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Chihayafuru is one my most anticipated anime of this season. Though its first episode fell short to fully “wow” me, I’d say that this is the most enjoying Fall series that I’m following right now. Initially, I found Chihaya’s dream of becoming a Karuta master petty and inauthentic. However, as I re-watched the series to gather some potential blogging material, I realized that how Chihaya recognized her dream is no way different on how I identified mine.

Dreaming usually refers to the visionary formation of the imagination. Oftentimes, it starts from nothing then as we gather our desires we start to create something. And usually, all we need is a stroke of inspiration to realize what we aspired and to put purpose on our lives, as we know “the unexamined life is not worth living.” However, this Socratic statement made me think, if we are just getting inspirations from other people, then what is the true essence of having a dream? Does it preserve or corrupt the “real” us? And, where exactly dreams come from?

The material world and its external forces vastly influenced how we craft our dreams. Because of this, the issue of maintaining the “authentic self” is always in question. At times, the simple question of “what do I like” is difficult to answer, particularly if we have spent years deferring to someone else and looking for validation from others. On the other hand, it’s true that being influenced is inevitable; however it doesn’t mean that the formation of the “real self” is impossible.

For instance, as we have witnessed in the beginning, Chihaya’s dream was to see her sister become the top model in Japan. To make things complicated, although this is her dream, Chihaya’s tomboyish nature made it apparent that she doesn’t want to be like her sister. As Arata claimed, Chihaya cannot call this as her dream because her dream has to be for herself, thus she cannot take someone else’s dream.

So what about Chihaya’s newfound dream of becoming Japan’s best karuta player, is this another copy-cat reverie, mainly from Arata, which deters the formation of her “true self”? No. As argued, being subjective is unavoidable. Conceivably, we are born as empty sets which need to be filled in by the ideologies and culture in order to become humans. The process of self-determination and self-actualization filters our needs and determines the formation of our selves.

Furthermore, the uniqueness of a dream might be unfathomable if we’re going to attest its very main roots. As Thomas Carlyle advocated, “the merit of originality is not novelty; it is sincerity.” Chihaya exemplified that her love for karuta didn’t come from bandwagoning. It came from the fact that she was challenged by Arata and the game itself. Unlike her “supposed” initial dream, with karuta, Chihaya got the chance to examine and judge how enjoyable playing this card game is.

Hence, the preservation of authenticity happens when a person grasped a personal understanding of her dream and approval of its drives and origin, rather than just from compliancy of what has been inherited. And, the state of genuineness is mainly considered as an optimistic upshot of progressive and informed motivation rather than a pessimistic outcome of rejection of the expectations of others.

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Notes:

  • I also struggled in defining my own dream when I was a kid.
  • Chihaya is my most favourite bishoujo of the season (next is Saber).
  • I want to learn how to play karuta.
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