In this post, I’ll be re-evaluating my autoethnographic account of the movie Akira (1988) in order to evaluate the assumptions I made and dig deeper. It’s a strange thing to recount your own writings and findings – a task I have never actually tackled before. I feel like it has given me a better understanding of the method. It seems as though my last post was the process of autoethnography itself, while this post is the true research methodology. When first re-reading my post, I found that I come across quite inept when not only addressing autoethnography, but the Asian culture in general. Just as Cohen (2012) ‘reluctantly went through a gradual process of transition’ in understanding the cultural experience, I feel like after researching a little more for this post I am not as uncertain about my claims and opinions.
I decided to delve deeper into the street crime culture in Japan to see whether it was exaggerated in the film or if there truly were such reckless gangs. After reading a few threads about people and their own autoethonographic experiences with gang culture in Japan, I found that it is not as violent or rambunctious as portrayed in Akira. With gangs like Yakuza, one of the most prominent, unless you confront them directly or interfere with their business, they are relatively nonthreatening. It reads that they actually condemn petty crime and general community disruptions.
After re-evaluating the protagonist (both in his position and his identity as a man) in his reactions and impressions throughout the film, it offers an in-depth insight into the male ego and it’s mutations when exposed to the ever elusive concept of power; given or realised. Through Tutsuo’s journey we investigate the need, often demonstrated by men, to attain and manipulate power. I considered whether this fixation with power comes from our circumstances or is something men are born with. It begs the question – could it be an attachment to the Y chromosome, or what fathers teach their sons every moment? Tutsuo shows the contrast between the amount of pressure to achieve power placed on men and women. It seems that while men may be conditioned to be aggressive in their pursuits of success, they are ultimately repressed by their fears. The body language shows the constraint placed on men, and that of which they place on themselves. It leads the viewer to wonder; ‘Can I think differently?’.
As a female, I feel that Akira (1998) challenged me to deliberate whether the power that overcame Tutsuo would have had similar outcomes on a female protagonist.
Cohen, E. (2012) ‘Flooded: An Auto-Ethnography of the 2011 Bangkok Flood, ASEAS – Australian Journal of South-East Asian Studies, 5(2), 316-334.
Ellis, C., Adams, T.E., and Bochner, A.P. (2011) ‘Autoethnography: An Overview’, Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 12:1.