Author: olivia4810

I'm a 3rd year at UOW, have a dog love hefty serve of ... crisps





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:

Auto Ethnographic Analysis

My Auto Ethnographic Analysis of Blog Post 3 – JAPANESE IDOLS 

It is quite safe to say my reaction to Japanese Idol culture, which is exhibited in my Blog Post 3, was one of a shocked and somewhat appalled student.

Why did the culture that surrounds Japanese Idols have this effect on me? Why did I take the mistreatment of these people thousands of miles away somewhat personally?

The notion I will focus on draw from Blog Post 3 as an auto-ethnographer, according to the Ellis et al (2011) reading is how my ‘epiphanies’ have shaped my perception and reaction to this culture. This refers to “remembered moments perceived to have significantly impacted the trajectory of a person’s life (BOCHNER & ELLIS, 1992; COUSER, 1997; DENZIN, 1989), times of existential crises that forced a person to attend to and analyse lived experience (ZANER, 2004), and events after which life does not seem quite the same” (Ellis, 2011.)  Earlier in the blog I referenced American teen Idols to draw comparison between these Idols and Japanese Idols. These celebrities were idolised by me in my younger years when I was impressionable and searching for belonging. They are familiar to me and I feel comfort if I am to think of them.

To draw a comparison between something comforting, familiar and warmly nostalgic to me and a culture and movement that I have only learnt about in the last week presents insight into my confused and shocked reaction. The examples I drew to attempt to  outline distinct differences between the two cultures actual reveal quite the opposite. For example, my explanation of Japanese Idol fanbases being “brain washed” and “naive” in a very judgemental tone. Analysing this from an auto-ethnographic stance, my tone was caused by my own naivety. I gave Justin Bieber as an example of Western teen Idols, with the knowledge of this Idols history with fans and cult followings, which is extensive. However I still used this very strong language when sharing my opinion on Japanese Idol fan followings. This could be construed by my failure to accept a culture that is unknown to me although major similarities can be drawn between it and a culture I know very well.

I draw no memories from Japanese Idol culture as I have never had any encounters with it, making it new and strange to me. Perhaps it was my lack of epiphanies that lead to my understanding of this culture to be absurd and foreign.

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





The topic that I’d like to focus on for my auto-ethnographic study in blog post 4 is ….  Japanese IDOLS – a whole movement I had no idea existed before BCM320. Frankly, it’s a little unbelievable and absolutely crazy to me. I feel disconnected and far away from Asia and its culture even more so than what I did before after learning about this. The production and upkeep of Japanese Idols is like a very exaggerated and blown up version of Western culture teen idols.

A 2003 Hilary Duff, a 2011 Justin Bieber or a 2007 Ashley Tisdale. They were all teen Idols that were looked up to and admired by younger fans. I can’t deny that I believe there was media training and image shaping involved to keep up a shiny public performance by these young stars when they were teens. HOWEVER, the culture surrounding Japanese Idols is absurd compared to this.

Hollywoods teen idol creations are nothing at all like Japans. The measures that are taken by supervisors and managers of Japanese and Kpop idols to display them to the media and ultimately the world as young, pure and flawless are extensive and fatal. They’re marketed and manufactured like products to what seems a crazed and quite gullible fan base. They are majorly influential and drive their audiences crazy.

“An idol is a reflection on society, a picture of the ideal Japanese young citizen, and as such their image must be flawless” (JAPANINFO, 2019.)  How is this fair for anyone in this situation besides the suits thats are making millions off them? Brainwashing a young, naive fan base into blindly and obsessively following and worshiping every thing these idols do. What they wear, what they eat, where they go and how they do certain things. It seems like there is an extremely high bar of expectations set by society for these idols not just to strive for but to overtake and stay above in order to keep their career, fans and friends.

Unable to sing about or relate to lyrics that imply anything remotely romantic or sexual as the idols have to be inexperienced in both of these departments to be marketed as pure. If media uncovers news of an idol having a secret relationship their career is over.

AKB48, an insanely popular and successful girl idol group in Japan is an example of this. As of 2018, 134 girls complete this idol group, all of which constantly competing against one another to rise in popularity, ultimately advance their status within the group.

As this is all just a tad twisted and I KNOW Hollywood and the Western music industry isn’t peachy clean when it comes to celebrities and teen idols but Japan is a whole new level and I’m not here for it.


‘Exposing the Dark Side of Being a Japanese Idol and the Japanese Entertainment Industry’, JAPANINFO 2019, FOUND AT <;

The Host – Korean Film

Olivia French

I have never quite indulged in Korean culture or films, which is obvious by my confused reaction to this one. However, I work at a hotel and we get large tour groups of Korean people coming into stay for numerous nights everyday. Through this, the Koreans I have had experiences with are overly polite, nodding and smiling at me as they pass by the reception desk or terribly angry about something in the room, but who knows what because I’m being yelled at in a language I don’t understand.

As for Asia, I visited Vietnam and Cambodia when I was 15 wth my family and spent a month in Japan when I was 18 and fell in love with it. Japan is so rich with culture and reminded me of another dimension where everything lights up and anything can be bought from a vending machine.

Apart from this, I have…

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Watching Akira was an interesting experience for me! I don’t particularly watch Anime … and what I mean by that is I’ve only seen ‘Spirited Away’, like every other Australian millennial that would rather play Nintendogs over Pokemon. The class reacted to the film really well and facts about the Anime film’s background and production process filled the Twitterfeed. I tweeted a couple thoughts that stemmed from my observations. I tweeted that “Katsuhiro Ôtomo’s vision for 2019 is interesting“, which it was. Yet another dystopic portrayal of the “future”, which scarily enough, in this film, is this year. From the films we’ve seen in class, I believe that it is a popular trend in Asian films to present the future as dark, with a ‘post-apocalyptic’ nature. 

Maybe it was just me but I felt like if I spent too much time focusing on tweeting about something that happened in Akira, I wouldn’t pay attention to important dialogue or plot points and had to catch up by reading the plot online. It is not a movie, in which, you can lazily fall in and out of following and still understand exactly what is happening. There are a lot of characters and a lot of things happening all the time. In saying that, the motorbike scenes where very entertaining, who doesn’t love a ‘Fast and the Furious’ element to a movie! (Don’t worry, I’m aware of how white I sound.) I did mention this in my tweets aswell. “Kaneda defies gravity flying off and onto motorbikes #BCM320 . Very visually stimulating!” 

In other news in BCM320/this blog, the class must display their understanding of an auto ethnographic methodology. According a to Ellis, Adams and Bochner it is a form of research “that seeks to describe and systematically analyse personal experience in order to understand cultural experience” (2011).

To my understanding this is methodology in which the cultural, political, social and personal background of a person performing research on a topic is all considered and noted in the findings and results.

It is the combination of:

Autobiography – an account of ones personal experience.
Ethnograph – observations found through ethnographic research methods.

“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”  (Ellis et al. 2011). This is an efficient way to collect data, however requires the researcher to be completely open about the elements of their life that may have affected the data they accumulated.

Ellis C, Adams T E, & Bochner A P 2011, ‘Autoethnography: An Overview’, Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 12:1 <>