Autoethnography

Once Bit(coined), No longer cryptocurrency shy

Hi everyone,

My final project about Bitcoin was created on Shorthand Social and can be accessed via the link below:

https://social.shorthand.com/GivernyW/32S3Mp7iK6/once-bitcoined-no-longer-cryptocurrency-shyhttps://social.shorthand.com/GivernyW/32S3Mp7iK6/once-bitcoined-no-longer-cryptocurrency-shy

I hope you find it interesting and insightful!

Clancy’s Digital Artifact

 

I first have to apologize for the occasional ‘pops’ in recording; I did my best in Audacity to mitigate this annoyance but they’re not completely eradicated. I had a lot of fun exploring Mixi, and it was a very interesting experience to say the least. Please have a quick flick-through my digital scrapbook if you’re interested in seeing some of the visual aspects of the site, and read my blog posts which go into greater detail.

Thanks again to Jessie Davis and her contact in Japan for making my project at all possible!

A Weibo Experience – Lucy Ronald, Sam Cavanagh and Tim Williams.

 

Sina Weibo (Pronounced way-bo) is a microblogging platform in China with over 222 Million users (Raponza, K. 2011). Weibo is the microblogging platform throughout China, holding a significant market following. The popularity of Weibo can be attributed to the 2009 Ürümqi Riots where the Chinese government blocked access to non-Chinese social platforms such as Twitter and Facebook (Blanchard, B. 2009), allowing for Chinese platforms to become centralised and capitalise on the opportunity within the market (Tong, Y. Lei, S. 2016).

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Due to study and career involvement in journalism and marketing the interest in Chinese social media was the driving factor for our digital artefact, due to the interest by western organisations in China’s expanding markets. Primarily we attempted to utilise RenRen the equivalent of Facebook, and 51.com which we struggled to graspe whether it was a gaming site or perhaps a dating site (or maybe both?). Various complications and restrictions imposed upon foreign users and organisations engagement on Chinese social platforms by the state resulted in the absent opportunity to experience RenRen.

Weibo is comparable to that of Twitter and is open to foreign engagement on the platform. However Weibo still implements strict internal censorship guidelines, such as the manual removal of any sensitive political comments with 30 per cent of censorship occurring within 5 – 30 minutes (Zhu et al. 2016). As Twitter users this was an opportunity for us to experience through our own knowledge of the western platform.  

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Our capacity as users was limited from the beginning, as all communication must be processed through Google translate prior to engagement. For example, the first interaction was translating a video of a dog:

只成精的泰迪, 当被主人嫌弃衣服太脏后, 不开心的它选择了

According to Google Translate:

‘Only into a fine Teddy, when the owner dislike clothes dirty, unhappy it chose’

Due to consuming content primarily within the Australian filter bubble, it was difficult to gauge an understanding of what topics may be trending throughout China. According to Chiu et al. (2012) China has the most active social network, with over 300 million users, all almost exclusively Chinese, engaging in Mandarin at one moment. Therefore we utilised the source ‘What’s on Weibo’ in an attempt to provide insight into how a foreign individual may interact and produce content. Furthermore, just like western platforms, we followed, commented and shared content all through the process of Google translate.

This however came to a halt when Sam’s IP address was flagged, or as we assume to be flagged, by the Sina Weibo organisation. This resulted in the freezing of the account and failing to recognise the verification number in order to retrieve the account. According to Gallo, F. T. (2012) microblogging has come under intense scrutiny by the Chinese government. While throughout Western countries we express a degree of free speech, internet censorship is widespread throughout China. However while this may be argued as a form of state control we believe that there is an underlying philosophy that influences this.

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The three major schools of thought in China is Taoism, the belief in living in harmony with the Tao (the way), Confucianism, as a framework for a way of life, otherwise the importance of living in social harmony (Yao, X. 200). Finally Legalism which demonstrates the framework for the ideological and intellectual aspects of Chinese society. Legalism often is considered to be a progressive school of thought (Pines, Yuri. 2014).  

While the Chinese government enforces restrictions Weibo remains to be one of the more ‘open’ forums. Gallo, F. T. (2012) states that an unnamed Sina Executive illustrates the need for ‘balance.’ What China has done is produce a distinct response to the empowerment that the internet provides users, viewing it in a holistic manner or an organic part of society, rather than its own entity. Therefore reflecting upon the Chinese philosophies is that the reason our Weibo account was frozen, I am perceived by the Chinese state to be an entity that harms the ‘social harmony’ of Chinese society. Therefore I am unhealthy for Weibo.

References:

Blanchard, B. (2009) China tightens Web screws after Xinjiang riot, Reuters, viewed 20.10.16 <http://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-xinjiang-internet-idUSTRE5651K420090706.

Chiu, C. Ip, C. Silverman, A. (2012) Understanding social media in China, Marketing and Sales Practice, McKinsey Quartley, viewed 22.10.16 <http://asia.udp.cl/Informes/2012/chinamedia.pdf>

Gallo, F. T. (2012) The Reality of Chinese Microblogging, Harvard Business Review, viewed 22.10.16 <https://hbr.org/2012/10/the-reality-of-chinese-microblogging>

Pines, Yuri. (2014) Legalism in Chinese Philosophy, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, viewed 22.10.16 <http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/chinese-legalism/#EpiLegChiHis>

Raponza, K. (2011) China’s Weibos vs US’s Twitter: And the Winner Is? Forbes, viewed 21.10.16 <http://www.forbes.com/sites/kenrapoza/2011/05/17/chinas-weibos-vs-uss-twitter-and-the-winner-is/#5162494e646f>

Tong, Y. Lei, S. (2016) War of Position and Microblogging in China, Journal of Contempory China, 22:80, 292-311, viewed 24.10.16

Yao, X. (2012) An Introduction to Confucianism, Cambridge University Press, viewed 23.10.16

Zhu, T. Phipps, D. Pridgen, A. Crandall, J. R. Wallach, D. S. (2013) The Velocity of Censorship: High-Fidelity Detection of Microblog Post Deletions, Cornell University, viewed 26.10.16 <https://arxiv.org/abs/1303.0597>

ASIAN POP EXPERIENCE: L&M

 

6903643-free-kpop-wallpaperKorean Pop

Korean Pop, otherwise known as K-Pop, is a multi-billion-dollar industry and the hub of music in Korea. Given the nickname ‘Hallyu’, K-Pop as an industry is highly regarded as the ‘Hollywood’ of Asia. As a result of social media platforms, K-Pop and its artists have become household names within a widespread Korean diaspora. By being readily accessible on a number of platforms — most notably YouTube, K-Pop has successfully transgressed former boundaries and borders, reaching audiences on a large scale. It is often noted that the industry specifically tailors its music and artists to reach Western audiences, as Dr. Roald Maliangkay adds “marketing to non-Koreans” is a norm. The K-Pop genre is distinctly characterised by its embodiment of audiovisual elements and often incorporates several stylistic elements including that of dance-pop, electropop and R&B.

Sistar
Sistar is a South Korean girl group established in 2010 under the management of Starship Entertainment and are known for their fun, playful music often reflecting influences from electro hip hop. The girls of Sistar are moreover recognised as one of K-Pop’s most sexy and flirtatious groups.

When watching the music video to their lead single for 2016, ‘I Like That’, the group’s unique style and the sexualised nature in which they were presented was something Linh and I picked up on. What we originally interpreted as ‘pretty’ and ‘cute’ was later interpreted as sultry and seductive as with further research we found that ‘I Like That’ tells the story of a woman emotionally torn due to a disloyal partner. The music is sassy and the girls are depicted as elegant and empowered, each having their own opportunity to shine. Billboard described this anthem-like song as Sistar’s “most impassioned song yet.

Big Bang

Big Bang is a South Korean boy band created by Y.G Entertainment in 2006 and is regarded by the wider Korean community as the ‘Kings of K-Pop.’ The group is known for utilising current trends and emulates sounds similar to those of Diplo and Disclosure in their hit ‘Bang Bang Bang’.

Big Bang’s success as a boy band in Korea is immense with the group being the best-selling digital group of all-time in Asia. Their music has sold well over 115 million copies and the group’s involvement in the writing and producing process of their music has resulted in their respected stature in the K-Pop industry. The song ‘Bang Bang Bang’ was released in 2015 and won the boy band the Song of the Year at the 2015 Mnet Asian Music Awards. It also reached number one on Billboard’s US World Digital Songs list in 2015. The video can be described as “an over-the-top affair, with the guys rocking a slew of wild looks, hairdos and fashions in a neon-tinged world.” 

With the popularity of K-Pop and the success of Big Bang came issues of copycatting. As Big Bang exceeded the success of pop groups in China, other groups began emulating their style and musical tastes. In particular, one Chinese group called OKBANG was heavily criticised for nearly plagiarising the K-Pop sensation.

Take a look at the following article by The Asian EntrepreneurIt shows just how closely OKBANG came to duping Big Bang.
Watching Bang Bang Bang, the first thing we noticed was the intricate detail each set had, and moreover how these sets or sequences seemed to reflect each group member uniquely. We also were able to identify small indicators of Western culture as an influence on the video, specifically with reference to the grills worn by one of the band members — a distinct acknowledgment on the impact of hip hop culture in Korean music. We both agreed that the song’s similarity to those heard on local radio stations within Australia was what made it so easy to listen to, making the influence of Western culture on our listening habits known. This allowed us to question our place in the world, and how this shapes the way in which we interpret or make sense of Asian pop as a cultural phenomenon.

Korean Hip Hop

Korean Hip- hop is a sub- genre of K-pop and is seen as the new trend in the Korean wave, reaching to wider international audiences that Korean pop might not satisfy. It’s become increasingly popular with apparent Rap based TV Shows in Korea as well as Hip- hop based K-pop groups. Emerging independent Korean hip hop labels such as AOMG and Illionaire records whom were previously underground are becoming mainstream and globally popular. Korean artist, CL even broke out of the Korean scene and debuted in the US with the song, ‘Doctor Pepper’ where she worked with Diplo and Riff Raff after signing with Scooter Braun’s label- home to Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande. Even so, K- hip hop it has its own unique sound and differentiates itself to American hip hop having Eastern influence.

Jay Park: Aqua Man

Jay Park is the founder of the label, AOMG. He was previously a leader of popular Korean Boy group, 2PM and was born and raised in Seattle, before moving to Korea after being scouted by a K-pop entertainment agency. Jay Park is known for a wider, international audience even previously having his own YouTube channel where he posted singing covers. His music is mainly R&B, Hip Hop and rap based and has released both Korean and English albums.

After watching his music video, Aqua Man, we were able to identify with the song as it was heavily Americanised and was completely in English. It was very different to the other Asian Pop music videos we watched- from the general beats to even the background and setting of the music video. We linked his appearance and dance style to various US artists such as Usher and Justin Bieber as we saw a US influence from his music style. But as we know, he was born and raised in the US then moved to Korea, thus his music influences are quite different from other Korean artists and K-pop groups in general.

Another difference to K-pop is that a lot of his songs and music videos are extremely sexualised and similar to American music. They are actually banned from playing on TV or radio in Korea due to explicit content and sexual imagery. Viewing his other music videos, although they were sexualised, we found a similarity to western music videos; thus didn’t see any overly explicit content. This demonstrates the culture differences between sexualised videos in what we are used to in our culture and what we find appropriate to Eastern cultures. We discussed that the music video was something that we could listen to and found it similar to various American R&B artists such as Trey Songz and Usher. It was more comfortable watching this music video and wasn’t too much of a culture shock due to the Americanised culture what we were used to.

Japanese Pop

2d8478351eeb060b826b0283ac8c5bd3Japanese Pop, or J-Pop was coined by media outlets as a way to identify and distinguish Japanese local music from international music in the 1990s. Since the end of the noughties, J-Pop has seen the emergence of idol groups, and it is groups like these which have been some of the most successful artists to come out of Japan. Idol groups are known to draw inspiration from Western celebrities and music icons and are moreover marketed as sexually enticing. It is believed that this form of marketing is what makes J-Pop groups successful within the industry and across transnational borders with many artists sharing fan-bases not just locally in Japan and Asia but also spanning across Western countries like Australia.   

Kyary Pamyu Pamyu
Kyary Pamyu Pamyu is an iconic Japanese singer renowned for her intently unique style and expression. Associated with Japan’s kawaisa and decora culture centered in the Harajuku neighbourhood of Tokyo, Kyary Pamyu Pamyu has been referred to as the ‘Harajuku Pop Princess’. Vogue’s Monica Kim described her as a viral candy-coloured sensation as “Kyary became the de facto queen of kawaii—pigtails, dripping in ribbons, and an endless array of Lolita dresses.” 

‘PonPonPon’ was Kyary Pamyu Pamyu’s debut single, released in 2011. It quickly became a viral internet sensation as a result of its quirkiness and psychedelic style. Influenced by Western artists like Katy Perry, ‘PonPonPon’ incorporates elements of 2D and 3D animation and has been dubbed as one of the craziest videos ever.

Watching ‘PonPonPon’ for the first time was certainly a weird experience. We saw Kyary Pamyu Pamyu in a coloured skirt dotted with eyes, a distracting backdrop and animated animals float by whilst the music played — both catchy and repetitive. Unknown to us was the fact that ‘PonPonPon’ was depicting two worlds, one reflecting the girly reality of growing up, the other revealing a more personal mental world — this was presented through Kyary’s pink and distorted face. Confused from the beginning of the music video, the microphone which appeared out of Kyary Pamyu Pamyu’s ear was revealed to imitate the image of Freddie Mercury, a Western influence which impacted upon the creation ‘PonPonPon’. We were both unaware of this at the time and thought it was just a weird and wacky quirk characteristic of kawaii culture in Japan. When watching ‘PonPonPon’ we also had speculated the age of Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, wondering if she was as young as she was presented to be — the cutesy colours she was dressed in and child-like nature in which she danced suggested she was a teenager —, or if the air of innocence we were shown was implied. After researching further, we found that Kyary Pamyu Pamyu was only eighteen at the time ‘PonPonPon’ was released in 2011.

Upon experiencing ‘PonPonPon’, we agreed that Kyary Pamyu Pamyu seemed untapped by Westernisation, with her music reflecting what could only be identified by us as Japan’s kawaisa culture. As a result, this cultural experience was not only intriguing but enlightening too.

E-girls: Dance with me now!

E-girls is a 20-member girl group from Japan. They are sorted in various subunits, Dream, Flower and Happiness as well as various trainees. They have a very unique member system called E-girls Pyramid where they currently categorise members according to their talents. If members need more training they get classified as Bunnies or Rabbits and return to training whilst the other remaining girls that are approved promote new singles. This strict, hardcore member system and large group is quite common in Japanese music idol groups with girl group, AKB48 originally having 48 members but now having, 130 members – including those that have left and joined overtime.

Dance with me Now! is a retro, club song and the music video was highly significant in having a uniformed dance sequence at the end which is very common in Asian Pop music videos. The outfits were all similar, and it was hard to differentiate each person, especially in group shots. We identified the music video to be fun, girly, innocent and simple with hardly any sexualisation. After looking up the lyrics it was generally about having fun, dancing. However, with more research, this innocent, girly image is more than intended. ‘J-pop idols, although they are mostly minors, are marketed as sex symbols. They target the desires of men who can’t maintain a relationship’ (Kincaid, 2016).  They have a ‘dating ban’ written in their contracts where they must stay single so they don’t shatter the fantasies of fans that ultimately bring money into the company. ‘Their availability, is part of their marketability’ (Kincaid, 2016). In 2013, a girl group member who was 15 was seen entering a hotel with two men. She was fined later on for $5400 USD due to breaching her celibacy clause. Rather than worrying about her being underage and in contact with two men in a hotel, the financial damage and image of the group was more important. Boy groups however, don’t have a dating ban.

Read more: How a girl group member from AKB48 shaved her head off to apologise for dating 

In western culture, there is definitely no dating ban against artists dating others. Rather it can be encouraged and sometimes seen as positive publicity. Although fans might not like the idea of their favourite artist dating, there is no legal fault and the image of the company isn’t badly affected but rather gives publicity to the artist for front page gossip. This difference between western music culture and the eastern music scene comes as a culture shock due to the strict and hardcore ‘robot’ like lives of these girl groups and idols that is just not evident in western culture.

Autoethnographic Experience 

The Asian Pop music industry is distinctively unique compared to what we are used to in Western culture. Korean artists are individually scouted as teenagers, from large entertainment companies where they train in singing, dancing, acting, modeling, language and even entertainment and talents and live in dormitories with other trainees for years waiting to debut as a group. Western artists are generally scouted or found through talent audition TV Shows and tend to debut straight away. This training culture is commonly evident in the Asian music industry and in Western culture can be seen quite intense, fake, strict and ‘robotic’. Rather from just pure talent, asian pop idols are scouted for their marketability.

Asian Pop artists aren’t like the general bands that play instruments but rather dancing, singing, performing machines that concentrate on connecting with audiences through love heart hand gestures and winks. A lot of the industry is based off physical appearances with many artists going through plastic surgery to get ‘double eyelids’, sculpted jaws and taller noses to look more western, satisfying the high standards of beauty. It is common for Korean girls and boys to get rewarded with plastic surgery after graduating high school, especially double eyelid surgery. Although this may be common in Eastern cultures, it’s quite unusual in Western cultures. Yes, changes in physical appearances is evident, through botox and plastic surgery, but it isn’t acknowledged and many celebrities tend to hide their fixtures.

Asian pop music videos are filmed over 2-3 days and are high budget videos. Music is mostly composed by others then given to the group, however due to the idea of being a musician rather than a produced, ‘idol’ this is transitioning to become more artist creative. Songs are generally about love, friendship and break ups rather than sex, drugs and alcohol, evident in Western music. K-pop can be said to be becoming more westernised as evident in Jay Park’s music videos whereas J-pop has stayed the same: innocence in terms of both dancing, lyrics and music videos.

Fans in eastern music culture demonstrates dedication and complete love to their artists. They shower them with gifts, fan chants and consistent support. Each fandom has it’s own unique name and colour with their own fan chants, lights and emblems. We found similarity to this through western music fandoms such as the popular, ‘Beliebers’ (Justin Bieber fandom) and ‘Directioners’ (One Direction fandom) that are renowned for being obsessive, emotional and very dedicated. Through this, evident in our cultures, we were able to understand the idea of idol fandoms in the Asian pop music industry.

Growing up listening to The Backstreet Boys and the Spice Girls the idea of boy/ girl groups wasn’t uncommon. These groups are a representation of our current culture and our social values and norms are something which they portray throughout their music. Western aspects of culture and the traditions we have seen in groups like The Backstreet Boys, One Direction and the Spice Girls weren’t reflected in the Asian Pop groups we watched, as elements of Western culture were lost in translation. However, from our prior knowledge of such groups, we were able to fully appreciate the history Asian Pop as an industry.

In our attempts to discern unfamiliar cultural phenomenon, we have been able to expand on the knowledge we previously shared on the social values and norms presented in Asian pop music. By reflectively analysing our  experiences of Asian pop we have been able to make sense of others and how culture has an influence on both cultural insiders and outsiders.  Exploring Asian pop as a phenomenon has consequently changed and challenged our “assumptions of the world” (Ellis. (2011, pt.1).

Presentation

REFERENCES:

Astar TV, ‘K-Pop Wallpaper,’ 2016, Accessed October 19 2016, <http://astar.tv/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/6903643-free-kpop-wallpaper.jpg>

Ellis, C., Adams, T.E., and Bochner, A.P. (2011) ‘Autoethnography: An Overview’, Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 12:1
World Wide Colour Coded Lyrics, ‘Sistar Wallpaper,’ 2014, Accessed October 19 2016, <https://worldwidecolorcodedlyrics.files.wordpress.com/2014/08/hn9pcdv.jpg>

Unknown, ‘Korean Hip Hop’, 2015, Accessed October 19 2016, <https://i.ytimg.com/vi/gerqMRmtVGg/maxresdefault.jpg>

Unknown, ‘J-Pop Group,’ 2016, Accessed October 19 2016, <https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/564x/2d/84/78/2d8478351eeb060b826b0283ac8c5bd3.jpg>

Bebop Box

In first approaching this autoethnographic task, the four of us had grouped together in order to determine what would be our field site. Travelling to Asia, was out of the question, and we had all experienced Asian food to a similar extent as well. What we did however determine was that we had all held differing experiences in regards to Japanese anime, ranging from the extensive, to almost nothing at all. Although this determined our media format, the plethora of anime in existence made the selection of a single series extremely difficult. However, the one that continuously entered the conversation was Cowboy Bebop.

As influenced by Ellis’ definition of autoethnography as “an approach to research and writing that seeks to describe and systematically analyse personal experience in order to understand cultural experience” (Ellis et al, 2011), we decided to present our project in a gogglebox-esque format, combing clips of the show and our recorded reactions. This provided real time responses to each of the four viewers as they happened, allowing direct comparison of responses and both a visual and verbal account of individual epiphanies.

The selection of Cowboy Bebop was quite interesting in itself as we had never seen the series screened in Australia. The show is not available on Netflix, and due to its creation in the late 1990s, no advertisements are currently being used. Access then became somewhat of an issue, resulting in us borrowing a physical DVD set of the series. However, the quality of the DVD itself became very questionable after cutting on halfway through the first session. A quick search on YouTube provided us with the first three episodes in full, with English dubs and high definition. This forced us to question how these episodes were getting past the stringent copyright laws on YouTube, questioning whether the age of the series was a factor, or did the series just slip through the cracks. YouTube’s community guidelines rules specifically state that you cannot “use content in your videos that someone else owns the copyright to, such as music tracks, snippets of copyrighted programs, or videos made by other users, without necessary authorizations” (YouTube, 2016). Each of these three episodes was taken from a different channel, each demonstrating blatant copy write infringement. YouTube even flagged our video when attempting to upload! Further research into Anime message boards and forums provided no conclusive answer the problem, with some users stating that their posting of videos were taken down almost immediately, while others list channels hosting over 500 clips of Anime, to which they don’t own the rights.

The word-of-mouth recommendations of Cowboy Bebop by numerous individuals (both our age and older) and thus, representative of its cult following. Furthermore, research into this cult found over 46,000 subscribers to the Cowboy Bebop sub-reddit, a rating of 9/10 on IMBD, and two differing ratings on Rotten Tomatoes for the movie, 64% critics from critics and 90% from the audience. It was this cult following that led us to the conclusion that the series must be quite long such as other cult anime series like One Piece. However, we soon determined that this was wrong with the series holding only one season, and one movie. This furthermore made us question, why Cowboy Bebop had such a popular following in both Western Countries and Japan.

A particular element of the episodes that puzzled us was the music soundtrack that accompanied fight scenes as well as the theme song that played at the introduction of each episode.  Jazz has its origins in New Orleans, so it was surprising to see it use in a Japanese film.  Despite this, the music in Cowboy Bebop was composed by Yoko Kanno with The Seatbelts, a blues and jazz band.  These composers wrote the iconic Cowboy Bebop opening song titled Tank which has been embedded below if you wish to listen to it.

Interesting, the Cowboy Bebop sub -reddit has many positive comments about the inclusion of original music, supporting the ideal that the original sound track in the series is a key factor for its popularity.  Maybe the utilisation of jazz music was a way to attract audiences from more Westernised backgrounds.

Importantly, director of Cowboy Bebop, Shinichiro Watanabe was so impressed with Kanno’s score that he was inspired to go back and re-write scenes.  Each scene essentially had its own unique score and song.

Charlotte found the use of the jazz music quite odd, as having grown up playing Jazz music herself, her interpretation of where jazz music fits in in terms of interpretation, art and self expression was not in line with the use of jazz in Cowboy Bebop.  However all four of us noted that the theme music was similar to what we had heard in more Westernised films such as Mission Impossible and James Bond which also have orchestral music in some of there scenes.

All in all, the experience of anime was different for all four of us.  Perhaps this was due to the contextual knowledge we already had about elements of the series, including how much anime we had previously consumed.  Because of this, not all of us enjoyed the episodes as much as we thought, because we had pre-conceived ideas as to what it was about.  Cowboys fighting people.  I guess we were all wrong!

References:

Ellis, C., Adams, T.E., and Bochner, A.P. (2011) ‘Autoethnography: An Overview’, Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 12:1

King Of Chair

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Abbey, John, Kate & Naomi autoethnographic investigation of the Japanese gameshow ‘King Of Chair’


As evident by a sheer number of articles and videos on the Internet, Westernised countries have interpreted Japanese game shows as “crazy” and “weird”. This is commonly due to the audience recognising the producer forcing the contestants to do strange things for the benefit of the audience. Before first-hand participating in watching a Japanese game show many of us would have agreed that this stereotype is an accurate depiction of Japanese culture.

Generally speaking Westernised game shows consist of contestants testing their knowledge, skill and ability with rewards being prizes of currency and various objects, and whilst this is true in Japanese game shows, they often add a comedic element to the shows, whilst still focusing on the ability of the contestants as they undertake various tasks that are usually painful or painfully funny for the audience.

Game shows were first broadcasted in Japan in the 1950s before becoming well-known as strange, off-the-wall, and at times a bit brutal, but always hilarious and entertaining.”

‘King of Chairs’ was first broadcasted in July 2010 on the TBS network. Its motif is a twist on the classical children’s game, musical chairs. In each episode, ten comedians/idols are released into a large environment where 1000 chairs are scattered and hidden throughout with the King of Chair logo. Out of these, there is only 3 winning chairs, with dozens of traps and surprises that are difficult to avoid as the contestants can only find out if the chair is a winner by sitting on it for 3 seconds. If the sensor on the chair sets off a winning bell, they win one of three spots in the episode’s finale.

The similarities of the Australian children’s game ‘musical chairs’ are present as players compete over chairs. However, it differentiates itself from this as it commonly takes place at parities where players compete for a decreasing number of chairs, with losers in successive rounds being those unable to find a chair to sit on when the music stops.

From what can only be described as a strange remake of the children’s game ‘musical chairs’, King of Chair seemed like a good place to start our groups authethnographical research of a Japanese game show. We started off by watching the video together and recording our initial reactions through a range of social media platforms. With the typical stereotype of Japanese game shows being strange and weird and consisting of the contestants doing odd things for the audiences benefits, we didn’t know what to expect! Yet to our surprise, this show was rather tame, it was only weird because none of us fully understood what was going on.

We were able to pick up the main theme of the show, several people competing for winning chairs and having strange and scary things happening to them as a result of sitting on an incorrect chair. The theme of the show was an easy one and little interpretation was needed to understand what was going on, further making it a good choice for us to watch. This has helped to open our view and perceptions into asian game show culture and prove that not all games are gross, weird and strange.

At the beginning of ‘King of Chairs’ we noticed the girl wearing a sailor costume and automatically began comparing it to a previous cultural experience of encountering Japanese anime at a young age stating, “Sailor Moon – is that you?” and “I like the dress ups. One is wearing rafting gear and the other is Sailor Moon”. However, when further researching into this contestants of the game all appear in uniform. The men are required to wear a school-like uniform or blazer and the women are required to wear sailor-like attire of a blazer, with a helmet. When we look at this from the perspective of Australian culture, we are able to recognise that many game shows do not have a dress code and contestant tend to dress more for comfort.

The main thing that really stood out to us through this collaborative autoethnographic investigation was the large part language plays in one’s comprehension of what is going on in one’s environment. Without dubs or subs, it was really tricky to get the gist of exactly what was going on. It took the entire 45 minute episode for the group to really get a grasp on what exactly it was we were watching, which was really interesting. I We also thought that the use of dubs and subs could further change the way we interpret the show, in a negative way. These translations are never quite perfect, so having this added into the show, would have changed our experience immensely.

For example after watching the show, we took to Reddit and found out what people were saying around the King of Chair. We found out that the participants in the show were actually celebrities in Japan, comedians in , models, actorJapans etc.. So because we missed all of what the participants were actually saying I am sure we all missed a large portion of the humour behind the show. The trap chairs were funny for us to watch visually, however we really missed out on a significant element to the show due to not knowing Japanese.

Another general comment in regards to the autoethnographic process, is that I noticed how critical we  was were when we are looking at something with fresh eyes. Perhaps the autoethnographic process just makes you notice something that is always happening naturally, but we did  I am automatically comparing it to something else, like an experience I have already had within the context of my culture.  Perhaps that was the autoethnographic process shining through??

I was having a good experience on a gameshow called “The King of Chair”. Other group mates were having different experiences because of subs or dubs. The video does not have any English subs which is challenging for them, and also provides a different environment within a language barrier. I personally study Japanese now so I partly understand the structure and the flow of the game, which I have a different experience from the gameshow.

To me, the rules of the game is quite tricky and different from the original game. Those contestants, who are mixed with comedians, idols, actors/actresses, and even athletes, are chasing for what they called “real chair” to win the game out of 1000 chairs. It just blown my mind that how creative Japanese people are and how they make the show become intense and exciting by using different items or shenanigans to trick players, and using pop-out Japanese wording to show the excitement or anger when players do not find the real chair.

Somehow, I found some of the players were overreacting. I don’t know if they did that purposely or for humour, when they fell down from a fake chair, they just kept yelled “Itai,itai, itai”, which means it hurts. The facial expression of different players are different. Seems like comedians were trying to be “Funny”, even they know the chair is shenanigan, they just sit down and get tricked. The characters of Japanese people are quite obvious, such idols need to be like an “idol”, pretty, lovely image, while actor and actress try to gain more fame by being brave in the show. The industry of tv show in Japan seems to be “Funny or Brave to win”.

Person for Rent Industry Autoethnographic Response

Myself, Charmaine, Jack and Ash investigated the industry of renting people to be platonic friends to play the roles of family members, wedding guests or just someone to hang out with on a Saturday. The industry is very large in Japan and China as a result of social pressures for girls especially to have a boyfriend in Asian culture and saving face issues. People can earn a lot of money renting out their friendship services and the idea has reached the US and Australia with many websites available for people to employ people to be their friend.Here is a link to our digital artifact with all of the info and insights into this awesome industry.

https://prezi.com/embed/736vvudrxbcl/?bgcolor=ffffff&lock_to_path=0&autoplay=0&autohide_ctrls=0&landing_data=bHVZZmNaNDBIWnNjdEVENDRhZDFNZGNIUE43MHdLNWpsdFJLb2ZHanI5bHpDamN0SmhSbmxZRThPVTZuU3g5cHV3PT0&landing_sign=zdcWwgzQ845O4IDTQrilAW6n0tvlAAsV_aT95UEplao

 

 

An introduction to my individual project investigating Bitcoin in China

Hi everyone!

My digital artifact is a Prezi which provides an overview and introduction to my individual research project investigating the Bitcoin phenomenon in China.

You can check it out here:

https://prezi.com/gvzhhgpzuoze/digc330-assessment-2-an-introduction-to-my-project-investigating-bitcoin-in-china/

Viewing myself on an Asian dating show

In my previous post, I proposed my individual project of examining Asian culture through dating shows and recorded my initial thoughts and assumptions of these shows, specifically, If You Are The One, a Chinese dating show where one man attempts to impress 24 women. To delve deeper into the understanding of this culture, I’m now attempting to reflect upon, analyse and interpret this experience within its broader sociocultural context using an autoethnographic research approach.

Chang observes that the uniqueness of autoethnography comes from the way it “transcends mere narration of self to engage in cultural analysis and interpretation”, setting it apart from things such as memoirs and autobiography. It is not about focusing on just self, but finding understanding of others through understanding your own assumptions and beliefs. For my project, I am not focusing on my own dating experience; I am finding an understanding of Asian culture by using my own experiences as reference and context.

My first reaction to the dating show was pure shock and humour. If I envision myself in the position of the audience members, I would see myself rooting for one of the girls, or picture myself dating the man on offer. But instead, from my own perspective, all I could do was laugh. The reasoning behind why the women didn’t want the man seemed so far-fetched and unusual to me and when the first contestant began performing their talent to win over the other, I froze, wide-eyed and whispered …. What the shit am I watching?

This is entirely indicative of a Western, single, young woman mindset who has never considered some of the things these people considered when it comes to dating such as children and whether my family would be ashamed, or whether their hair is too short so he looks too bad …

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Vast outlines critical cultural differences between Asian and the West dating. He explains one of the main points to be that Asian women are interested in guys who genuinely make them feel liked since they are often considered to be insecure. He explains this to come from the fact that “Asian girls focus on how much you care about them, and want to stay with them, because they don’t have the same financial security and earning opportunities as Western women do”. Moua adds to these differences, stating that family values are very important in Asian dating, “women are often introduced to eligible men through their parents’ mutual contacts and are expected to be married [between 22-24]. The parents of the eligible singles often [screen] the other person before deciding if they should start contacting one another.” As such, Asian women look for a man who will please her parents and would provide a family for her soon. Moua continues that public affection is something that Asian couples are expected to avoid – “being seen in public together is often enough for a man and woman to be recognized as a couple.” This is entirely different to Western dating, where affection is often a key point in the relationship.

These stereotypes and dating norms were prevalent in my first reaction to If You Are The One, highlighting the tendency to unconsciously relate to any text we consume by viewing it in the context of our own culture and experiences. Even though I previously did not have a lot of knowledge with Asian dating norms, seeing them so starkly compared to what I am used to has bridged a connection and understanding in under an hour.

To conduct further research on Western match-making, I shamefully reopened my old Tinder conversations to see what kinds of things were talked about first, similarly to an episode of the show. Usually, the conversation began with some cringe-worthy pickup line or comment on appearances, followed by the standard questions like what I do with my life and what my weekend entails. When I compare this to the Asian dating show, similarities do surface like the job questions and the judgement of appearances. However, I am yet to see the use of a pickup line throughout the show and there are definitely no inappropriate sexual comments which are way too common on Tinder 😦

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An interesting point I noticed on a recent episode of If You Are The One, was that a woman instantly turned off her light for an American man and justified this by saying that her family would never approve. From my perspective, interracial dating would never be an issue. But when statistics are considered, 88.8% of Chinese men marry Chinese women, and 79.9% of Chinese women marry Chinese men (source: Le). This, again, creates a difference between Western and Asian culture, understood from an autoethnographic standpoint.

After researching further into Asian dating culture and viewing more episodes of a show that is very similar to that with which Australian people readily consume, I understand more that it is naïve to just brush Asian dating norms off as strange and accept that I would never behave the same way that some Asian people do during dating, because there are actually dense similarities between us. Our context and history has changed certain behaviours, but underlying all these talent and dating shows, there is a culture of appearance judgement and considering how all aspects of your own life would fit with the other person’s life: it is just that these Asian people often live a very different life.

As such, autoethnography has allowed me to grasp an understanding of Asian culture by understanding and examining my own biases and experiences to filter out similarities and differences between the two cultures. I have found that my continual viewing of If You Are The One, has changed slightly where I strangely enough now try to consider myself from an Asian woman’s standpoint to try and guess whether the woman will choose the man or not. It is surprisingly more entertaining. Stay Tuned.