Tekken Esports – Daniel Lazarus And Jason Gooding

What is Tekken? Tekken is a fighting game series that was originally released in 1994. The premise of the games is that A King of Iron Fist Tournament is hosted by Mishima Zaibatsu Corporation. The prize being control of the company which allows them to hold the next tournament. The game focuses on a Mishima Clan Curse which begins when Heihachi Mishima throws his son Kazuya Mishima from a cliff, which he survives because of the “Devil Gene”. Kazuya then swore his revenge to his father through the King of Iron Fist Tournament.

There are A lot of other background stories that connect each of the fighters with each other and can be unlocked through the completion of the arcade mode with each character.

Esports or Electronic Sports is a form of competition through electronic systems such as video games. Most common forms of eSports are multiplayer video game competitions which are most commonly, real-time strategy, first person shooter, fighting games and multiplayer online battle arenas.  Although the Fighting game community often displaces themselves away from eSports lables they still fall under that lable.

Depressing Autoethnography

 

The concept behind this piece is to analyse the effectiveness of creating a more authentic auto ethnographic environment using depressants such as alcohol to induce a “Flow” state. The experiment was, as a whole, a success. Breaking down social barriers helped everyone involved give more authentic reactions to the stimulus.

All three subjects were well versed in auto ethnographic concepts and methods, which helped in creating a more analytical video. However the introduction of alcohol in tot he equation, though instrumental to the research, pushed the spectrum of auto ethnography closer to an un-acedemic “Reaction Video”.

If I was to re-attempt the experiment, I would add a mediator to assist in the academic self-analysis of our reactions as opposed to acting purely on free will. a more structured environment, paired with the “liberation” of the depressant would greatly increase the quality of the auto-ethnographic study.

References:

House. (1977). [film] Japan: Nobuhiko Ôbayashi.

ELLIS, Carolyn; ADAMS, Tony E.; BOCHNER, Arthur P.. Autoethnography: An Overview. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research, [S.l.], v. 12, n. 1, nov. 2010. ISSN 1438-5627. Available at: <http://www.qualitative-research.net/index.php/fqs/article/view/1589/3096>. Date accessed: 26 oct. 2016.

Traveling The Stars: Action Bronson & Friends Watch Ancient Aliens. (2016). [film] Viceland: Arian Asllani.

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>

Chinese Social Media: A first look

I was unable to present in the past three weeks so I went ahead and made a short video instead! I really hope I didn’t pronounce anything wrong! But I know you’ll all scream at me in the comments if I do.

Thanks for watching guys!

References:

Yu, L., Asur, S. and Huberman, B.A., 2011. What trends in Chinese social media. arXiv preprint arXiv:1107.3522.

Chiu, C., Ip, C. and Silverman, A., 2012. Understanding social media in China. McKinsey Quarterly, 2(2012), pp.78-81.

Bamman, D., O’Connor, B. and Smith, N., 2012. Censorship and deletion practices in Chinese social media. First Monday, 17(3).

Re-Grudge

When I watched this movie for the first time, I was truly going in blind (despite what I told myself), with nothing more than a Hollywood knockoff as reference. This time around, I knew what I was in for and could take a step back from my immediate reactions and experience it in a way that allowed me to develop a contextual analysis. After reading through the autoethnographic literature I was planning to reference, I feel like I knew how to tackle this more analytically and thoroughly.

After re-reading my first impressions of Ju-On (2004) in my first blog post, I feel like I focused quite a bit on the fragmented and non-linear storyline, the characters and the ending. I could definitely follow along the chapters actively this time around by making a conscious effort to remember the names and having a rough idea of how they related to each other. To analyze (Ellis 2011) why I couldn’t initially determine the relationships between the characters, I do think the reason was due to the cultural and/or ethnic difference in affection, tone of voice and the names they called each other. For example, at the beginning everyone referred to the elderly woman as ‘ma’ so I couldn’t figure out who’s mum it actually was. I didn’t have these problems in the remake which was most likely due to the American protagonist – despite her Japanese surroundings. Unpacking this further, I came across a slightly derogatory but acceptable Japanese label for foreigners, ‘Gaijin’, that essentially means “outsiders” (Mike, 2014). This tied back into Alsop’s (p. 129, 2002) theme I referred to in my last post regarding becoming an outsider both in your own and in the new culture once you leave home. I do remember thinking it was odd how out of place Sarah M G’s character appeared – so maybe that was something to do with Gaijin?

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After doing a little research into the Ju-On franchise I found that there is a novelization of the movies that explain the origin of the grudge much better than the movie does in my opinion;

[An] extremely shy and introverted young lady, Kayako … marries a sadistic man, Takeo who has a … low sperm count (oligospermia). Despite this condition, the couple have a child 7-y/o son, Toshio who has witnessed his father kill his mother. The doctor failed to explain … that a man suffering from oligospermia can be a father. Enraged with jealousy, Takeo tortures and kills Kayako while Toshio, fearing for his life, is hiding in the attic.

(Unknown Author, 2010)

Unpacking this storyline further, I discovered this Japanese curse called Onryō which the film was based on that I was unfamiliar with. Hume (2014) describes them as ‘female ghosts who suffered at the hands of their lover … [who] dwell in the physical world seeking vengeance on those who wronged them’. I think maybe if I had a Japanese background or more knowledge of the culture and this phenomenon, the storyline would have made more sense to me at face value. Anderson (2006) reinforces this. He outlines how the knowledge and experience of others to expand the knowledge of self within autoethnography (p. 383) and I do feel as though I am not as culturally aware as I thought I was. Stereotypes that are perpetuated through advertising and bred through colloquial conversation resonate with me more than I anticipated.

Ellis (2011) mentions how autoethnographers encounter epiphanies throughout their research. One such epiphany I had while watching was that there were very similar entities that appeared in other Hollywood films (e.g. Gothika, What Lies Beneath, etc.). It got me wondering if these too were inspired from Onryō?

At the end of this experience, I feel like I definitely have a better insight to a culture I was not too familiar with. In between both viewings of the movie I was compelled to look into this culture because of things that occurred to me, things I misunderstood or questions I had. I feel like this improved my autoethnographic approach to in because the first viewing really was my personal, first-hand experience and autobiographical recount of it, whereas the second viewing gave me an opportunity to refer to this recount with an ethnographical framework.

I think I’ll watch it again tonight.

 

References:

The culture of Japanese cooking and culinary through the ‘Cooking with Dog’ Series

Group Assignment by Natalie Austin, Chris Boyd & Renee Schwarze

reneeschwarze

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Natalie:

Cooking with dog was born in 2010 after its producer returned from LA where he spent years working in the film and TV industry. He wanted to continue working in this field and found that he loved using English to promote Japanese culture.

Japanese cooking shoes or washoku are traditionally presented by men. The univocal types of men showcased in traditional Japanese cooking shows embody three elements – authority, power and possession.

Traditionally, If women want to compete, they need to embody these too.

However, cooking with dog’s host, simply known as Chef, is a timid, sometimes awkward, non-vocal host. This is where Dog comes into the show. He is a poodle named Francis who provides confidence to Chef as well as narrating the show in English.

His voice is actually a Japanese man, speaking English doing a French accent; which, as you can imagine is quite hard to understand…

View original post 1,250 more words

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>

The original grudge

When brainstorming the endless possibilities I might have pursued for this assignment, I found myself being quite overwhelmed. This was because there were so many unknown facets of the culture for me, and that I also couldn’t decide what interested me the most. I ended up revisiting my old friend; the horror movie. There was a time where going to blockbuster to pick a scary film proved rather difficult with me because I had seen them all! This was part of why I decided this would be a perfect topic of authoethnographic research for this project. Not only this, I discovered when I started going through the names of the movies I thought I had seen, I had not seen one original Japanese horror movie. I was planning to watch the original and compare it to the Hollywood remake, however I decided since I had already seen the Hollywood remakes (a long time ago), I would rather see whether I followed the plot as well as I did and decide which one translated horror the best. I only wanted to do one movie/franchise in the end because they’re all so different and it didn’t seem to make sense in comparing an entire genre. I settled on my favorite Ju On (2004), also known as The Grudge.

ju-on-2003

Fun fact: There is another movie from this franchise that was released last year called The Grudge: The Final Curse (2015). I learnt this when I accidentally downloaded that version instead of the original…

These were some of my initial thoughts when watching Ju On (2004) for the first time:

  • Language barrier/not in English
  • While there was a central storyline, there was no protagonist apart from the grudge herself
  • The movie was divided into chapters
  • The beginning was extremely graphic – I was not prepared
  • It was very difficult for me to identify relationships between characters as the body language and dialogue is quite different
  • The origin and meaning of the grudge was terribly explained in the end I thought. I ended up researching for quite a while to find what it was/if it was the same as the Hollywood version.

One of the hardest things for me to follow in this movie was the fragmented storyline. It took me a long time to figure out how the characters related to each other on their correlating storylines as well as what point in time on the storyline it was. I felt like it jumped back and forwards quite a bit. I really enjoy movies that challenge me to keep up, ensuring that I’m paying attention, but this was much more difficult. I struggled because I only realized about half way through the movie that the chapter titles were the names of the central characters of that chapter. This led me to begin piecing together the relationships and filling in holes within the chapter storyline with clues from other storylines.­

When it came time for the big reveal at the ending – a much anticipated explanation – I found myself severely unsatisfied. I think in this case, the over-explained American version answered a lot more of the questions I had and developed the storyline a little deeper than the original did. I felt like it ended up being quite repetitive in each chapter while still not giving any more info as to why the wife and her child terrorize anyone associated with the house. For my next blog post, I’ll be re-watching Ju On (2004) while trying to take it in at face value with a little more knowledge rather than as a foreign movie. This time around, assumptions I’ve made, things I wasn’t aware of, questions that remained unanswered and things I didn’t pick up on will be avoided and I’ll be able to critically analyse this text autoethnographically.

To revisit the concept of autoethnography, let’s bring up that juicy quote;

 “Autoethnography is an approach to research and writing that seeks to describe and systematically analyze (graphy) personal experience (auto) in order to understand cultural experience (ethno)” (Ellis et al. 2011).

To influence my methodology in my next post, I’ll be using this goodie, as well as texts from Christiane K Alsop and Leon Anderson to reference alternative autoethnographic literature. Alsop (p. 129, 2002) explores a theory of an individual leaving home to explore/travel and becoming an outsider in both ‘here’ and ‘there’ because they indirectly offend home by searching for something more and they are foreign in the new land. I wonder how this applies to different countries remaking movies and/or people preferring a cultural genre of film; such as Japanese Horror? Anderson (p. 380, 2006) outlines how ‘autoethnographers must orient … to documenting and analyzing as well as to purposely engaging in it’. I’ll be rewatching Ju-On (2004) for sure to guarantee I conduct the autoethnography in said manner correctly.

 

References:

  • Alsop, Christiane K. (2002) Home and Away: Self Reflexive Auto-/Ethnography’, Forum Qualitative Social Research 3:3.
  • Anderson, Leon 2006, Analytic Autoethnography, Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, Vol. 35, No. 4, pp. 373-393.
  • Ellis, C., Adams, T.E., and Bochner, A.P. (2011) ‘Autoethnography: An Overview’, Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 12:1.

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