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UNIT 4 Media and Identity Formation. LilnaBeth P. Somera, Ph.D. University of Guam . Does media influence society? Does society influence the media?. How much media exposure does the Japanese audience have? Japan Media Review Statistics, June 24, 2004:.

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slide1

UNIT 4

Media and Identity Formation

LilnaBeth P. Somera, Ph.D.

University of Guam

Does media influence society?

Does society influence the media?

slide2

How much media exposure does the Japanese audience have?

Japan Media Review Statistics, June 24, 2004:

  • 126.9M people, 100M TV sets, 120.5M radios, 73M mobile
  • phones, 99% literacy rate
  • 86% read a newspaper daily, down from 91% fifteen years ago
  • Japan’s 49M households bought about 47M newspaper

subscriptions in 2003

  • The Japanese spend about 21 minutes/day on average

reading the newspaper

  • Only 29% of the Japanese believe that “mass media generally

reports the truth”

  • 40% of the Japanese watch TV more than 4 hours/day

 Some 20% of the Japanese feel “uneasy without the TV on”

slide3

Will the real Japanese teenager please stand up?

  • THE STEREOTYPE
  • The teen years in Japan are intense years full of long school days followed by hours in cram schools preparing for exams which will allow them to enter Japan’s elite universities
  • Japanese teens exemplify values which reflect
  • 1. adherence to Confucian ideals of filial piety, family, etc.
  • the cultural focus on achievement and “catching-up” with
  • the rest of the world
  • conformity with cultural norms and expectations
slide4

CONTRASTING MEDIA IMAGES

  • self-absorbed teenagers whose main preoccupations are fashion, music, anime,video games and other products of gratification.
  • These images are assumed to be results of “Western influence,” and have been evident since the Elvis impersonators in the 1950s.
  • New media have projected these images more pervasively to increasingly larger audiences.
slide5

TOPICS TO BE COVERED

  • What do these media images suggest about the identity of Japanese teenagers in the context of economic challenges, changes in social structure, and the emergence of new technology?
  • 2. How different are they from American teenagers?
  • Are the images in the media reflective of typical teenagers, or “fringe” groups which, by sheer notoriety, gain media attention but do not necessarily provide representations of typical Japanese teenagers?
  • 4. To what extent do these media images influence other teenagers, both in Japan and in other places?
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THE COUNTER-STEREOTYPES

Fringe? Fad? Foretaste of the future’s

“typical Japanese teenager?”

  • Kawaii
  • Ganguro
  • Fruits
  • Otaku
  • Others – e.g., kogal
slide7

1. KAWAII – From the Japanese term which means cute or adorable, it refers to the look represented by Hello Kitty, Sanrio, and other similar labels preferred by the ‘cheenayja,’ the term used to refer to the consumer market of people who are not adults, yet not children, which emphasizes trends and follows a current fashion.

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 2.GANGURO

literally "face-black," a fashion trend among Japanese girls, which was an outgrowth of chapatsu hair dyeing. (Some sources say that the "gan" syllable in ganguro is actually from the term "gan-gan", a vulgar emphasis word somewhat like the British use of "bloody.“)

The basic look is bleached-blond hair and a deep tan, produced by tanning beds or makeup. The intent is to produce the tanned, blond California beach girl look.

.Accessories include high platform shoes or boots, purikura photo stickers, and cellular phones.

 It goes against the grain of the usual Japanese standard of female beauty, which calls for skin as white as possible. The roots of the trend are said to be in the mid-1990s, starting with a popular tanned Okinawan singer named Amuro Namie and black British fashion model Naomi Campbell.

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3. FRUITS – the street fashion image featuring outrageous combinations of color and form which challenges all traditional concepts of coordination, symmetry, and style

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4. OTAKU

  • In contrast to the other groups, otaku are not fashionistas
  • the term is associated with fans of manga and anime, and suggests a disregard for personal appearance and a

preoccupation with technology, the collection

of bizarre data.

According to Karo Greenfield, OTAKU are part of Japan’s “speed generation” and a society “in symbiosis with the machine,” “where grandmothers in kimonos bow in gratitude to their automated banking machines, young couples bring hand-held computer games along for romantic evenings out, and workers on a Tokyo assembly line vote their robot coworkers into the Auto Workers Union.”

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Other groups have emerged in recent years, such as the KOGYARU or KOGALl, which are typically girls and young women in urban areas “characterized by high disposable incomes and unique tastes in fashion, music, and social activity.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kogal

  •   References to KEITAI culture has acquired a negative connotation because of the association with mobile-enabled prostitution.
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ELEMENTS OF SIMILARITY AND/OR

DIFFERENCES BETWEEN JAPANESE

AND AMERICAN TEENAGERS’ IDENTITY

AS REFLECTED IN MEDIA IMAGES

  • Television commercials
  • Movies
  • Print ads
  • DIRECTION OF INFLUENCE
  • Western influence – American images in Japanese media
  • Eastern influence – Kawaii, Fruits, and Otaku in the U.S.
  • http://www.otakon.com/default2.asp

Otakon 2004, Baltimore, MD, July 30-Aug.1, 2004

  • http://fruits.meetup.com/ (site lists 168 groups worldwide)

International Meetup on July 17, 2004

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Unit Project

Study the concept of identity by focusing on a specific image of Japanese teenagers in the media, FRUITS.

  •  Join a meet-up online
  •  Collect a variety of media images
  •  Look for patterns in the images,
  • Examine possible relationships with traditional

Japanese elements

slide16

Styles for girls

Platform shoes, like the Ganguro

slide18

Even for those

clearly not in their

teens anymore!

slide19

Fruity and

kawaii at the

same time!

slide20

The goal is to challenge traditional forms –

Mohawks (has that become a tradition?) are

only for men!)

slide21

MEDIA PRESENCE (degree of pervasiveness, ease of access,

  • type of media, etc.)
  • validates and reifies group identity
  • variations in types of access, cross-over to

other communication channels (e.g., from

print to television, to interpersonal

interactions

Results of Kyoto FRUIT competition

May, 2004 

slide22

44,000 yen

First place winner

125,000 yen

First place winner, too

slide23

44,400 yen

2nd place

14,400 yen

2nd place, too

46,900 yen

3rd place

Pearls not included!

slide25

FRUITS

A street fashion fad?

Nothing more than the product of a shrewd

marketing strategy?

Youth’s expression rebellion against tradition?

A symptom of broader changes in identity?

Ultimately, the question is …