman Hesse and Rainer Maria Rilke whose works bear a decidedly Eastern influence.  In particular, the 60’s and 70’s saw an increased interest in Eastern religions, especially Hindu, Zen Buddhism, and Taoism–my personal favorite.  People jaded with the rampant materialism in the West highly regard these traditions.  As for Christianity, that bedrock of Western civilization, it has come to be looked at as the cult of the unsophisticated.  Some people are so convinced of Christianity’s provincialism that they are blind to the spiritual richness of the Church: the writings of the Church Fathers, St. Bernard of Clairvaux, St. Bonaventure (I especially recommend him to curious Buddhists), St. Thomas Aquinas, and so many others.

Gokukoku no Brynhildr 1

The attitude that the Christian faith lacks relevance and that Western culture is vapid makes Lynn Okamoto stand out among mangaka.  The title of his first major work, Elfen Lied, derives from a poem by Eduard Mörike, a Lutheran pastor and writer of the 19th century German Romantic movement.  And Okamoto’s works are imbued with themes found in traditional Western culture, e.g. original sin, free will, spiritual warfare, salvation by grace, and distrust of the government.  Might I also add that themes of alienation, initiated by Karl Marx and expanded on by writers like Camus and Kafka, are boldly painted in both Elfen Lied and Gokukoku no Brynhildr.

Nana Kowai Me

Someone has obviously just threatened Papa’s life a moment ago. The only thing which can make Nana go berserk!

So, I just wished to mention one Japanese author whom I think is very much in tune with Western values and culture.  This is interesting because of that trend I noted before of many–perhaps the majority–of Westerners believing that the East has more to offer to men’s hearts and souls.  Have you noticed any other Japanese mangaka, novelists, or even screenwriters who display a similar interest in the West?  Especially in showing that they think Christianity contains enough vitality to be relevant to modern man?


2 comments on “Lynn Okamoto and Reversing a Trend

  1. japesland says:

    I love reading your posts like this. You offer so much insight into Western culture that I feel goes under the radar far too often, and I love hearing your perspective both as an enthusiast of history and a practicing Catholic. Keep up the amazing work!


    • Thanks! My father used to be very keen on Eastern religions and their effects on the West. So, you can say that my knowledge of the infiltration of Asian thought (some good, some bad) came from what he taught me with additional knowledge from my reading, especially concerning Eastern martial arts.


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