Author: montagueblogsite

BCM320 Contextual Essay: My Autoethnographic Investigation into Japanese Horror Films

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Digital Artefact is available here


Contextual Essay

I chose to undertake an autoethnographic investigation on the topic ‘Japanese Horror movies’. I selected this topic because of my own limited experience of Japanese horror movies, and my complicated relationship with American horror movies; as I love the idea of them, but can never watch them in their entirety.

Selecting a field site for my investigation was easy, as when looking for films there were a range of Japanese horror movies available on YouTube with English subtitles. I settled on choosing ‘Kuchisake-onna/Carved: The Slitmouth Woman’ as it had over two million views. I was prepared to watch another Japanese horror if ‘Carved’ was of a poor quality, but after the first five minutes of dialogue and quality cinematic shots I was interested in the story.

To collect my data from the field site I used the layered accounts approach, which Ellis describes…

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BCM320 Digital Artefact: Japanese Horror

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Digital Artefact

‘Japanese Horror|Carved: The Slitmouth Woman Reaction’, is an evocative reaction video with a focus on understanding the Japanese horror film industry.


Background

This was my digital artefact, a 90 minute reaction to the film ‘Carved: The Slitmouth Woman’, edited down into a 10 minute video displaying eye opening commentary and epiphanies about Japanese Horror. Originally I planned to conduct this autoethnographic research by a combination of the layered accounts approach and community autoethnography; using reactions from all my housemates. Conversely, after reflexive thinking instigated by peer responses to my previous blogs, I came to the conclusion that if only I reacted to the film, I’d have the ability to pause it at will, and discuss important aspects of film when necessary. Moreover, my housemates had already experienced many Japanese movies and thus had already unintentionally gone through autoethnographic process.

Epiphanies

During the film I had many important realisations…

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Japanese vs. American Horror Movies: Part 2

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When analysing my narrated experience of my third blog postJapanese vs. American Horror Movies I realised that I’d focused more on what I was going to do with my autoethnographic task and comparing Japanese and American horror films, rather than attempting to understand how my cultural framework influences the way I perceive Japanese horror films. Whilst I needed to cover what I intended to do in my task, there was too much focus on it, and not enough on important topics I failed to cover.

I failed to relate my blog to the Ellis et al and thus couldn’t properly explore the notions of autobiography and ethnography. Whilst I delved into my own history of watching American horror movies and instances in which I found them to be frightening, I didn’t do the same for Japanese horror. Despite my project revolving around how Westerners interpret Japanese horror…

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Japanese vs. American Horror Movies

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I have very long and complicated love hate relationship with horror films.

I feel like they’re fun to watch but at same time I never seem to be able to get through watching the whole film. I still remember my four friends and I as the only ones in the whole cinema as we watched paranormal activity, which is to this date one of the scariest things I’ve ever seen. On the other hand, I love thriller movies that other people find scary, even if they’re overly disturbing and gory. I think this is because it is the theme of the paranormal movies like the conjuring that I find scary to watch.

Comparatively, everything I’ve seen about Japanese horror movies seems to be not that scary. Even if it is paranormal based, the ‘scary scenes’ seems to be somewhat sadistically comedic and jovial. I’m unsure as to if this is…

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Akira’s Significance

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My favourite anime growing up was Dragonball Z (Yes, I am a normie) and it revolved around violence to push forward the plot, however the way in which violence and gore was displayed was through martial arts and energy acts to “stop the bad guy.” Comparatively, Akira displayed an array of physical violence through murdering anti-government rebels, and sexual violence towards Kaori.

Related image

Like I said in my last post, I’ve watched violent anime since I was very young, however Akira was very confronting through resemblance to real world issues. I say this because authoethnography“expands and opens up a wider lens on the world, eschewing rigid definitions” and even from my reference point of anime experience, Akira was unique, confronting, and thought provoking

The general consensus denotes that Akira was a monumental film in the realm of anime and acted as a catalyst in changing both attitudes and funding…

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Gojira

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I’ve personally had a very limited experience of Asian culture.  I was born in Sydney to an Australian father and a Croatian mother which meant that my only experience of Asian culture was watching anime on CheeseTV such as Dragonball Z, Naruto, Pokemon, One Piece, and Yu-Gi-Oh. I didn’t realise until later on that these cartoons were actually dubbed animes.

goku super saiyan GIF

However, how is my 6 year old self watching Goku go Super Saiyan on a Saturday morning at all relevant to my experience of watching Gojira for the first time? I didn’t realise it at the time, but I thought these dubbed animes were actually Western cartoons because it showcased the same moral values you learn growing up in Australia that were in western cartoons aswell. In all these animes there was a recurring theme of sacrifice in return for the greater good.

To my surprise, despite being a dated…

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