AKIRA

It’s not often i am put in a context where i am able to watch a movie i already love, in a genre i adore, at university, to learn, and then get to talk about it. But the stars have aligned and here i am.

Akira is one of the most influential films in existence, it being emulated and imitated in all stretches of popular culture. It is one of the few anime films that form a bridge between Asian and western culture and is one of my all time favourites.

Knowing that we were to be doing this blog post, i have put on my autoethnographic shoes and am…

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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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AKIRA: AN ETHNOGRAPHIC REFLECTION

Emma's Blog

Walking into this weeks seminar, I was a stranger to Japanese anime films so was not sure what to expect from the film. The film became a classic, with a $9 million budget and hitting $49 million in the box office. The film is relatable – always one hero trying to save the world from some sort of corruption and a chaotic government. The Japanese anime film, Akira, intertwined with elements of a westernised culture that I am familiar with. For example, Kanye West, an American rapper and music producer proclaimed his love for the film via twitter and commentary in his music video for his pop hit, ‘Stronger’.

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Over the past three weeks, I have allowed myself to slowly deconstruct the idea of an auto ethnographic approach, making me able to be more self-reflective in understanding many different cultures including my own background.

Ellis et al. (2011), defines auto…

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State of Play – My cultural observation

breakingin

In the coming weeks I will be analysing various films that are produced by and reflective of cultures different from my own. Having an understanding of my personal culture allows for me to interpret why I am receiving and reacting to the alternate culture in a certain way.

Cultural background is a broad term encompassing more than just ethnicity and I believe various sub-cultural groups are large influencers on our cultural identity. My ethnic background consists of Vietnamese on my dad’s side, and Anglo-Celtic Australian on my mum’s side. My upbringing was largely influenced by my Australian side and celebrations, meals and values I have been taught align with my mum’s family.

Other experiences have also shaped my worldview and general perception of situations. My consistent participation in high level women’s soccer has allowed me to strive for equal gendered rights and pay, to value physical health through a balanced…

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Week 3 – Akira

Week 3 blog

Learning through Experiencing

According to Ellis, Autoethnography is “An approach to research and writing that seeks to describe and systematically analyze (graphy) personal experience (auto) in order to understand cultural experience (ethno)” (Ellis, 2004). Now I am sure you have read that definition probably about 100 times over, due to the fact that that’s what the first sentence was in the reading. But hey, hundredth time is a charm, right?

If that definition wasn’t mundane enough for you, here is a Youtube video that talks about the meaning of ethnography in a more in-depth fashion.

Along with Digital Asia, I too have not had a whole lot of experience with autoethnography, so this subject is really out of my comfort zone. But through live-tweeting the movies, I have found that is has led me to have a greater understanding of not only autoethnography but also the concept of Digital Asia. As through live-tweeting…

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Autoethnography via Akira

Allanah Johnson

Today I am going to start off by talking to you about autoethnographic. But first, watch this YouTube video on ‘what is autoethnographic?’.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uIvC0IohRVc

Okay now you’re up to speed with the concept autoethnographic.

Thanks to, ‘Autoethnography: An Overview’, I now understand the concept. This reading explains that autoethnography is a research and writing method that aims to define and evaluate personal experiences systematically to comprehend cultural experience. This strategy questions scriptural methods of doing research and portraying others and regards research as an act of political, socially-justice and social awareness. A research utilizes autobiographical and ethnographic principles to do and write autoethnography.

So, in simple form, “Autoethnography is an approach to research and writing that seeks to describe and systematically analyze (graphy) personal experience (auto) in order to understand cultural experience (ethno)”.

In my UOW subject digital Asia we are being exposed to…

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Akira & Autoethnography

Elizabeth Farley

Akira (1998) is a film that I would not usually go out of my way to watch. Whilst I still do not believe that I would watch it again, I can’t deny that it was a great film. While it is a futuristic film, it isn’t one that focusses on crazy technology or flying cars; it touches on topics such as unethical practices and corruption.

The further I looked into the film, I found that it has had a lot of influences of media now. An article by Daily Beast speaks of how Akira had a huge influence on the making and themes of Strangers Things. It was also very interesting to find that Kanye is also ‘obsessed’ with Akira and it’s themes, so much so that he has said that it is his “biggest creative inspiration”.

Another thing that I found interesting during the film and throughout live-tweeting…

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Akira – Week 3

Normally, I would spend the time writing about the film itself, but through an autoethnographic approach, I’ll instead be reflecting on thoughts I had whilst watching Akira in class this week. The reason I believe in autoethnography’s value is because the concept of “objectivity” is biased towards, as Ellis et al put it, “a White, masculine, heterosexual, middle/upper-classed, Christian, able-bodied perspective.” (Ellis et al 2011) No, the irony of the nuance in objectivity is not lost on me.

This is a tweet that I had made during our live-tweeting session watching Akira. As the tweet states, I was initially going to tweet about the appearance of toxic masculinity in Akira (notably Kaneda and Tetsuo); they refuse to call for help, they seldom show emotion (other than anger or pride) and they seemingly disregard women as anything more than objects and ego-boosters. But as I was tweeting I realised that “I” saw these traits as aggressive and toxic. By making this an “objective statement” that these traits are indeed an example of toxic masculinity, I’m disregarding the nuance of how my own experiences and beliefs have led me to this conclusion. My interactions and experiences living in the US have educated me in ideologies of feminism as an example, and this shapes my own understanding of what “toxic masculinity” is, and how it presents itself. And even then, I need to acknowledge that these ideologies that I’ve learnt about feminism come from a predominantly US, highly educated background; another important layer to take into account. Again, “objectivity” and even the word “scientific” for that matter, is biased towards a certain ideal. 

Another thing to note is that we watched Akira with the English dubs, as opposed to Japanese. I believe it’s worth noting due to the fundamental, structural differences between English and Japanese. As an example, Japanese uses honorifics when addressing people. These honorifics are incredibly nuanced and come in various forms, and they show differing levels of respect and acknowledgement from person to person. There’s no real equivalent in English. Titles like “Mr” or “Mrs” don’t convey the same detail and nuance that Japanese honorifics do, in the same way that Japanese honorifics can’t convey the same detail and nuance that “Mr” and “Mrs” do. Therefore I believe English-only speakers fundamentally cannot understand Akira in the same exact level of detail and nuance that a Japanese person can. Returning to my tweet about toxic masculinity, in the English dub I noted Kaneda and Tetsuo being quite brutish towards the female characters. With the lack of Japanese honorifics being utilised in English, it’s incredibly difficult to see just what kind of a relationship Kaneda and Tetsuo had towards the female characters, and even themselves.

 

Keiden Cheung

Akira: An Ethnographic Reflection

Hey, Honey!

Coming to the screen of Akira, I was prepared. I had a list of discussion points and factual tweets to present, and was ready to engage in the live tweeting session. By bringing preprepared things I’d learnt to the live tweeting session had allowed me to focus more on the film, and engage with my classmates who had discovered the same, or similar concepts that connected to their ethnographic study.

This post aims to describe and ’systemically analyze’ the personal experiences that have shaped my experience and interpretation of the cultural film Akira (1988), and provide an ‘insider’s perspective’, a core component of analytical autoethnography (as determined by Anderson…

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Akira

The film screened this week in BCM320 digital Asia was Akira, a Japanese anime film released in 1988 and directed by Katsuhiro Otomo. Set in 2019, a motorcycle gang in a post-apocalyptic world struggle to protect themselves from the infectious evil of both civilians and political authority in Tokyo.

This was my first real exposure to anime. It was very different from the usual western cartoons I am familiar with. I associate these colourful moving pictures with my childhood and innocence, but Akira definitely challenged my views. It was a much more mature film regarding its underlying messages in comparison to the Western culture cartoons I have consumed.

Live-tweeting this tutorial sparked more interesting conversations than the previous week. The film’s plot I feel brought scary realities into play. The depictions of a furious, corrupt, power-driven world can definitely be seen amongst certain hierarchies in society.

For me, a futuristic film focused on the elements of such mature themes such as political power and violence rather than new technological inventions was very refreshing. The friendship between Kaneda and Tetsuo is something I think should be viewed by everyone. Akira is definitely a film ahead of its time with its continuing relevance throughout decades past with a strong focus on personal and authoritarian relationships. Scenes felt so raw and real at times. Even though the blood was animated, and the sound effects created by production the violence still made me sick. I found this very weird as I have watched many films in my life so far that has included extreme violence and it did not make this big of an impact.

Through background research of the film and information shared on the Twitter hashtag, I was surprised to see how often Akira has been used as inspiration for many people in their creative works, in particular, Kanye West. Relating to the setting of the film, it was quite intriguing to also find out this now 30-year-old film almost predicted the future with its mention of Tokyo hosting the 2019 Olympics when they are in fact hosting the 2020 Olympics.

“Autoethnography is an approach to research and writing that seeks to describe and systematically analyse personal experience in order to understand cultural experience” (Ellis, 2004, Holman Jones, 2005)

My understanding of autoethnographic methodology is that an individual is giving a recount of a past experience assisted by secondary research regarding the subject of discussion. Ellis et al (2011) communicate the practice of ethnography as culturally conducted studies that have a purpose to educate those unaware or in need of assistance to understand particular a culture and its elements.

Some of the methods of research commonly used when conducting a study are journal articles, interviews and photographs. To be considered as valuable in an autoethnographic study, sources go through a process of analysation. Ellis et al emphasise the need to comparing and contrasting personal experience against existing research. They also state the importance to produce a product that demonstrates reliability through fieldwork, aims to reduce generalisability and heighten validity of their study.

I believe autoethnography is crucial to progression within the world due to its deep cultural exploration. The ability to make something familiar to one’s unaware or even ignorant self has the ability to create a chain of education and the passing of information.