April 18, 2013 in Uncategorized
COMM2320 Media Industries 1
1) Li, Xiaochang, 2009, ‘Dis/locating audience : transnational media flows and the online circulation of East Asian television drama’, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Li investigates the networked mediascape that has paved way for the flow of transnational media at an increasingly fast rate. Li states that there are three characteristics that determine such flow.
The first being ‘That rather than being done away with, the national, regional, and local are being reconfigured and re-articulated through the transnational movement of texts…’ (pp. 9).
This then supports a structure that ‘media is ever increasingly and ever more explicitly not between producer and consumer, but through multi-stop routes in which the practices of production, distribution, and consumption are being reordered and becoming increasingly blurred..’(pp9).
Thus shifting and arguing that ‘audience practices are being facilitated by networked digital technologies that are creating new flows of transnational content through tasks such as subtitling, distribution, and content curation that reveal audiences to be active beyond acts of textual interpretation.’(pp9).
The paper takes these characteristics and first looks at the reproduction of famous dramas in the form of VCD that were circulated throughout Asia and the US in the 1990’s. Shifting from physical media to online, circulation is then broken up into three steps; ‘Production, aggregation and curation’. As production and consumption continues to blur, Li then looks at Fan-subbing and the ‘Fans’(if they can be called that) who fuel the transnational flow. Li’s paper attempts to answer ‘what happens when the destabilizing transnational mediascapes become radically networked?’
Taking the famous drama ‘Hana Yori Dango’ as a case study, Li offers reasoning for its transnational(global) success.
The major element being that dramas ‘“take you into another world” and make happen the things they “wish . . . would happen” as a key part of the appeal, since it presents “the ultimate fantasy world”’. This element of fantasy is what differentiates many dramas from a western counterpart; tapping into the hidden wishes of the viewer, irrespective of locale. Another successful element in Asian television drama is ‘The organization of drama fandom positions dramas as a system of texts that inform one another, so that no single text enacts a sense of absolute authority or closure.’
The paper provides an in-depth analysis of transnational media flow and supports its arguments using both academic sources and statements made by fans and consumers.
As a consumer of drama myself, it was interesting to reflect upon my own practices. The discourse made in this paper is an invaluable tool in further understanding the way in which this media travels.
2) Lin, C. A. 1993, ‘Cultural differences in message strategies: A comparison between American and Japanese TV commercials’, Journal of Advertising Research, pp. 40-49.
Lin’s Journal provides an extensive comparison of Japanese and American commercials. She analyses a number of factors that influence marketing campaigns in Japan that American companies attempt to adopt in order to run successfully.
Cultural Homogeneity is a large factor, Lin suggests that income is linked to employee seniority; meaning age and sex are the biggest determents in consumer marketing. Due to the Hierarchy Japanese culture constructs both in career and lifestyle, it is easy to see how this influences the market.
Traditional Values also play a large role in marketing. As Japanese is a language built on nuance, indirect communications are the norm due to traditional ways of communication; which is deeply embedded in the language.
Lin also suggests that Western actors, artifacts and languages are used to convey modernism and prestige. This is coupled by ‘Message Appeals’, Emotion appeals
that touch the sentimental Japanese heart.
In regards to Company image, Japanese companies tend to go for soft but dignified styles to win the consumer’s trust and respect.
Lin concludes in saying that her findings suggest that although cultural differences dictate strategy, there are certain commonalities.
She quotes Mueller suggesting an homogenized world culture were such idiosyncrasies will soon be lost.
From reading this journal, it supported a great deal of information collected regarding the style of Japanese Television dramas.
The way in which commercials are constructed seem to rely on the same values as those supporting Television drama.
3) Yoshimoto, M., Tsai, E., & Choi, J. (Eds.), 2010, ‘Television, Japan, and globalization’, Ann Arbor, MI: Center for Japanese Studies at the University of Michigan.
This book provides an extremely diverse analysis of Japanese Television and the many facets that contribute to its production and consumption. A collection of essays written by a number of prominent academics in this field (e.g, Iwabuchi, DeBoer, Choi…); The book defragments all aspects of Japanese Television.
Notable chapters include Iwabuchi’s chapter on the way ordinary foreigners on variety shows perceive Japanese Television. Iwabuchi begins by providing a discourse on Japanese national identity. Stating, ‘Japan is represented and represents itself as culturally and racially homogenous and uniquely particularistic by way of a strategic binary opposition between two imaginary cultural entities, “Japan and “the West”.’(pp28).
This ‘us’ and ‘them’ mentality(internationalist binary) is what Iwabuchi suggests started such a ‘multinational media spectacle’(pp28).
Iwabuchi describes the shift from an internationalism to globalism and then begins to speak about the way in which foreigners become ‘Gaijin-Tarento’ and feature on Television. Foreigners tend to be exploited on these shows, even half-japanese do not feel ‘Japanese’ in their own country. One Tarento saying, ‘…I am not that native. I know I am after all a foreigner here, even if I am a Japanese Brazilian…but the studio is the only public space where we can complain[about Japan] amd our say will be listened to. It is an exceptional occasion in a monotonous daily life…’ (pp46) Another notable piece is Lukac’s work on male TV drama producers and female script writers. A gender inequality that proves to create many issues, and the need for change.
The only criticism for this book would be the lack of audience voice; that is an extremely important aspect in terms of better understanding the relationships Japanese people have to their media.
Also the there was more a comparison between the East and West rather than from a transnational Asian perspective that I am looking for.
4) Thussu, Daya Kishan. (ed.), 2007, ‘Media on the move: Global flow and contra-flow’, London and New York: Routledge.
Iwabuchi Koichi , Chapter 4- ‘Japanese media in the global agora’.
Iwabuchi’s chapter investigates Japan’s media culture and states that it is celebrated both domestically and globally. Being recognized as ‘a global cool culture and Japan as a cultural super power’(pp61).
Iwabuchi suggests ‘Animation, computer games and characters may be recognized as originating in Japan and their consumption may well be associated with high technology or miniaturization; however, the appeal of such products is relatively autonomous from cultural images of the country of production.’(pp63)
Iwabuchi highlights the success of various shows such as ‘Sailor Moon’ and ‘Pokemon’; mentioning them as ‘culturally neutral’ in contrast to American shows that tend to impose American values through their consumption.
When Iwabuchi questioned a consumer of Japanese dramas, they replied in saying, ‘Japanese series reflect the reality of our lives. American series portray neither our real experiences nor our yearnings.’ Another commented, ‘I had never seen programmes that express what we feel as accurately as Japanese dramas do. Lifestyles and culture in the West are so different from ours that it’s hard to get emotionally involved in American TV series.’(pp66)
Shifting to transnational Television, Iwabuchi then speaks of many programs internationally that started from Japanese Programs. Some being ‘Funniest Home Videos’, ‘Takeshi’s Castle’ and ‘Iron Chef’.
Iwabuchi concludes by saying, ‘As states intensify their alliance with (multinational) corporations, it is becoming imperative that public dialogue with all citizens be promoted to discuss how ‘culture’ can be used for the maximization of social interests.’.
This chapter provided me with a better insight of the viewer’s mentalities on a Japanese level as well as touching on a more transnational Asian perspective.
5) Koichi Iwabuchi, 2010, ‘Globalization, East Asian media cultures and their publics’, Asian Journal of Communication, 20:2, 197-212.
Iwabuchi’s article argues that the rise of Asian media culture and its production fails to serve the interests of local, national and transnational publics. One reason being the way in which governments help fuel media production in their respected countries. This in turn creates an inequality that Iwabuchi thinks fails to serve. Iwabuchi states that ‘The shift of media policy discourses of East Asian governments from the protection of the populace from Western cultural invasion to the promotion of domestic media culture production to counter it, which was witnessed in the late 1990s (Wang, 1996), also reflected the ascendancy of local media cultures.’(pp199)
An interesting observation that Iwabuchi writes that is useful to our project is that
‘East Asian media cultures have long hybridized in local elements while absorbing American cultural influences, but cultural fusion among East Asian media culture has come to be generated too. Remaking of successful TV dramas and films from other parts of East Asia has been frequently done, especially between Japanese, Korean, Hong Kong and Taiwanese media texts, and Japanese comic series are often adapted for TV dramas and films outside Japan. In this process, the resulting texts dexterously blend in a variety of local elements, far from being mere imitations of original works.’.(pp199)
Iwabuchi continues to speak about the illegal distribution of transnational television through cheap media forms such as VCD.
Concluding in saying that also there has been a break away from western media, the imbalance caused by Asian governments in Asian media production questions whether or not there is true transnational dialogue and connections being created.
6) Sheridan G., 1999, ‘Introduction: Asian values live! Asian values, western dreams: understanding the new Asia’ (pp. 1-15) Sydney: Allen & Unwin.
Sheridan’s chapter provides an introductory insight into Asian values in comparison to that of its Western counterpart. Sheridan investigates and participates in the Asian values debate by referencing some key figures such as Mahbubani, Lee Kuan Yew and Hitchkok. Presenting both perspectives in this somewhat inconclusive debate , Sheridan attempts to explain the fundamental philosophies and mentalities that have created the Asian value system and emphasizes how important it is to view Asia in parts, differentiating, thus identifying the diverse values within the one system. Sheridan then references Hitchkok in a survey he conducted that showed interesting differences in Eastern and Western Values.
The chapter provokes many interesting questions and discussions, Why is Asia’s value system different to the west? Should Asia adopt a more Western value system in order to increase the rate in which it modernizes? Or should Asia use their own system and through that modernize? As the east and west are in a sense 2 sides of the same coin, it is important to respect the multi-faceted history and diversity within asia and thus allow it to grow. Asia can perhaps learn and take some concepts from the west if they want, grow for the better of humanity(west can also do the same) though ultimately their belief system is idiosyncratic and should be respected.
7) Sugitama, M., 2000, ‘Media and power in Japan.’ In J. Curran & M. J. Park (eds.), De-Westernizing Media Studies (pp. 191-201). London & New York: Routledge.
Sugitama begins by introducing various modernized mentalities of the 50’s and 60’s where the west had a somewhat dominant force over less developed countries. Sugitama states that it is more of a subordinate position that the other countries are in rather than that of equality.
The paper then goes on to talk of the drastic changes Japan has gone through due to the war and America having great influence over the media. Many transformations and politics have changed Japanese media to what it is today and how Japanese values play an important role in the way media is produced and presented and even shared. This differs greatly to the west.
Quite heavy this paper was due to the amount of history and content, but informative nonetheless. We must be mindful from a western perspective that asian values are respected when analyzing and influencing our eastern counterparts. Certain aspects work due to values that would probably not work here so instead of using a 50’s model to mould the east, they take a slightly different path.
8 ) Iwabuchi, Kōichi. 2004, Feeling Asian modernities : transnational consumption of Japanese TV dramas / edited by Koichi Iwabuchi Hong Kong University Press Hong Kong
This book has been one of my greatest resources, one reason being the level of investigation, analysis and diversity that this book has achieved
Iwabuchi’s collection of various essays by prominent academics challenges many ideas and analyses what exactly Japanese drama facilitates for society.
Taking Japanese as a cultural form, Iwabuchi suggests,” Japanese TV drama as a modern popular cultural form, though highly commercialized, pleasurably evokes the juxtaposed similarity and difference among contemporaneous “ Asian” modernities , something that American popular culture cannot achieve.”.
The book covers many topics, an interesting chapter regarding the mechanics and make-up of Japanese dramas. In summary, as nearly everything is based upon a western format, Japanese drama is a format developed from American popular culture. American popular culture gave birth to fusions we now see today (i.e. Japanese drama). Though through constant refinement and a meshing of Japanese values; Japanese dramas became an individual format of its own.
Furthering the book’s investigation, it outlines many types of dramas and their effects upon society. Stating, ‘The “superficial sense of reality” of dramas allows society to escape their weary and dead-end lives.’.
The book also touches upon Korea’s reception of Japanese drama and its potential to build a bridge between the two countries.
The book is filled with abundant amounts of information, making it extremely difficult to summarise. However after reading the papers in this book; the way in which Asia and Japan absorb Japanese Television is something that will be integral to further investigate in our final project.