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UNIT 4 Media and Identity Formation Does media influence society? Does society influence the media? LilnaBeth P. Somera, Ph.D. University of Guam.

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Presentation on theme: "UNIT 4 Media and Identity Formation Does media influence society? Does society influence the media? LilnaBeth P. Somera, Ph.D. University of Guam."— Presentation transcript:

1 UNIT 4 Media and Identity Formation Does media influence society? Does society influence the media? LilnaBeth P. Somera, Ph.D. University of Guam

2 126.9M people, 100M TV sets, 120.5M radios, 73M mobile phones, 99% literacy rate 86% read a newspaper daily, down from 91% fifteen years ago Japans 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 How much media exposure does the Japanese audience have? Japan Media Review Statistics, June 24, 2004:

3 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 Japans elite universities Japanese teens exemplify values which reflect 1. adherence to Confucian ideals of filial piety, family, etc. 2. the cultural focus on achievement and catching-up with the rest of the world 3.conformity with cultural norms and expectations

4 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.

5 1.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? 3.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? TOPICS TO BE COVERED

6 THE COUNTER-STEREOTYPES Fringe? Fad? Foretaste of the futures typical Japanese teenager? 1.Kawaii 2.Ganguro 3.Fruits 4.Otaku 5.Others – e.g., kogal

7 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 thecheenayja, 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.

8 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.

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

10 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 Japans 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.

11 5. 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. References to KEITAI culture has acquired a negative connotation because of the association with mobile-enabled prostitution.

12 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. Otakon 2004, Baltimore, MD, July 30-Aug.1, (site lists 168 groups worldwide) International Meetup on July 17, 2004

13 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

14 FRUITS!

15

16 Styles for girls Platform shoes, like the Ganguro

17 Not just for the girls…

18 Even for those clearly not in their teens anymore!

19 Fruity and kawaii at the same time!

20 The goal is to challenge traditional forms – Mohawks (has that become a tradition?) are only for men!)

21 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

22 125,000 yen First place winner, too 44,000 yen First place winner

23 44,400 yen 2 nd place 14,400 yen 2 nd place, too 46,900 yen 3 rd place Pearls not included!

24 But maybe some things havent changed. Netsukes and obis?

25 FRUITS A street fashion fad? Nothing more than the product of a shrewd marketing strategy? Youths expression rebellion against tradition? A symptom of broader changes in identity? Ultimately, the question is …

26 If youve been a fruit, can you still wear the kimono?


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