Japanese Television Shows | Autoethnography

Japanese TV shows are characteristically quirky, bright and out-of-the-box. To understand this genre of entertainment, we each sat down to watch three different TV shows: reality, variety and comedy. Drawing on Ellis et al, we noted the epiphanies we had whilst watching the TV shows and then looked deeper into the cultural practices behind them to understand the culture.
Without watching each other’s TV shows, we came together to present our cultural findings and realised the shows had more in common than we had previously thought.

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Peer Review: Online Communities (The Food Culture Project)

Over the past year, I have been following the work of Irem Kirman as she explored the worlds food culture within the online community of Reddit. She utilised the online platform to connect with people in different countries to gain first-hand knowledge about ingredients and where they were sourced from. This semester, she has iterated her trajectory to compile the Reddit threads into a website. Originally, I was going to review Chloe Ianni’s project around cyborgs as it is a topic that I am really interested in, however, I believe doing a peer review on Irem’s work will be more valuable as I have been able to witness its growth from its original inception in the second half of last year. Irem’s project is a cohesion of two parts, the threads on Reddit and her comprehensive website.

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Filipino Street Style: An analysis

Filipino fashion and style has always been something that interests me because it directly reflects on their rich history and culture development over time. In my auto-ethnographic account: Filippino Street Style and my first impressions, I encountered the Filipino fashion world two ways; first through the black market in Manila and then again online through fashion icons on Instagram.

Within my autoethnographical account, I followed Ellis et al’s methodology of showing “which is designed to bring readers into the scene—particularly into thoughts, emotions, and actions.” Whilst doing this, I came across different epiphanies that at the time I didn’t realise were major turning points until I explained them on my blog.

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Filipino Street Style and my first impressions

Let’s rewind a bit…

Earlier this year, I travelled to the Philippines to visit my family. Before you ask, no, I’m not Filipino, but half of my family did move there from Australia 15 years ago.

One of the best things to do in Manilla is to shop, but I don’t shop at any Mall or SM Mall of Asia, I shop at the black market.

We drove 30 minutes out of the city in traffic like you’ve never seen before. Three lanes were magically turned into six lanes. Jeepneys pushed their way into the traffic with riders casually hanging off the back of the ‘bus’ with one hand. Motorbikes filled the microscopic spaces between the cars making it harder for anyone to move anywhere.

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Using ‘I’ – an autoethnography

For as long as I can remember, I was always told that the story isn’t about me.

In high school, my teachers would time and time again remind us that using ‘I’ in an essay or short story was almost like shooting ourselves in the foot. We were told that using ‘I’ lessened the value of the work and that the pure focus should always be about the research and the content.

Now here I am, in my final semester at University and I am finally being told that using ‘I’ isn’t such as bad thing. According to Ellis, authoethnography allows the researcher to “analyse personal experiences to understand cultural experience.”

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Godzilla, a visualisation of Japan in 1954

When I think of Ishiro Honda’s 1954 film, Godzilla, I immediately visualise images of destroyed Japanese towns, a fire-breathing monster and terrified people. The classic combination for a Sci-Fi Horror film.

Before today, I hadn’t watched any of the films under the Godzilla umbrella because I wasn’t allowed to watch it.

Godzilla (1954)

Growing up as a young ethnic-Australian girl in the late 1990s, my parents  Italian/ South American parents were strict in regards to what we watched. At the time our television screens were filled with Japanese manga and cartoons with slight undertones of violence and destruction.  My mum banned my brother and I from ever watching shows and films like Godzilla or Japanese manga or cartoons because there was too much violence for impressionable young children.

After watching Gojira, i’m glad I didn’t watch the film when I was younger.

Through the lens of the New Historian Literary Theory, Godzilla was created as a product of the historic events which it was created in. If I was to have watched the film when I was younger, all I would have seen was scenes of destruction and over-dramatised acting. I wouldn’t have appreciated the history and underlying themes that capture the culture’s struggle surrounding the events that took place around WWII.

The film was different to what I had expected. It deeply explored the effects of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombs which ravaged the Japanese towns causing years of after effects, contamination and radiation. It also played on the social anxieties surrounding the U.S atomic bomb of Castle Bravo which detonated in 1954,  the same year Godzilla was released.

Godzilla itself was a motif for the unstoppable effects that the atomic bombs continued to have on the Japanese population.

Upon watching the film, I came to notice the theme of Human vs. Self where the community (human) vs. Godzilla (self) . Godzilla is a representation of the persona that humanity has created with the intention to be the better version of humanity and take over, in turn causing destruction.

This draws parallels with Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein where the monster becomes a product of its creator. In this case, Godzilla is the product of humanity and its desire to have control. It plays with the idea of humanity tampering with technologies beyond their power so much so that they create a monster.

Frankenstein

 

This is accentuated by the films nior and its black and white nature. Godzilla seems to come out from the shadows in certain scenes where the lighting techniques added to the dramatisation of the film.

Overall, I really enjoyed the film and how it played with certain themes, issues within Japanese culture and history as well as advancements in science and technology.

This film presented the fears, struggles and lives of Japanese people who were forced to live with the effects after the war and radioactivity. Thus, it provides a window for western audiences to view these struggles through the film.


Sources:

Honda, I 1954, ‘Godzilla’

Mambrol, N  2016, ‘New Historianism,’ Literary Theory and Criticism Notes <https://literariness.wordpress.com/2016/10/16/new-historicism/&gt;

Shelly, M 1818, ‘Frankenstein’

 

 

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