Analysing a process or affair with an autoethnographic research method establishes the effect that one’s background and personal life can have on a cultural experience. This research method has been applied to students experiencing Asian culture in digital and non digital means over the most recent semester of the University course, Digital Asia.
Recently, as a student studying this subject, Webtoon was recommended in a seminar by a peer as an interesting realm of Asian online culture. This lead to my interest and involvement in the website. I had no prior knowledge of the website but after this event, I read approximately 5 Webtoons a week. Mostly under the romance genre. As I state in the video, I enjoyed simplistic nature of the website, in regard to navigating around it and discovering new comics. Another large reason for my interest is the artwork in different Webtoon’s and how each one has a different design.
My Digital Artefact is a Youtube video documenting my experience immersing myself in Korean culture, attempting to create an effective and innovating Webtoon. The creation process only involved writing a story, character development and Webtoon design in a non-digital form. This was a result of my lack of skills in Photoshop, which is also explained in the video.
Analysing the video, with an auto ethnographic research methodology requires the acknowledgment of my personal experience with Asian culture before the taking Digital Asia this semester. Firstly, using the autobiography process, which is my past experiences. I visited Japan for one month over winter at 18 years old, staying in Osaka, Kyoto and Tokyo. I was immersed in Asian culture on this trip and enjoyed it very much. Travelling with my cousins who know the language was a great help and drew me even closer to the people and places I visited.
Assessing the ethnography process, which is a cultures beliefs, religions, ideologies and shared experiences. A niche within the online realm of Digital Asia is the website, WEBTOON. The website acts as a free online comic book shop, created originally in Korea, staying predominantly within Korean culture until gaining international recognition with advanced developments in smart phone technology. Within Korean book sales, comic books account for one quatre. Therefore webtoons accessibility, simplistic layout and wide variety of comics and genres has obtained over 10 million free users and 3 million paid users worldwide.
According to C. Ellis (Auto-ethnography: An Overview, 2011) the most common topic that auto ethnographers explore is “epiphanies”. This refers to cultural experiences that occur in one’s life that have made a significant impact on it. I believe the holiday I to Japan and experiencing the culture through food, music and art is an epiphany for me. This definitely changed how I viewed and perceived many different Asian cultures and is why I am so open to the ideas and storylines portrayed in different Webtoons, regardless of the content being strange and different in comparison to westernised comics.
The autoethnographic research method is a socially conscious and political way of researching, examining one’s background and how this applies to their personal experience within a culture. I believe that this is an effective and innovative way to analyse how one reacts to and experiences other cultures.
Ellis, C., Adams, T.E., and Bochner, A.P. (2011) ‘Autoethnography: An Overview‘, Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 12:1. Available at: http://www.qualitative-research.net/index.php/fqs/article/view/1589/3095