The Japan of my childhood

My knowledge of things that are ‘Asian’ is pretty limited. After seeing Pokemon something I used to watch as a child with my twin brother, I start to wonder what other shows I watched as a child originated from these cultures. First I wondered about Dragon Ball Z and then to one that I also loved as a child, Sailor Moon.

I typed into Google Sailor Moon origin, which directed me to Wikipedia. After that I realized its actual origin is Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon. I feel surprised that as a child hadn’t realized it wasn’t Western, it didn’t seem like another culture to me, it just seemed like another cartoon to me.

I also only thought it was a TV show (apparently there is a new and improved series!) and had no idea it was in fact a Manga series.

I started to think of other things that i used to play like the Tamagotchi and Sonic the Hedgehog

My initial reaction to things seemingly ‘Asian’ honestly makes me think of things foreign and boring and things I don’t understand, which is probably just a ‘Western’ reaction. It’s as if I’ve been programmed to think of them as the ‘other’. To realize that something in my childhood was actually this makes me question our perspective of us VS them as adults. As a child you don’t see things as divided, like East and West, but just as it is.

Now I’ve come to the conclusion that I will be researching the Japan of my childhood and the things I didn’t realize were ‘Asian’ and why it was that way.

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5 comments

  1. Hi Kristy! I was in a similar boat recently when I bought the subbed original of CardCaptor Sakura. Like you and Sailor Moon, I watched it as a child in Australia so it came as a shock when I discovered entire episodes I hadn’t seen and plot lines to do with a few characters homosexuality that had been erased from our own broadcast of the show. I know there was a similar ‘re-mixing’ of Sailor Moon as well to disguise homosexual relationships between the characters. This blog outlines a few of the cover-ups if you’re interested (http://bookmans.com/too-many-girlfriends-sailor-moons-censored-life-us/). It’s amazing to see how much I missed about these animes as a kid. As an adult, it’s pretty easy to spot a whole missing storyline and the clumsy editing.

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  2. I think you’ve hit the nail on the head when you mention that as a kid you found Asian culture boring; our experience of a culture doesn’t necessarily have to equal fascination and enjoyment. I had the same experience when I was a child; I didn’t understand Asian cultures very well, and therefore I found little joy, fascination or curiosity in them (thank goodness that has changed!). Be careful to make sure that you keep your focus on the digital elaboration of Asian culture in your analysis further on 🙂

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  3. I know exactly what you mean about not being aware of certain media being ‘Asian’ at a young age, I had the same thing with Pokemon and Dragon Ball Z. You raise an interesting point about not being able to distinguish ‘East’ from ‘West’ at a young age and basing things off how entertaining you find them intuitively. Do you think a certain level of ingrained culture and biases from a young age that made you less fond of these? Or perhaps their more eccentric styles were simply not as inviting.

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  4. Catching up on my comments here. I read your post a few weeks back and am kind of glad I left all my commenting till the last minute. You draw an excellent point here when you address the fact that you didn’t realise as a child that some of the TV shows you watched like Pokemon and Sailor Moon were ‘Asian.’ I was the same! I had no perception of East, West or cultural ‘other’. It is only as I have gotten older that I’ve come to think of anime as an “Asian’ medium. I simply enjoyed Pokemon, my Tamagotchi and Dragon Ball Z because they were good shows. I almost wish that I had never made/been taught to make/learned to make the distinction between East and West, which seems impossible, but the absence of that distinction might change how I perceive the world now.

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  5. My personal experience is a bit different than yours. I grow up in Hong Kong, I do notice anime such as Sailor Moon and Pokemon are originated from Asia, but not exactly where. I found it really interesting how dubbed anime can easily give us a false image of where it is originated. And also as what Courtney mentioned above, how the contents are monitored based on region, for example, in the Sailor Moon series, Sailor Uranus and Neptune are portrayed as a lesbian couple, but in the American version they were censored and become cousin. My advice on how you thoughts on Asian culture would be, just enjoy and be open minded, Anime is a very good start because it has lots of hybrid content.

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