Jumping into Japanese Horror

SHOCK. HORROR. PROBABLE TEARS. HORROR MOVIES ARE HELL.

This just in: I’m going to undertake autoethnographic research into Japanese horror films. My main focus area* will be on female representation in these films, including character archetypes and tropes.

But Lucy, why do you feel inclined to watch Japanese Horror films for your autoethnographic adventure into Digital Asia if you hate horror so much?

There’s a few reasons, random italicised question. The first is that I don’t want to make a Hollywood vs. Japanese film industry comparison. There’s nothing worse than relying on both my own Anglo-Australian bias and on stereotypes to explore Japan. I don’t want to ‘other-ise’ them. So, because I don’t watch horror films at all, I feel like I’m (almost) coming into these films with a blank slate.

Why do you hate horror films?

I enjoy sleeping at night. But now, my life is going to be a series of coffee and No-Doz induced mania. It won’t end until I stop seeing the creature from Ringu at the end of my bed.

The movies I will be watching:
1. Ringu
2. Tag
3. Ju-On
4. One Missed Call
5.Noroi
6.Dark Water

Despite searching Australia’s mainstream movie retailers, there were only two Japanese horror films that I could actually purchase. Neither of the films were actually in stock in my local stores, and you’re dreaming if you think I would willingly spend money on getting anything delivered. So, I utilised the best source at my fingertips and googled something like ‘Japanese horror films watch online’ and, to my surprise, YouTube popped up. I was shocked that Japanese copyright allows their movies to be easily accessed in a few clicks – shocked but relieved. I will try to discover, during the course of this research, if there are places in Australia that do sell Japanese horror films in a large capacity.

Each of the six films listed above will be viewed via youtube, using their closed captions option to translate it to English. During this process I will be live tweeting each viewing with the hashtag #L-Horror because watching horror movies is horrific for me, Lucy. Get it? I should never make jokes. However, bear with me on my use of Twitter. Despite various subjects trying to impose it on me and trying to understand it for personal use, I am like a neanderthal with a couple of rocks, trying to light a fire. I literally once deactivated my twitter when trying to change what my profile thing looked like.

Instead of turning this blog post into a tirade of why Twitter is evil, I’ll #throwback to what autoethnography is. Ellis explains it as a combination of both autobiography and ethnography. It’s basically how our own personal cultural experience influences how we interpret and understand texts. To do autoethnography properly, you need to analyse why you interpreted a text in that way. Understanding the reasons behind your own bias and assumptions can help you better understand a culture that is different from your own.

I asked my brother what he thought of Japanese film and he said something to the effect of “The Japanese are crazy all their films and shit are nuts”. I then asked him what Japanese films he had actually seen, and he had never seen one of their films in his life. He was a good source for me to use for an example of the stereotypes and assumptions we make of other cultures, mostly because he is the same culture as me, has had as few experiences with Digital Asia as I have, and he is not trying to analyse every thought he has about Japan. It did make me realise that I should probably keep a record of the bias and assumptions I am preemptively making about what I will witness in the Japanese Horror films.

And what better place to share the lowkey racists thoughts I have from lack of exposure to and understanding of Japanese culture than right here in the privacy of the internet? Please save your beratings for me if I finish this project and haven’t educated my ignorance away.a

  • I think that these films will be very gory. You know, lots of blood and guts, the whole shebang.
  • Pretty sure the females will not be the main characters, and if they are, they’ll be victims.
  • There won’t be any sex scenes or sexual references.
  • There will be minimal special effects.
  • There will be no humour, and if there is, it’ll be weird and quirky and won’t make any sense to me.
  • At least 10 times per film, there will be a bad translation from Japanese to English and I’ll get very confused.
  • I will get scared and look away from the movie, only to discover that I have missed the dialogue and have no idea what is going on.

I am looking forward** to watching Ringu and not sleeping for the rest of my life. Tune in shortly for another post about my experience of watching the film, and some deeper research into the whole subject.

 

*This is subject to change, if I see something during the film that piques my interest more than feminism. Unlikely, but true.
**I’m not looking forward to it. This is a lie.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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