This week’s blog is about Hi Score Girl which is a Japanese anime series, and I will focus on the Japanese game industry and aspects of Japanese education with Autoethnographic ways. Hi Score Girl highlights Japanese games that include video games and amusement arcades, and I found its theme which is the importance of communication and effects of the family environment.
When I attended Live-tweeting, I realised that it was difficult to find cultural differences unlike 3 previous films because I have a Japanese background. What other people feel strange, funny, interesting for something might be familiar to me already so Live-tweeting activity gave me a new sense of what Japanese culture is. I believe writing about Japanese culture is related to performance ethnography which is defined as “performance ethnography is a way of acting on the world in order to change it” (Norman 2003).
When I watched the first 3 episodes, I found there are many typical scenes that can represent Japanese culture such as the fighting games at the amusement arcade. As this article introduces the Japanese arcades, it is common that people are enthusiastic to play games and they have a long history to build today’s game industry. CNN posted one article that quoted how the Japanese game industry influenced other countries. It said, “Without the contributions of Japan, we wouldn’t have a video game industry”. I could acknowledge this fact by others’ tweeting. There were many tweets that talked about how they experienced fighting games, and some of them have been to Japan. What the Japanese pop culture represents is an essential theme to write this blog post but I would like to focus on another theme that delivers their messages to the audience.
There are two main characters in the first 3 episodes at the Hi Score Girl, which are Haruo who loves playing games and gets low grades at his elementary school, and Ono who is an honor student and loves playing games. The anime unfolds how those different types of people communicate with only one common point. When I talk about the point, I should put my personal experience in order to make my argue meaningfully, and this approach is part of ethnography that is defined as “The ethnographer works back and forth between the contexts and situations of lived experience and the representations of those experiences” (Norman 2003).
The two main characters got closer as they got to know each other and it was revealed that Ono lived a cramped life due to strict education by her parents. Her family was illustrated as a rich family and her parents forced her to do after school activities. When I saw this scene, I remembered some Japanese typical style that I personally do not want to accept. It is common that Japanese parents educate their children strictly and people really care about how smart their children are. I can give one episode that I have experienced before. When I was a junior high school student, mothers always talked about their children’s friends’ school grades and they liked to assess someone’s grades. This happened by one stereotype that students who get high grades are best so parents want their children to be smart.
In addition to this stereotype, Shintaro, Yukio, & Ryo (2018) mentioned that while there are exceptional, Japanese education does not target low-income families. When Ono was forced to do many additional lessons can support this sentence as well as my experience. I remembered how children who are put into much pressure to be smart feel uncomfortable because it is difficult to show their feelings and what they want to do so I really feel sorry for her.
On the other hand, although Haruo did not notice Ono’s situation, he saved her life by talking to her equally without any prejudices, which made her released by her boring days. I think there was an intent to tell what is important and what can make friendships at those scenes. While this analysis that education is not the most priotised thing differs from academic sources that I mentioned above, that is why I write this blog. As Cohen (2012) experienced and described, not all experiences can follow the facts that are academically proven so talking about your own experiences can contribute to the situations.
Cohen, E. (2012). Flooded: An Auto-Ethnography of the 2011 Bangkok Flood. ASEAS – Austrian Journal of South-East Asian Studies, 5(2), 316-334. viewed 28 August 2020
Norman K. Denzin (2003) Performing [Auto] Ethnography Politically, The Review of Education, Pedagogy & Cultural Studies, 25:3, 257-278, DOI: 10.1080/10714410390225894, viewed 28 August 2020
Shintaro, Y, Yukio, A, & Ryo, K 2018, ‘How does early childcare enrollment affect children, parents, and their interactions?’, Labour Economics, vo.55, viewed 28 August 2020, <https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0927537118300885>