Author: corey517153279037

Hierarchy and Education

For this week’s blog, I thought to look to see what older manga’s had been turned into live-action dramas. I came across Great Teacher Onizuka (GTO) written by Tooru Fujisawa, which ran from 1997 – 2002 as a manga. Not having read either the manga or seen the anime adaption I did not know what it was about other then I had heard the term GTO before.

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The live-action drama that I watched was from 2012. GTO tells a story about how an idealistic 22yr old teacher that has complete disregard for the foundations of Japans educational system earns the trust of his students, which all have at least one psychosocial issue either from bullying by other students to pressures from parents or others to succeed. The whole series Onizuka walks a tightrope solving each students issues as his methods are ridiculous and repeatedly dangerous.

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As an educator, Onizuka is hard to defined by educational ideologies at best he fits under liberalism values but will just as quickly switch to anarchism (O’Neill, W.F 1981;). While his character is very evocative and made me feel for the student’s as they grow and face the challenges in their lives, I was always under the impression that he doesn’t represent a normal teacher in Japan because his supporting cast of teachers are very much represents what I know from other research about educators in Japan which is a form of Ellis’s layered accounts (ELLIS, 2004;).

Vice-principal Hiroshi Uchiyamada is one of my favourite characters in the series he is an epitome of Japan’s workforce hierarchy who fears being fired and will sacrifice his quality of life for financial gain. Uchiyamada in my mind represents the average Japanese worker. While Onizuka represents liberalism in GTO Uchiyamada is the other side of the coin conservatism. Even though he works under the director whos views trend liberal before an issue with the students is resolved his opinion is treated as correct, which is mainly conforming students which will groom them to not question the existing social hierarchy (Sieg, 2016;).

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Uchiyamada at the start resents the student body of the school, he wants the school to be prestige with students that operate to his ideals. Any that don’t are utter trash in his words, when he says that in the series it had me comparing teachers I’ve had. While I doubt I was every teacher’s favourite student I’d have a very hard time thinking of them thinking of students as complete trash unworthy of attending school. I have friends who work in public schools and while I’ve heard stories of scenes similar to GTO I’ve never heard them talk of their students as trash. I see Uchiamada as viewing the present-day youth as worse than his generation and things have changed, not for the better. He holds educational fundamentalism to such high standard at the start of the series and he made me want to hate him, with his taking credit for Onizuka’s victories. Lucky his views are changed in the end and he risks everything to protect those very students that he called trash and casting off the views that represent what Japan’s educational system which in real life I think wouldn’t happen.

O’Neill, W.F. 1981. Educational ideologies. Santa Monica: Goodyear Publishing Company.

Ellis, Carolyn; Adams, Tony E. & Bochner, Arthur P. (2010). Autoethnography: An Overview [40 paragraphs]. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 12(1), Art. 10, http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs1101108.

Linda Sieg. (2016). Secrecy, hierarchy haunt Japan corporate culture despite Abe’s reforms. Available: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-japan-corporategovernance/secrecy-hierarchy-haunt-japan-corporate-culture-despite-abes-reforms-idUSKCN0XT222. Last accessed 29/8/19

Akira a tale of how Japanese society rebuilt itself.

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Akira is a Japanese manga that was created by Katsuhiro Otomo that was later developed into an animated film in 1988 it depicts a post-apocalyptic cyberpunk Tokyo that is rampant with violence, corruption and Japanese citizens lost looking in all directions for some semblance of future.

Understanding that my views have already been sculped “Researchers do not exist in isolation” (ELLIS, 2004; ) I knew going into viewing Akira that certain aspects of the plot in my mind would be drastically different to others. Recently studying the globalisation of Japan I already had the hidden undertones of the movie replicating post-WW2 japan’s struggle and then massive growth in my mind.

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“Consequently, when we conduct and write research, we implicate others in our work.”(ELLIS, 2004; ) a small subtle culture cue that I’ve earnt in my Japanese studies is the difference between Honne 本音 (a person’s true feelings) and tatemae 建前 (the behaviour and opinions one displays in certain circles or public) this is displayed extensively in the film whether it’s how Kaori situate herself amongst here pears and acts with Tetsuo, Kei reactions to Kaneda’s advances or even how the Colonel treats or speaks to Tetsuo. The examples are abundant of how a character may act or say but that’s not what they really want to say or act.

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This leads me to express my problems with this viewing of Akira while dubbing makes a movie more palatable for a western audience over subtitles. I have seen this movie already and in its original language which I much prefer. I felt that dubbing it ruins the expressive emotions that the original language has why else would we read Shakespeare in old English otherwise, but I am a studying Japanese. So while the translation may be correct and the editing on an animation may resync the animations to the dialogue. Conversations and the nuance of the script are lost or changed when dubbing or even subbing did you know that the word “you” is hardly used in Japanese. Conversations in Akira sound more like voice actors preforming lines in a studio without the lines recipient there and then the responses to those lines don’t have the same emotional tone or emphasis as they originally would. While Autoethnography is how to “systematically analyze personal experience” (ELLIS, 2004; ) what your trying to understand is another’s culture and when that product of their culture has been changed dramatically to make it easier for you to view is it still expressing the original culture?

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Ellis, Carolyn; Adams, Tony E. & Bochner, Arthur P. (2010). Autoethnography: An Overview [40 paragraphs]. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 12(1), Art. 10, http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs1101108.

Personal response to The Host (2006)

image provided by letterboxd.com
Ok so before I can review my experience of Bong Joon-ho’s The Host 2006, I must say I’m not a horror fan. I find horror movies to be unimaginative and end one of two ways generally with total tragedy or survivors’ guilt. Granted I’ve never watched a Korean horror film or tweeted about it while watching but studying Japanese makes me no stranger to subtitles.

During the film, I found it not hard to keep up with the plot even though my head was buried in my phone tweeting during non-action scenes. It’s a horror monster film, not Sophie’s Choice someone creates a monster, the monster goes on a rampage, survivors run from the monster till monster is defeated.

Bong Joon-ho’s depicts the US military as an abusive authority that for the most part just gets in the way of everyone and says some of the weirdest or blunt English lines in a non-English film, is that how they see us? Whether that is by design to present America in an unsavoury light and make the viewer’s opinion match his own or not only Bong Joon-ho could say. All I know is every time an America was onscreen; I was annoyed by their hubris or male-bravado. The monster in The Host is meant to be scary but is equally silly for the most part. I found it hard to accept as real when its 2006 CG was nowhere believable and isn’t even anywhere on par with Spielberg’s 1993 dinosaurs which all CG in live-action should have as their standard.

Furthermore, to my understanding, all males in Korea go through some form of military service which you would think had medical training but every time someone is injured or the appearance of death, those coming to the rescue just violently shake them to see if they’re alive.

One thing I found impressive about The Host was the ambience, if it was by the director’s choice or just the natural weather patterns in Korea at the time of filming the rain sounds greatly added to my enthralment in scenes or the streets of Korea, I felt like I was there. Culturally I don’t know much about Korean’s and Korean families but based on the film family is important, enough to risk everything for which I guess is the main point of Bong Joon-ho’s The Host.

By Corey Moore