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Japanamerica March 13, 2009

Posted by jr4024 in anime, cultre, manga.
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            The reading that we had on Japanamerica was very interesting because I feel that the United States and Japan are countries that tend to often be compared when it comes to power, marketing, and who is ahead in the industry. Although the states may have a ‘cyborgian’ mix culture where we work together in terms of production, I do not think of our relationship with Japan as one of simple friendship. In fact, I find it obvious that there are many times when Japan and America butt heads when it comes to norms such as sexy vs. cute, emphasis on violence vs. emphasis of the consequences of violence, grudges from World War II, and opinions based on form of education.

            On the topic of anime and manga, I find it funny that America does not want to market certain types of anime because of their content. In the United States, we deal with the many disturbing situations where we blame the media and video games, and I don’t seem to hear of men in Japan sexually abusing a tree or octopus. Although I do not agree with all of the raping situations, if they made it so the woman wanted it, then I would side more with the Japanese. The biggest kick out of all this is the fact that in Japanese culture, where their minds are supposedly ‘always in the gutter’ and highly disturbed, it is in America where women are the most exploited/subjugated to daily oppression. In the reading, it mentioned that women are rarely seen as the sexual objects they play in anime. It states that these fantasies are strictly related to imagination and creativity, and I find that very interesting.

            Another fun fact in the reading was the anime artists’ inspiration of Walt Disney. In relation to porn, I immediately thought of all of the sexual innuendos that are in Disney’s films. I did not notice these until recently, yet although hidden, Disney productions should be ashamed of themselves hiding pornographic messages/images in “classic, children’s movies.”      

            Lastly, I know I am running out of space, but I wanted to mention a few things about the other readings. In Evocative Objects, I found that the story of Murray the stuffed bunny was interesting with its aspect of creator/creation. In addition, the Ford Falcon seemed to have crossed dimensions when she took her physical experience, applied her mental images, and created a website where the falcon crossed into cyberspace. Last but not least, the text in the Gendered Cyborg was thought-provoking with their concept of the woman becoming a model of the perfect machine. To play devil’s advocate, doesn’t the man machine also produce a stereotype that men are supposed to be strong, intelligent, and quick-thinkers? I know that the ideas of reproduction and motherhood have a lot of significance, but I just wanted to throw that out there. 

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Hybrid Cultures March 5, 2009

Posted by ah12 in cyborgs.
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As Roland Keltz discusses in his book, “Japanamerica” the world is adapting to new hybrid cultures, in which a society becomes shaped not only by its own traditions and history but also that of other cultures.

While I agree that in the age of globalization certain elements of different cultures become integrated into our society, there is still a cultural gap to be bridged. Consider these to be “cultural misinterpretations”. A few examples:

Keltz’s example: In the west “hentai” is considered a perversion, while in Japan it is merely the selfexpression that belongs to the private life, which must be very open and free to counterbalance the rigid and impersonal public life that, according to Keltz, is traditional of Japan.

A fun example: have you ever been to a party where European techno/house music has been played? Everyone goes nuts. Why? Its not like they understand the words, or the message of the song. The song is just so intense that, often techno comes accross as this intense music made anonymously and without meaning. However, thanks to my younger brother’s Swiss education, I can tell you that techno is just the opposite. It is an intricate game of one-upsmanship and meaningful messages, with certain musicians attracting quite heavy followings not all too different from, for similarity’s sake, Girl Talk or MGMT. Americans like the music, but they don’t understand what makes it good and enjoyable, choosing to popularize songs that are complete afterthoughts to the artists’ european fans.

Serious example: Often in the West, we face a great deal of international issues relating to nations under the control of Islam, or at least heavily populated by Muslims. Often lost in the argument (I am very liberal, but also a probable religous studies major so bear with me) that much of the international crisis in the middle east comes not from Western greed, or poor foreign policy but rather an inevitable confronation between two radical schools of thought. We, as Americans, often believe that democracy will fix the troubles facing the various peoples of the middle east, however that notion is probably a fallacy. Muslims all believe in sharia law, currently under strict enforcement in Saudi Arabia and Iran although under different schools of thought, yet many Westerners look at this as oppressive. The truth is that sharia also serves as a form of arbitration for legal matters, thus limiting how useful a western legal system might be in a predominantly Muslim nation such as Palestine. In addition it serves as a set of living guidelines, giving defense to the poor and orphaned while providing legal defense for women (depending on how powerful women in a given nation may be) and a set of marrital obligations not found in Western culture. Thus, can we really say that our methods and beliefs can be blended into a culture that we rely on for business and political means?