Digital Artefact: Learning Japanese Calligraphy

I’ve always been intrigued by Japanese culture. I was given the opportunity to study the language and culture for one year in high school but the class only taught the most basic of things. In the past year, I have also developed an interest in typography and brush lettering. This style of lettering has been developed from more traditional forms such as Japanese calligraphy, or Shodo. The research I have conducted surrounding Japanese calligraphy and how it works as an art form is a combination of personal narrative and outsourced information and data. My methodology followed Ellis, et al’s Autoethnography: An Overview. I would be using this method of research to describe and analyse my personal experience as a way of understanding this cultural experience (Ellis, et al 2011).

For my digital artefact, I created a three-part series that showcased myself using different application methods to learning the basic skills of Japanese calligraphy. As traditional shodo takes many, many years to practice and perfect, I would only be attempting to learn the stroke order of the hirigana alphabet. I explored both traditional and contemporary methods of application, which can be seen in videos two and three of the series.

Before even attempting to put a pen/ brush to paper, I researched methods of setting up materials and the correct way to prep new tools. It was during this process that I really had my first epiphany. I was so intrigued with the idea that there were so many rules out there when it came to shodo. Being told that I have to sit up straight and have two feet on the floor while writing out characters was more challenging than I thought it would be. I’ve always had poor posture and I tend to slump when I’m writing, drawing or typing, but after actually putting this rule into action, I was able to see why it may be so important in the art form that is shodo.

From this whole experience, I concluded that the more traditional form of shodo was a lot easier to learn. It was far more enjoyable to use a brush and ink to learn than it was using an app on my iPad. The common theme I found with using an app was that it was near impossible to predict the pressure you were placing on the screen. This, ultimately, affected how the hirigana character looked. I also found it difficult to feel immersed in the experience as I was simply just dragging my finger around a screen. It was such a contrast from using a brush and getting ink on my hands and fiddling with the paper. In saying this, the app also acknowledged that it was just a learning tool. When I first opened the app, it had three little ‘Must Reads’. They said “Paper, writing brush and ink are the best and proved method for calligraphy/ practicing…” and “The idea of this app is to help [focus] on the structure of glyphs and mastering the essence of calligraphy”.

All three videos contain some form of voice over. This was just to provide some context into what I was doing, what I was trying to achieve, and how I felt looking back on the experience.  This experience has instilled in me the fact that shodo is an art form and it has allowed me to understand why it is so highly regarded in Japanese culture.

Part 1: Learning the Strokes

Part 2: Saying Bye to Practice Guides

Part 3: Going Digital


Ellis, C., Adams, T., & Bochner, A. (2011). ‘Autoethnography: An Overview’. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 12(1).

Kim, T. (2017). Hiragana Practice Exercises – Learn Japanese.

MAIKOYA. (2017). Japanese Calligraphy (Shodo).

Schumacher, M. (n.d.). Japanese Calligraphy, Calligraphy in Japan & China. (n.d.). SHODO JAPAN|書道ジャパン.

The Great Challenge – my autoethnography view


As a person who has special interest about Chinese culture and society and is learning Mandarin at the moment, Chinese TV shows are very good at getting my attention. After discussing, my classmate – Jessie Davis, and I decided to choose a completely new Chinese reality show to watch. We have searched and found “The Great Challenge”. According to Top 10 popular China TV shows in the first half of 2016 (Zhang 2016), “The Great Challenge” is the most famous Chinese reality show. Jessie and I have watched the first episode of the show and made a podcast to talk about our impressions. In this blog post, I am going to talk about subtitle in the show, ‘masculinity perspective’, harmony value and hard- working culture that I found out through the show and questioned my knowledge about Chinese society and culture.

First of all, as a Mandarin learner, I find it very interesting as the show is in Mandarin and has Mandarin subtitle. I have thought about the question then decided to use google translate. Through the website, I realise an essential point which explains my question. China is a very big country with various dialects but the common in language is that they share the same writing character. According to google translate, there are only traditional Chinese and simplified Chinese which make so much sense why the show has Mandarin subtitle. To confirm my ideas, I have done a few research online. My idea is supported by David Pan, former USAF officer (quora 2016). In his comment, he claimed that as the written language is the same regardless of Mandarin or Cantonese, subtitles allow all Chinese speaking people around the world can read and understand what they cannot understand through speaking.


Sinaweibo: the Great Challenge

Secondly, the show had 7 members in the past and now 6 members but they are all men. It made me think about the question why the producer only chose men. Is that because women are considered to be weaker than men in nature? I have done a reading written by Shen and D’Ambrosio. In chapter 6 ‘Chinese Cultural Resources for Feminism’, they explained the Chinese perspective of yin and yang which yin is a symbol for man and yang is for women. In this context, they believe that women are weak in nature and became oriented toward social roles such as a duty as a wife rather than ‘big business’ (Shen & D’Ambrosio).

Moreover, very different from other reality show, this show does not invite any guests, just purely the game between members. Sometimes, they split the team in a group of two and individual game, sometimes it is a team game. But, one interesting point is that even when they participated in individual game, they do not have that ‘attack’ spirit. They still work in cooperation and peace. They only try to create laugh through ‘pinching’ each other. One of the reasons can be this is just a show and they do not need to be too competitive when joining. However, I find out that the real reason is their own culture value: harmony and this value is under effect of Confucianism. Confucianism is Chinese dominant belief. It values harmony, benevolence, righteousness, courtesy, wisdom, honesty, loyalty and filial piety (Zhang 2013). Harmony is Chinese most important core value. It has been proved through the history flows: the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence in the 1950s, former Chinese president Jiang Zemin’s speech during the visit to United States, Chinese premier Wen Jiabao’s speech at Harvard University in 2003 (Zhang 2013). To highlight this value inside the Chinese community, in Cultural Barriers to the Success of Foreign Media Content: Western Media in China, India, and Japan (Rohn 2009, p.317-318), it emphasises Chinese core value: harmony by looking at the rating of the reality show ‘Survivor’ (which the contestants become very competitive), it was a huge failure as it goes against the Chinese peoples’ values and does not match with the audiences.

Fourthly, the name of the show “the Great challenge” make me think about something very different, distinctive, but once I started watching I realised how close it is to our daily life. It can be a daily job such as car washing and I thought that it was not difficult. But through the lens of an audience watching celebrities do the job, I become more aware of the requirements of these jobs and appreciate more their hard-working. From this perspective, I learn to appreciate the professional of different jobs as no job is easy and it all requires training and work experience along the time. Moreover, along the show, the members are sometimes talking with the camera, which I believe that create the connection between audiences and the hosts. It makes me feel like they are talking and sharing their own stories with me.

But, why do they make a show about these people? This question follows directly after the conclusion of sharing the stories behind stages of these jobs that we sometimes think easy to do. One of the reason as I have mentioned above is the hidden message to appreciate the profession of all jobs. Moreover, I believe it is a part of Chinese culture: hard- working. It can sound very weird for some of you but as pointed out in  Khlystov’s blog post, who has been living in Beijing for the past ten years, China values hard- working and their normal work hour for office work is from 8am to 6pm, 5 days a week but no more than 44 hours per week and for customer- service industry it can even extend to late night.


In conclusion, I have discussed about a few interesting points that I have found out through watching the show such as Mandarin study, media practice in order to point out Chinese core values shown in the show. Jessie will provide another view about the show relating to production and consumption and internet and communication.


  1. Khlystov, Y. 2016, China’s hard work culture – do you love it?, Laowaicareer, web blog post, viewed on 15 October 2017, <>
  2. Pan, D 2016, Why does most Chinese TV movies have subtitles, Quora, viewed 9 October 2017, <>
  3. Rohn, U 2009, ‘Cultural Barriers to the Success of Foreign Media Content: Western Media in China, India, and Japan’, Peter Lang, pp. 317-320
  4. Shen, L & D’Ambrosio, P, ‘Gender in Chinese Philosophy’, Internet Encylopedia of Philosophy, viewed 10 October 2017, <>
  5. Zhang, L.H 2013, ‘China’s Traditional Cultural Values and National Identity’, Carnegie- Tsinghua Center of Global Policy, viewed 13 October 2017, <>
  6. Zhang, X 2016, Top 10 popular China TV shows in the first half of 2016¸Chinadaily, viewed 9 October 2017, <>

The Korean Wave through ‘Hello, My Twenties’ | Digital Artefact

Contextual Essay

This project explores the Korean wave, Hallyu through access to South Korean television programs. This is how I gained a greater Understanding of South Korea and South Korean content in Western culture. This is a personal autoethnographic narrative and also a layered account to which South Korea is consumed and experiences and the opinions of academic sources and online threads are utilized to understand the culture (Ellis, Adams & Bochner 2011). Initially this artifact was going to be based on the television program alone. The original trajectory of the artifact was going to be selecting a program and analyzing it in terms of autoenthrographic experience and reflect on Epiphanes during the show. The program I selected after watching a few different shows from Korean culture was called ‘Hello, My Twenties’. But after watching the show, there were quite a few similarities between programs I would typically watch meaning this didn’t expanded my knowledge as much as I would have liked. I also felt that I didn’t know enough about Korean culture to give my response to the text as my results may not have been factual and the credibility of my work may have been biased (Ellis, Adams & Bochner 2011).

Upon further research of the show and South Korean programs as a whole, the word “Hallyu”, a word I was not familiar with before this project, kept appearing. Hallyu is a term that describes the sudden surge of popularity of Korean content which began in Asia and later spread to the western world (Hogarth 2013, p. 135). Hallyu is a notion that explores Korean Culture to be comparable to Nollywood or Hollywood (Hogarth 2013, p. 149). This is the surge of popular Korean products and exports such as ‘k-pop’, television programs and movies (Jang & Paik 2012, p. 196). Through gaining an interest in this topic of the rising popularity of Korea in the west, from viewing the television programs, I decided to give my auto ethnographic experience of ‘Hello, My Twenties!’ through an analysis of Hallyu.

Access to this content was the biggest concern and then I remembered that Netflix has an international section. This was an epiphany for me that struck the realisation that South Korean content is more accessible than I thought. This shows that globalization is very prominent, and the growing interconnectedness of the world gave me the opportunity to explore South Korea.

For me personally my first known experience with South Korean Culture was through PSY and his hit single Gangnam style and was also how I explored K-pop and discovered a completely new cultural approach to something I am so familiar with being music. This was also a cultural impact for many people in the West (Bacon 2016). I got this same feeling when watching Hello, My Twenties. Something felt so familiar, yet just a slight cultural alteration to the formula I am familiar with. Then I questioned when did Korean culture and Hallyu become so popular? And also what makes them popular? Hello my twenties portrays traditional elements of Korean culture which I discuss in the video which makes it popular for Asian viewers across the globe, and also curiosity from a Western audience. I did notice though that I can’t just listen as this is in another language, I have to be fully engaged and actively view the content to be able to understand the context to absorb the culture. Another thing about the program which I found interesting was the depiction of roles with male and female characters. This show in particular has a lead cast of five females which portray their identities to be strong and independent. Men on the other hand are depicted as caring and gentle, something the female viewers appeal to due to suffering of a male- dominated society.

The characters are complex and well created. It was also seen that TV dramas have the greatest influence for sustaining their audience due to the engagement with the characters (Huat 2010, p. 15). The emphasis of this narrative autoethnography approach, which mostly studies others, so I was studying the text while also analysing it in terms of others. I also had to analyse patterns and process. For the episodes of the programs I watched, I noticed that they mostly have female leads, the episodes are almost always over an hour long, and they start of friendly and positive and usually have a dark twist. But for ‘Hello, my Twenties!’ the formula of each episode followed the focus of one character, there is normally a predicament they face but it is resolved following the next episode.

So overall I really enjoyed the autoethnographic experience, the show was quite interesting and It gave me a pretty good insight into modern South Korean culture. The show was entertaining, it sparked epiphanies for me to which I realised Hallyu is prominent because of internet access, affordable means of access, content being available on Western Websites such as Netflix and YouTube and overall an interest people have in the culture. We did not have this accessibility many years ago. Analysing the text through the notion of Hallyu was me, understanding the popularity of the show and the context of the accessibility for South Korean pop culture.

There may have been limitations to my autoethnographic experience as I was using the narrative format, but I feel as though I researched enough scholarly resources to get an understanding of Hallyu and the popularity of Korean content to make my findings legitimate. The narrative formant looks at texts in the form of stories (Ellis, Adams & Bochner 2011) which is why I used a television program as this spans over many episodes showing a deep insight into a Korean Text. With this, it may also seem that I used elements of ‘layered accounts’ format (Ellis, Adams & Bochner 2011) for the project as I questioned what I was viewing with an abstract analysis. I took a television program and then questioned the phenomena of Hallyu. This was my personal insight, I was detailing beyond what I knew and once understood, giving my own personal and cultural assumptions a point of interaction between the cultures (Denshire, 2013, p. 2). This was a truthful experience to which I didn’t use my personal bias so I believe my results were valid. I was able to dictate this experience through blog posts and tweets to which gave an audience and understanding of my experience.



Bacon, C 2016 ‘Why Korean Dramas are Popular’, Reel Rundown, 19 April, viewed 4 September 2017 <>

Denshire, S 2013, ‘Autoethnography’, Sociopedia, vol. 62, no. p, pp. 1-12

Ellis, C., Adams, T.E., and Bochner, A.P. 2011 ‘Autoethnography: An Overview‘, Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 12:1, viewed 4 September 2017, <>

Gang, G & Paik, WK 2012, ‘Korean Wave as Tool for Korea’s New Cultural Diplomacy, Advances in applied sociology, vol. 2, no. 3, pp. 196-202

Hogarth, HK 2013, ‘the Korean Wave: An Asian Reaction to Western-Dominated Globalization’, Perspectives on Global Development & Technology, vol. 12, no. 1, pp. 135-151.

Huat, CB 2010, ‘Korean Pop Culture’, Malaysian Journal of Media Studies, vol. 12, no. 2, pp. 15-24.

Reddit 2017, ‘[US] Hello, My Twenties! – A delightfully addicting Korean dramedy about five women in a shared house during college. 97% rating from Google users’ Best Of Netflix, viewed 4 September 2017,   <>

Said, D 2017, South Korea and Me, WordPress, weblog post, 24 August, viewed 26 October 2017, <>

Said, D 2017, Hello, My Twenties!/ Age of Youth, WordPress, weblog post, 24 August, viewed 26 October 2017, <>

옥현주 2017, ‘Korean dramas enjoy huge wave of popularity in US’, The Korea Herald, 3 February, viewed 4 September 2017, <>

Origami – My Autoethnographic Experiences

I love learning new things so having the ability to explore Japanese, Chinese and Korean culture through the use of autoethnography has been awesome. As someone who has dabbled in Japanese culture through high school, I did start off this journey knowing a thing or two about the culture through books and materials the school gave to us. I’m not necessarily saying I know everything about the culture because in reality I only know a very small aspect of something so big, but what I do know has definitely opened my eyes.

Autoethnography is something that has taken me some time to get used to, but looking at it from a new perspective and especially using it during the time of discovering new aspects of Digital Asia’s cultures I have discovered that I was able to sort through my thoughts and ideas in a narrative autoethnographic form. By doing this my narratives would place emphasis on what I was thinking/feeling and remembering while engaging in these topics.

For my Digital Artefact, I followed an epiphany that I had during the week and chose to look further into the art of origami and specifically paper cranes. In order to make my research into an autoethnographic experience, I chose to investigate the history behind the folding of origami and paper cranes while also drawing on my own experiences with making these cranes for my art project.

Origami is the art of folding paper into decorative shapes and figures which originated in Japan. The crane is considered a mystical animal that is believed to live for thousands of years and because of this, they have become a symbol of good luck and long life. Origami was considered a ceremonial and religious art form since the symbol of the crane is lucky and sacred. A sense of wonder about the paper cranes sparked my curiosity which leads to the art of origami.

When approaching this subject to find out the history of the practice I chose to try and look at it in an autoethnographic way. Autoethnography is known as a genre of writing which displays multiple levels of consciousness, which connects the personal to the culture (Ellis, C., Adams, T.E., and Bochner, A.P. 2011). When looking at this practice I wanted to place emphasis on the study of the practice and my research and interaction with the practice.

When approaching the research side of the project I wanted to find out as much as I could about the evolution and history of origami. To do this I found a lot of websites that gave me information on the folding methods and also interesting points about its history. I found that there weren’t many academic articles about the topic so I chose to use those instead.

Coming into the research aspect of the project I found that I knew very little of the history of origami and origins of paper cranes. I found that most if not all of the information was new to me and in the long run I found out a whole lot more of a culture that I found intriguing.  The research as a whole did give me a lot more information, understanding, and insight into the culture and in hindsight, by researching the topic more I did end up understanding the practice a whole lot more which changed my outlook on the project. It started as something that I was doing because it was pretty and fascinating to something I was doing because I loved the history and story behind it and wanted to delve into the culture.

The criteria for the art piece is to create a device of wonder that spurs imagination, examination, investigation, and speculation that is caused by something beautiful, remarkable or unfamiliar. Devices of wonder invite the audience to engage in the work and ultimately become a part of it. The idea of curiosity is sparked between an individual’s and the work encourages investigation which is where the idea of someone becoming a part of the work is explored.

The prototype of the art piece was successful when it was put together and everything turned out how I wanted it. There were, however, setbacks though with the process of actually putting it up and hanging it from the roof. The reality was that my prototype was only a small indication of how it would look and I did need to change the way that the cranes were hanging from the mesh to get the impact that I wanted from the audience.

I thought that folding all these paper cranes would end up turning in to a chore and I would despise paper after, however, I think that the process of folding paper cranes has become quite therapeutic for me to do after having a stressful day or just needing some time alone.  Through experiencing this I have an understanding why this practice was originally an art form for formal ceremonies as well as an elegant way to pass the time.


A Flying Axe Covered in Glitter and Bubblegum


Tayla Bosley



Digital Artefact:

Autoethnographic Essay:

Autoethnography, as stated by Ellis (2011) is “an autobiographical genre of writing that displays multiple layers of consciousness, connecting the personal to the cultural.”

I think this is the absolute best way to summarise autoethnography, and I think I have achieved this in my project. By relaying through self-reflexivity, the multiple accounts of my personal experience with kawaii metal, then critically analysing those experiences and subsequent epiphanies. I hope to have brought a critical understanding of the genre to those that have read my posts, and listened to my podcasts.

As I stated in my blog post ‘Narrative Truth’, my goal has been to walk that knife’s edge “…between rigorous, theoretical, analytical science, and therapeutic, personal, and social experience-writing.” Therefore connecting my personal experience to the culture of kawaii metal, and enabling those who engage with my work to gain a deeper understanding of kawaii metal.

However, I also agree with Foley (2002) in his criticism of the practise of autoethnography. Foley advocated for a more reflexive epistemological and narrative approach to the research methodology. He believes that by doing this, creating more of a story than a research paper, it would make autoethnographies more engaging and a more common genre of research. Which could contribute to bridging the gap between researchers and ordinary people.

I must agree with Foley, I think that the more engaging, and story-like an autoethnographic account is, the more people will understand and relate to it. This alternative method has a higher chance of achieving the goal of autoethnography; relating the personal to the cultural.

Which is why my autoethnographic podcast is filled with anecdotal stories, creative opinion pieces, and the unending stream of kawaii metal songs under my words. I wanted to give the listener every possible narrative understanding of kawaii metal.

Of course this story-like format that I champion comes with its own limitations. For one, as Mendez states, autoethnography in all its forms require honesty, and a willingness to self-disclose from the researcher.

This is especially important for researchers like me, who desire a more story-like experience, as it can be all too easy to slip from story-like into fairy-tale.

As Anderson (2006) fears, “Autoethnography loses its sociological promise when it devolves into self-absorption.” What I’ve learnt is that this is what makes autoethnography so interesting, and yet so difficult. It is again walking that knife’s edge, between relaying your experience of the culture, and relaying yourself to the reader. While each autoethnographic account is through the researcher’s eyes, the focus should never stray from the culture itself.

There are also ethical considerations that must be addressed when using the autoethnographic research method. Many research topics centre around sensitive issues or beliefs in regards to the researcher themselves or the people around them. Due to this, explicit and early consent, and special consideration must be taken into account by the researcher, so as to not offend or impinge upon the privacy of their research volunteers (Wall, 2008, Mendez 2013).

It is also important to note Ellis’ own point about autoethnography, ‘No researcher is an island.’ We all come with our own experiences, our own cultural view point, our biases, and our own understanding. Thus autoethnographic researchers must disclose each aspects of themselves, least their research becomes tainted, and the reader unaware.

Overall though, the autoethnographic method is like any other research tool; it depends on how you use it, and what you want to achieve with it.

Whether it is a clinical recount of events, or your experience of a culture in its entirety. “What matters is the way in which the story enables the reader to enter the subjective world of the teller -to see the world from her or his point of view, even if this world does not ‘match reality’. Another advantage of writing autoethnographically is that it allows the researcher to write first person accounts which enable his or her voice to be heard, and thus provide him or her with a transition from being an outsider to an insider in the research.” (Hitchcock and Hughes, 1995).

Again, it is this need to bring the outsider inside, which drives the autoethnographic research process. It is making the stranger a friend, and making the alien, home, for both researcher, and reader.

As Ellis said, “On the whole, autoethnographers don’t want you to sit back as spectators; they want readers to feel and care and desire”. And I think this is mostly true of those researchers that use this methodology; their main focus is empathy. When using the autoethnographic method the researcher wants you to feel empathy, as they do while in the research process itself. As it is empathy that incites action (Barkhuizen and Wette 2008)

The entire point, limitations and all, of autoethnography, is to make the reader feel like they are already a part of the culture they are reading about. To make them understand all aspects of the culture through meticulous research, and make them feel like they’ve lived with the culture, through poignant storytelling.

It is this ‘lived in’ feeling that makes autoethnography so powerful for both readers and researchers, and I hope that, in my own reflexive narrative, I have created a story that is filled with the knowledge of kawaii metal, as well as the experience of being a cute girl headbanging to thrash metal music.


Songs In Podcast

Aldious: Dominator

BABYMETAL: Doki Doki Morning

BABYMETAL: Gimme chocolate!!


BABYMETAL: Ijime, Dame, Zettai


BABYMETAL: Megitsune

BABYMETAL: Only the fox god knows audio

Band-Maid: Choose Me

Band-Maid: Real Existence

Band-Maid: Thrill

Bridear: Light in the Dark

Doll$boxx: Loud Twin Stars

Doll$boxx: Take My Chance

Ladybaby: Age Age Money

Ladybaby: Nippon Manju


Chaisson, J. (2017). This Is A Thing: Kawaii Metal. [online] Available at: [Accessed 26 Oct. 2017].

Crook, L. and Ransom, D. (2014). Babymetal’s fusion of Japanese teen pop and death metal is the greatest thing you’ll see today. [online] The Daily Dot. Available at: [Accessed 26 Oct. 2017].

Grace, K. (2016). BABYMETAL. [online] Digital Asia. Available at: [Accessed 26 Oct. 2017].

Grace, K. (2016). Baby who?. [online] Digital Asia. Available at: [Accessed 26 Oct. 2017].

Grace, K. (2014). BABYMETAL- the return. [online] Digital Asia. Available at: [Accessed 26 Oct. 2017].


Barbier, E. (2017). A beginner’s guide to Kawaii metal – The Concordian. [online] The Concordian. Available at: [Accessed 26 Oct. 2017].

Burns, M. (2015). A New Sub-genre of Music Is Growing in Japan. [online] Available at: [Accessed 26 Oct. 2017].

Nash, R. (2016). BabyMetal: Japan’s heavy metal girl-band sensation. [online] The Sydney Morning Herald. Available at: [Accessed 26 Oct. 2017].


BABYMETAL. (2017). BABYMETAL. [online] Available at: [Accessed 26 Oct. 2017].

Kluseba (2017). Kawaii metal thread. [online] Encyclopaedia Metallum: The Metal Archives. Available at: [Accessed 26 Oct. 2017].

Hoshiya, Y. (2015). Inside the world of “Kawaii metal”. [online] Kawaii-B. Available at: [Accessed 26 Oct. 2017].

YouTube. (2017). BABYMETALofficial. [online] Available at: [Accessed 26 Oct. 2017].

YouTube. (2017). LADYBABY. [online] Available at: [Accessed 26 Oct. 2017].

YouTube. (2017). BANDMAID. [online] Available at: [Accessed 26 Oct. 2017].

Kikuchi, D. (2016). Spotify finally launches in Japan, a nation where other music streaming services have struggled | The Japan Times. [online] The Japan Times. Available at: [Accessed 26 Oct. 2017].


Oxford Dictionaries | English. (2017). cute | Definition of cute in English by Oxford Dictionaries. [online] Available at: [Accessed 26 Oct. 2017]. (2017). Cuteness. [online] Available at: [Accessed 26 Oct. 2017]. (2017). Kawaii. [online] Available at:

Journal Articles

Anderson, L. (2006). Analytic autoethnography. Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, 35,373-395.

Barkhuizen, G., & Wette, R. (2008). Narrative frames for investigating the experiences of language teachers. System, 36, 372-387.

Ellis, C., Adams, T.E., and Bochner, A.P. (2011) ‘Autoethnography: An Overview’, Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 12:1. Available at: [Accessed 26 Oct. 2017].

Foley, D. (2002). Critical ethnography: The reflexive turn. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 15(4), pp.469-490.

Hitchcock, G., & Hughes, D. (1995). Research and the teacher. (2 ed.) London: Routledge.

Méndez, M. (2014). Autoethnography as a research method: Advantages, limitations and criticisms. Colombian Applied Linguistics Journal, 15(2), p.279.

Wall, S. (2008). Easier said than done: Writing an autoethnography. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 7, 38-53.


More On Dating Sims: Hatoful Boyfriend

My group and I presented today on dating sims but unfortunately we ran out of time to go in further detail on Hatoful Boyfriend and the Western Influence. Below are my notes and references for my speech, and here is the post to our Prezi and our individual YouTube clips.

Additional note, this is copied from my word document so some things may be out of correct formatting.

Hatoful Boyfriend

  • An otome dating sim trying to find love between human and bird
  • You pay as a young girl given a rare opportunity to attend an elite school for birds.
  • An elite school called St. Pigeonation
  • She doesn’t say how she got this opportunity other than “it’s a long story”
  • There is some interaction, you can choose classes or activities
  • It does take a while for the game to get somewhere + slow & gradual audience immersion
  • Where Ibrahim’s game (Sunrider Academy) had a point reward structure, the only points you get in Hatoful Boyfriend are to increase your intelligence, charisma and wisdom which changes depending on the class you choose – I’m yet to find out what they’re for though.
  • Hatoful Boyfriend’s first release in its current visual novel format was a freeware demo released as a downloadable application on 31 July 2011
  • Hatoful Boyfriend was originally created on a limited budget and with limited promotion
  • It wasn’t until word of mouth got through Twitter and other social media that it started to boom
  • At the beginning of the game you are able to select whether you would like a human portrait or not upon meeting different birds – the portrait only comes once.
  • The idea behind the game is that the pigeons become seen less like pigeons and more like people, with personalities, characteristics and the use of portraits
  • A sequel, Hatoful Boyfriend: Holiday Star, was released on 29 December 2011, with an English version being released on Christmas Day the following year

Game play experience


  • Several official adaptations of Hatoful Boyfriend including books and publications, webcomics, drama CDs, web radio, web series, and plush production line.
  • Hatoful Boyfriend drinking game
  • Erick Scarecrow released a Kickstarter in November 2015 with Hato Moa and Devolver Digital, asking for $25,000 to create a production line of three characters from the Hatoful Boyfriend universe, specifically Shuu, Ryouta and Okosan.
  • The campaign ended on December 6 2015 with all stretch goals reached, adding seven more characters to the production line. A total of $145,015 had been pledged in less than a month.
  • Because of the success of the first Kickstarter, the following year Erick Scarecrow, Hato Moa and Devolver Digital released a second Kickstarter campaign
  • They didn’t raise as much as the first but it was still above their target, raising $54,455

Doesn’t stop there!

  • Hatoful shop – Okosan Plush for ages 15 & up?
  • Beanies, ponchos, assortment of bundles, socks, tags and lanyards. Not to mention my favourite item, the body pillows – where you can have your sleep with your very own snuggling pigeon boyfriend!
  • One side of the pillow shows the human portrait, the other the pigeon form
  • Last but not least, the less ‘official’ side of things. Redbubble and CafePress are websites and companies that host customised products from users.
  • Redbubble had a majority of customised shirts made by fans with a few miscellaneous things like these stickers.
  • The HatoStore by Cafepress had a bigger variety of products with bags, mugs, pins, shirts and a few others.
  • I thought I should also mention Line. The Line store had stickers for sale but they’re not physical stickers, they were the digital stickers, like the ones you can download on Facebook (think Pusheen). I thought this was interesting having a cross platform and not just physical products.
  • Another thing I should mention, Line has official licensing for the stickers, it just wasn’t the official page from Hato Moa. Thought I could slip that in there.

Before I move on to our next topic…

I encourage you to check out a Sydney Morning Herald article which is linked in our references list, they state some very good points and they have some really interesting facts in their research, in a part of the article SMH states “The developers from Voltage surveyed Japanese women extensively, asking about their lives and needs before adapting their games to match”. I found it really interesting and if you would like further reading on dating sims I highly recommend it.

I will firstly give a quick brief of three games.

England Exchange! An International Affair is a Visual Novel made by a UK company called Hanako Games.

  • Released April this year.
  • You’re an American student on exchange in England, living, working and studying in London.

Dream Daddy, is a gay dating sim where you date dads. It’s made huge success since its release earlier this year.

  • The success of Dream Daddy was due to promotion of the very popular developers, Game Grumps, a largely recognised Let’s Play web series.
  • As of October this year, Game Grumps has 4 million subscribers and over 3 billion total video views.

Coming Out On Top – released in 2014 but came to Steam as of October this year.

  • Created by an American heterosexual woman under the developer name of ObscuraSoft, and funded through Kickstarter
  • The dating sim involves the white main character coming out to his two roommates
  • He also has a pet goldfish you can confide in with a possible story route of being sexually mounted by this pet fish

Without getting too far into the western gaming concerns and getting off topic, the success of the western dating sims has identified a growing interest in games that think about and explore relationships.

  • The Sims has been a leading figure here for many years, but recent games like Gone Home and Life is Strange are pushing toward more human complexity.

On another scale, we have dating sim parodies. Mostly made by fans using Ren’Py development software but here are some examples.

Shia LaBeouf Meme Master Dating Sim – Free to download and consists of Shia LaBeouf memes.

  • Found on a website called GameJolt.
  • Free to download and play. Also has a walkthrough.

Resident Evil 4: Otome Edition

Also on GameJolt, A Day in the Life of a Dating Sim (early access)

However, because these are all fanmade parodies, there wasn’t much information on where they were developed. It was more so what software was used. I found it hard finding any parodies in a western art style like that of Dream Daddy or England Exchange.

…But with some digging I found this Kickstarter!

Grand Old Academy has a free demo for Mac and Windows on their Kickstarter page.

  • Released in May this year.
  • It’s described as ‘Hatoful Boyfriend but instead of pigeons they’re politicians’. If you’ve ever had a desire to date Donald Trump you now can!

This concludes our presentation. Are there any questions?



Notes and other bits:
The Guardian gives an in-depth look at how Dream Daddy became a success in the West.

  • The Guardian mentions in their article that ‘daddy’ is a broad term saying it “usually refers to a character, who is larger and typically older than the average player, someone serious but with a sense of humour – someone you look up to even when you’re playing the game as them.”
  • Continuing they say, “some modern characters are more overtly paternal, such as Joel from post-apocalyptic adventure The Last of Us, Booker DeWitt from Bioshock Infinite and Nathan Drake’s surrogate father figure Sully in Uncharted”
  • “It is usually refers to a character, who is larger and typically older than the average player, someone serious but with a sense of humour – someone you look up to even when you’re playing the game as them.”
  • “…Leaving straight women, people of colour and a huge proportion of LGBT people out in the cold. It’s not that games by and for this diverse market don’t exist but they often don’t receive the publicity they need to get them into the hands of as many people who want them.’

Comparing dating sims/VNs to a soap opera or romance novel in interactive form.

Who We Are Now is a dating sim based on queer romance in the post-apocalypse. Out of four male candidates, you get to freely choose which relationship you want to invest your time in. In exchange for helping the person you choose, the village elder gives you a place to stay.

A reflection on autethnography

What started with a fascination with Japanese sex dolls has ended with an in depth exploration of  how aspects of Japanese society, history, culture and politics affect dating trends.

Throughout the process I have struggled to make myself aware of all of my predispositions and I think this is evident in my research.  However Ellis et al describes epiphanies as transformative experiences and I feel that the entire autoethnographic process has been a tapestry of moments that have altered my perceptions in one way or another.

Screen Shot 2017-10-26 at 1.35.25 pmSource

Primarily I became aware of western media’s portrayal of the East, especially the quirks of Japanese culture. What I once read as a piece of investigative journalism, I can now see strong elements of sensationalism and drama. For the first part of my research I was extremely caught up in a western voice and perspective on the issue which I believe to be the reason why my first assessment was heavily weighted around the media hook of the herbivore men. It wasn’t until I started to engage with Japanese scholars and government studies that I came to be aware of the broader picture.

Because of this epiphany, I also came to realise how social interactions and practices are so incredibly entrenched within history, custom and locality. In many ways, the struggles that Japanese women face are incomparable to my own or those of my mother and her friends but in some ways they are. For example, the everyday struggle that mothers endure between their careers and children is broadly applicable to both culture’s.

It was interesting to see how the Japanese Government

While attempting to do research while being aware of my own frame of reference I believe that my feelings of intrigue and uncomfortability disintegrated into feelings of understanding and compassion. In alot of ways I think it takes the sense of “other” out of research and establishes a human element, or connection, within the work.

Throughout my research I have learnt so much about the ins and outs of dating trends in Japan while along the way, discovering alot of things about the dating culture in my own sphere.

Japanese Television Shows || DIGC330

Lauren Daisy

Japanese TV shows are characteristically quirky, bright and out-of-the-box. To understand this genre of entertainment, we each sat down to watch three different TV shows: reality, variety and comedy. Drawing on Ellis et al, we noted the epiphanies we had whilst watching the TV shows and then looked deeper into the cultural practices behind them to understand the culture.
Without watching each other’s TV shows, we came together to present our cultural findings and realised the shows had more in common than we had previously thought.

Check out Tom & Monique’s channels!

Tom –
Monique –



Yamaguchi, Kazuo (2000). Married Women’s Gender-Role Attitudes and Social Stratification. International Journal of Sociology. 30[2] p. 52-89.
North, Scott 2009, Negotiating What’s ‘Natural’: Persistent Domestic Gender Role Inequality in Japan, Social Science Japan Journal, Volume 12, Issue 1, Pages 23–44,
Mclelland, Mark 2010. “Kissing is a symbol of democracy!” Dating, Democracy, and Romance…

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