A reflection on autethnography

What started with a fascination with Japanese sex dolls has ended with an in depth exploration of  how aspects of Japanese society, history, culture and politics affect dating trends.

Throughout the process I have struggled to make myself aware of all of my predispositions and I think this is evident in my research.  However Ellis et al describes epiphanies as transformative experiences and I feel that the entire autoethnographic process has been a tapestry of moments that have altered my perceptions in one way or another.

Screen Shot 2017-10-26 at 1.35.25 pmSource

Primarily I became aware of western media’s portrayal of the East, especially the quirks of Japanese culture. What I once read as a piece of investigative journalism, I can now see strong elements of sensationalism and drama. For the first part of my research I was extremely caught up in a western voice and perspective on the issue which I believe to be the reason why my first assessment was heavily weighted around the media hook of the herbivore men. It wasn’t until I started to engage with Japanese scholars and government studies that I came to be aware of the broader picture.

Because of this epiphany, I also came to realise how social interactions and practices are so incredibly entrenched within history, custom and locality. In many ways, the struggles that Japanese women face are incomparable to my own or those of my mother and her friends but in some ways they are. For example, the everyday struggle that mothers endure between their careers and children is broadly applicable to both culture’s.

It was interesting to see how the Japanese Government

While attempting to do research while being aware of my own frame of reference I believe that my feelings of intrigue and uncomfortability disintegrated into feelings of understanding and compassion. In alot of ways I think it takes the sense of “other” out of research and establishes a human element, or connection, within the work.

Throughout my research I have learnt so much about the ins and outs of dating trends in Japan while along the way, discovering alot of things about the dating culture in my own sphere.


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