Revisiting Autoethnography


Given my thoughts and assumptions in my original post I thought it best I do some research and revisit the concept of autoethnography, just like a distant aunt every year, in relation to Gojira (1954). Upon revisiting my original thoughts, I have realised that there will still be a lot of assumptions that I make given that I don’t actually live in the cultural or historical context of the media text given the co-mingling of reading/texts and the culture itself (Wall, S. 2015). Although in discovering this, I also realised that there is no right or wrong way to undertake autoethnographic research as long as one is immersed enough in the specific cultural experience that is being studied. In relation to my original viewing of Gojira, I don’t believe I undertook the research in a negative light, although I blinded myself to social, cultural and historical context of the text as I didn’t allow myself the fully appreciate the context it was set nor research the era and social contexts of the text before or afterwards.

The first thing I noticed when revisiting the text and my original thoughts was the vast amount of Hollywood cinematic features that appear in the text, although Japanese and American cinema can usually be quite different; the most obvious being the love triangle between Ogata, Serizawa & Emiko. Although the Japanese are very affectionate people, they show it more often towards family members than they do to a significant other, usually in the form of a formal bow, which is traditionally Japanese, instead of a kiss or a hug or loving embrace (Ash, D. 2010). This poses the question as to whether the story was adapted to suit a broader Hollywood audience or whether it existed in other Japanese media. Upon further research, I noticed “Hollywood” love triangle exist in many anime story line such as that of School Rumble (2010)and Skip Beat! (2008).

Another theme that I was first confused about at first and eventually overlooked, was the concern and dangers of nuclear weapons throughout the film. As I began to search good ole Google as to the possible connection with this and the contextual environment surrounding Japan at the time, I realised that it was not longer after the devastating affects of World War II, 9 years in fact (good one, Todd). As autoethnography discusses, this is the very core to autoethnographic research – a personal research method that analyses and describes ones personal experience with a subject, regardless of the way it is presented (Ellis, et al. 2011, so my original findings were not necessarily ethnographic research, but they were definitely autoethnographic in terms of recording my experience with the text. This posts provides the ethnographic concept with further research and an elaboration of my original autoethnographic research experience.


Having originally viewed the text in a completely contextually closed mind, I missed vital connections with real world events and social contexts of which had happened or were happening in Japanese culture at the time, and still continue today. Further delving into the context and researching to understand the relevance of many factors in the film, it is easier to understand the important of autoethnographic research and the necessity in order to understand different cultures. Relying upon autoethnographic research alone, though, is a risky task, especially given what I have discussed above and the quite obvious parallel of Godzilla (the monster) representing America in the Second World War and the directors use of displaying Japans lone fight, as was mentioned in many peers posts. Further research in order to develop thoughts further or to support claims and assumptions is essential to understand texts adequately and without completely relying on ones self-research methods (autoethnography).

T O D D 


Ellis, C., Adams, T.E., and Bochner, A.P. (2011) ‘Autoethnography: An Overview‘, Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 12:1. accessed 12/8/16

Ash, D. 2010. Japanese Style Affection Vs. Western Style Affection, The Japan Guy. Accessed 22/8/2016 >

Wall, S. 2015. An Autoethnography on Learning About Autoethnography, International Institute for Qualitative Methodology (IIQM). University of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Accessed 22/8/2016 >

One comment

  1. Its really interesting how you mentioned the features of Hollywood that have been brought in to the text. While watching Gojira, I was centered on the differences to familiarity of Hollywood. Completely overlooking the ways in which it was similar. I also wonder what it would be like without the features mentioned – no love triangles or emotional affection.To be honest I didnt see the necessity of such scenes. However I am sure there are multiple accomodations made in order to appease to an international market. It would be a great further analysis of the film to assess this influence and narrow done other features that originate from Hollywood. I also particularly like your constant inclusion to what Autoethnography is.


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