Preferred Name

Sam Constantine

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Department of History


Michael Gubser

Steven Guerrier

Yongguang Hu


This thesis examines how Disney and Nintendo appealed to consumers in both the United States and Japan by celebrating ideals that spoke to consumer’s existing perceptions of national identity and national exceptionalism, particularly the dream of upward mobility. This thesis highlights four character traits that both the Japanese and Americans found heroic and that comprised the wider dream of upward mobility: hard work, perseverance, tenacity, and kindness. Through the immersive experiences that Disney and Nintendo provided, consumers became the heroes of their own journeys and brought these characteristics to life both in the fantasy worlds each company created and in the real world. As consumers continued to embrace each company’s stories, they forged close connections with both Disney and Nintendo.



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