From the Oxygen Destroyer to Godzilla the Destroyer…

GODZILLA

Autoethnography is a completely new term for me. In the context of Digital Asia it essentially describes the way we analyse our experiences of consuming Asia related content, which is slightly obscured due to our own personal context and understanding. It is the way in which our own personal experiences influence our understanding of cultural texts. As Ellis says we are “readers into the scene…in order to experience an experience”. With many different types of media available at simply the click of a button, Autoethnography shows how our personal understanding of different cultures can create a bias perception, whilst the text in which we consume can often challenge such ideals.

I personally have had a limited experience of Asian culture, however I do have a guilty pleasure for the dating show ‘If You Are the One’ and the typical orientalised movies such as the classic Disney film Mulan (which is definitely one of my favs). I have also re-vamped my love for Pokemon by playing Pokemon Go! Apart from this, to say my experience of Asian culture is limited is actually quite accurate.

Gojira was actually my very first experience of a Godzilla film. Although I am aware of the creature, I had this pre-conceived idea that Godzilla was very similar to that of King Kong. Despite this, I was thrilled to learn that we were watching the 1954 film as I actually adore black and white films. Perhaps this is due to my mother’s influence. We would watch Doris Day and Elizabeth Taylor classics, which were nearly always in black and white (if you haven’t see the Mirror Crack’d I highly suggest you do). It was also great to be live on Twitter and observe other peoples interpretations of the film. Here are some of the observations and notes I made during Godzilla:

  • The chopping between scenes is not exactly smooth and is a little hard to follow
  • Godzilla emerges – not trying to make fun of the film but the ‘monster’ didn’t look as scary as I would have thought it would. Perhaps I have watched Jurassic Park too many times …
  • Love the scene of the traditional ritual and dancing to try and get rid of the monster (very glad they didn’t sacrifice a young girl to the monster as the old man suggested. Or maybe they should have and they may have had a greater chance of Godzilla disintegrating?)
  • There is still this strong men/women divide – the men in the court room think practically whereas the women think with emotion and from the heart.
  • Oxygen Destroyer – perhaps some sort of metaphor for nuclear warfare? But then again, so is Godzilla – I mean he was the result from ongoing bomb testing…
  • More traditional Asian culture ideas – sitting on the floor whilst eating. However interestingly the clothes the characters are wearing are plain.
  • Love triangle – never would have thought this would be a subplot in an action film
  • Why is Emiko always so emotional! It is so full one
  • The way in which they show emotion towards each other is quite different to todays society.
  • Use of telegram, radio, TV broadcast.
  • Miniature sets are super cool!
  • Why do all the good characters die ☹ Serizawa kills himself in order to prevent people from using his creation in negative ways. What a hero.

And here are a couple of screenshots that highlight some other observations myself and the DIGC330 class made:

All in all I enjoyed the movie and found it quite easy to pick out what I thought was specific Asian culture ideas and concepts. Although I think with a bit more research of the themes portrayed in the film, my cultural knowledge will continue to expand and provide me with insight into to things that perhaps I disregarded as significant. I’m looking forward to this!

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2 comments

  1. First of all, I approve of your guilty pleasure, If You Are The One, and feel that it’s a great autoethnographic experience to get your head around some parts of Chinese culture (filial piety, the idea of the leftover women and even seeing more of the women fight for their own career rather than be taken care of by their potential dates).
    I liked the way you approached the autoethnographic methodology, there was a good balance of description and analysis to show how you interpreted the film. I think that some of the things you mentioned, including the choppy film transitions and the less-than-fearsome Godzilla can be an insight into the technology they used to produce the film. Similar to watching the Quidditch scenes in the first Harry Potter film, the graphics do not age well at all and can take you out of the experience. I also think you’re on the right track with the oxygen destroyer being a metaphor for nuclear warfare since it would be a hot topic in the years that Godzilla was filmed.
    Hopefully you’ll have a lot more knowledge about Asian culture by the end of the semester!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have to agree with a lot of what you wrote. I myself was a little hesitant in doing this subject, I don’t have much idea about Japanese media either! I was expecting it to be all Pokemon and maybe some terrifying manga. But watching not only a black and white film, but also one which covered issues such as lead female characters and environmental issues. It was more than what I thought would be in Godzilla.

    I enjoyed your tweets during the film, it’s always great to see what other people are thinking during something new (maybe they should only allow tweeting in movie theaters?)

    I think from your ideas and thinks you noticed through out the film you’ve already got a great understanding of Japanese media and what the rest of the subject should entail!

    Like

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