May 2020 Theory of Knowledge (TOK) Essay Prescribed Title #5 is focused on the extent to which a single theory is enough to understand the world.

The Japanese TV series Crayon Shinchan seems fairly superficial at first glance but there are a number of theories than can be used to understand it. Here are some ways that the show could be analyzed:

  • Art – how Crayon Shinchan fits into the genre of children’s anime, how particilar themes / ideas are conveyed through visual and audio stylistic features
  • Economics – the Crayon Shinchan show promotes sales of related merchandise, the role of anime in the domestic Japanese economy
  • Politics – elements of Japanese culture like Crayon Shinchan are part of Japan’s “soft power” push for greater influence overseas
  • Gender – the gender dynamics within Crayon Shinchan’s family, interactions between male and female characters on the show, whether or not it promotes gender stereotypes
  • Social hierarchy – Crayon Shinchan does not often follow Japanese social norms when talking to people in positions of authority. This is a source of comedy in the show but critics say he is a poor role model for children
  • Linguistics – the specific language characters in the show use and how this relates to their job, gender, social standing, etc.

An essay on May 2020 Theory of Knowledge (TOK) Essay Prescribed Title #5 could argue that one theory is sufficient to explain Crayon Shinchan or on the other hand a number of different theories are needed to understand it fully.


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