Akira, an autoethnographic approach.

Original Post can be found here.

The term Auto-ethnography is not a new construct for me as I have completed assessments on this method in other subjects. This meant coming into BCM 320, was probably the first time I knew what was going on which is an amazing feeling.

Ellis et al (2011) defines an Auto-ethnography as “an approach to writing and researching that seeks to describe and systematically analyse personal experiences to further understand cultural experience.” (p. 1).

My interpretation of this is: How does my background; including values, cultures, and beliefs, etc. create an interpretation and ideology towards the way in which I view and understand other cultures. Auto-ethnography’s allow’s for personal experiences to create a framework, expanding and opening up a wider lens on the world. This approach challenges canonical ways of doing research and representing others (Ellis et al, 2011, p. 2). 

This weeks film in Digital Asia was the 1988 Japanese anime film, Akira. Akira was Directed by Katsuhiro Otomo, who is also famous for such films as Steamboy (2004) and Neo Tokyo (1987).

Screen Shot 2019-08-14 at 9.35.50 am


The film Akira had a budget of 1.1 Billion JPY, and the work is credited as having introduced both manga and anime to Western audiences. This is where for me, Auto-ethnography comes into play.

Watching Anime is new for me, the last type of anime I saw was probably as a 3/4-year-old watching Sailor Moon on Cheese TV.  Because of this, my knowledge and reception towards Anime isn’t the greatest, I just never really got into it. Because of this, watching the film I tried to find links so I could connect to the film, Akira.

One scene that I  resonated with was Tetsuo’s storyline and Stranger things. I noticed other people in my class also picked up on this so I am glad I wasn’t the only one.

Screen Shot 2019-08-14 at 10.20.31 am

I followed this link to discover that this film had a great influence over western society. Eleven from Stranger things and Tetsuo’s character both hold similarities in their worlds they live in. Both characters have great powers after being used in human experimentations.

I then found a connection to Kanye that one of my classmates pointed out on twitter, and made the link to the Japanese anime film Akira and western society.

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                 (Source: Twitter)

How as a culture we are able to find similarities in a film and translate that so we as varying cultures of the world can understand a text. This goes beyond language, political and social cues. For this reason, An auto-ethnography approach on Japanese anime would make a great research project to complete a DA on. When researchers do autoethnography, they retrospectively and selectively write about epiphanies that stem from or are made possible by, being part of a culture and/or by possessing a particular cultural identity. I don’t really like anime, but I can relate and find meaning within it to be able to connect with it more. 



Ellis, C., Adams, T.E., and Bochner, A.P. (2011) ‘Autoethnography: An Overview‘, Forum: Qualitative Social Research, vol. 12, no. 1, pp. 1-12.

Leon, M 2017, ‘Inside Stranger Things: The Duffer Bros. on How They Made the TV Hit of the Summer’, Daily Beast, December 7, viewed August 14 2019, <https://www.thedailybeast.com/inside-stranger-things-the-duffer-bros-on-how-they-made-the-tv-hit-of-the-summer>.

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