Presentation on theme: "Japan’s Genderism Arc: Assessing two decades of gender ads Todd Holden Tohoku University Talk delivered at University of California, Irvine April 25, 2013."— Presentation transcript:
Japan’s Genderism Arc: Assessing two decades of gender ads Todd Holden Tohoku University Talk delivered at University of California, Irvine April 25, 2013
Opening Comments I want to thank you for taking the time at the end of your day, near the end of the week, to participate in this talk I also would like to thank Ed Fowler for the original invitation and Hu Ying for overseeing the numerous details that eventuating in today’s discussion
Opening Comments It’s been nearly three centuries since I went to school here at UCI – I spent the better part of three years over in Mesa Court, back when Estrella was the last line of unit fronting Campus Drive – The campus and environs have changed enormously – Most notably, the addition of an In ‘n Out over in University center – And the addition of basically every building beyond the inner ring of Aldrich Park So, this return to the campus has been rather sobering. Life certainly does move on
Opening Comments Once it was determined that I was going to come speak, the question then became: what to speak about? We knew it would be something about gender Something, too, about Japan So, that helped narrow it down – I’ve done work on gender in Japanese advertising, so that seemed like a natural fit – But I’ve also written about gender in cooking shows on TV – Gendered discourse in fashion magazines – And also hyper-sexualized content on TV
Opening Comments Even within the advertising area, I’ve looked at different ways in which gender is communicated: From ad formats To repeated visual tropes and semiotic strategies, such as: Color Nature-based associations Gender roles Sexuality and sexism
Opening Comments But my more recent research has been on Japan’s sports nationalism And for the past 2 years I’ve been preoccupied with writing about Three-Eleven
Opening Comments So, this left a certain dilemma about what to address today. In thinking about what to talk about upon the occasion of my return to UCI, I was struck by the theme of returning, in general, Which led me to think back on my career, to date. I wondered about the degree to which life moves on, if at all, and if so, in what ways. And so, thinking about one of the earliest work that I conducted on gender in advertising, I was compelled to ask the question: “does it?”
Opening Comments In this talk I will present a number of examples of ads from a range of years - some with subtitles, other with loose translation afterward Because of the enormous complexity of Japanese advertising, not everything will relate to gender in any one ad. Things may jump out at you (about family, about nationalism, about technology, about the human condition, about consumption, capitalism, social welfare) that you may wish to discuss. If you have questions or comments about these additional elements, I would encourage you to raise them during the question and answer, afterward.
Opening Comments: About Advertising Before beginning, let me offer a set of simple, (hopefully non-controversial) assumptions which has underlay my research these many years: 1. Advertising is part and parcel of the society in which it originates 2. It contains symbolic content that both reflects and can influence society 3. Its content is amenable to systematic collection and assessment, such that discursive threads pertaining to social organization, values and behaviors can be gleaned.
About Japanese Advertising 4. Japan, with the second largest advertising market in the world (as measured in amount of money spent on ads), serves as an enormous daily presence in the lives of Japanese (source: Zenith Optimedia)Zenith Optimedia
About Japanese Advertising 5. Japanese advertising is among the most sophisticated in the world. A function of a competitive market – In one month, 99,933 ads are shown – In one day 3,331 shown – In Tokyo alone, among the 5 major stations, there will be 666 ads shown on each station* In short, the information context is saturated with ideas, images, jingles, actors, products – Which, of course, is additive in terms of messages of consumerism, consumption and lifestyle Both a byproduct and motor for this information process is the semiotic sophistication among its audience ---- * Source: テレビ広告統計 / ビデオリサーチ, http://www.videor.co.jp/solution/ad-plan/tv- ad/cmstatic.htm
About Japanese Advertising: Use of Traditional Ad Formats Similar to other cultural contexts, Japanese ads have historically employed the 4 standard formatic approaches: Utility Product symbol Personalization Lifestyle
About Japanese Advertising: Product Utility Format The focus is on the product. Ad rhetoric is rational; demonstrations help venerate the product. 2012
About Japanese Advertising: The Product Symbol Utility gives way to abstract qualities and values. Products signal qualities that the users would like to have/embody. Hence, the people in the ads are not autonomous entities, but are exemplars of societal values. Messages about status, family, health, and authority dominate.
About Japanese Advertising: The Personalization Format The model is stylized; her gaze authoritative. The objects she employs enters the sphere of ordinary experience, and provides insight into the user’s psychology. 2012
About Japanese Advertising: The Lifestyle Format Consumption is a spectacle; a public enterprise. Products serve a totem function; they are badges of group membership and facilitate social differentiation. 2012
About Japanese Advertising: Advanced Formats in the past 20 years, it has developed its own communication modalities. Above all: a.Post-Modern b.Product least c.“Ukiyo-ad”
Advanced Formats: The Post-Modern Approach An emphasis on non-sense and non-sequitur. This approach is reflexive, culturally and historically referential and re/producing.
Advanced Formats: Product least Formats Discourse about many things, but only minimally—if at all—about the product
Advanced Formats: Product least Formats Discourse in the bulk of the ad has little or nothing to do with the product.
Advanced Formats: Product least Formats Products come last, and don’t figure into the ad proper.
The Audience for Japanese Advertising A final aspect of Japanese advertising is, as audience research suggests, Japanese consumers are aware of the content of Japanese ads and even manage to work the ideas, jingles, themes and images into their daily lives. It is less clear the degree to which it influences ways of thinking and behavior.
About Media and Japan One more line of brief discussion prior to delving into today’s topic is the media environment in Japan. In general, Japan is one of the world’s most mediated, information rich contexts. For instance: 1.In 2010* Japan’s communications sector had the third greatest revenue per capita, behind the U.S. and Australia (@ £871ph). a)Its telecom sector was 2 nd behind Australia (at £624ph) b)Its television sector was 2 nd behind the U.S. (at £226ph) 2.Its advertising revenue was 2 nd (to the U.S. (at £28 billion) 3.43% of its advertising revenue was allocated to TV 4.Roughly equal amounts (16%) allocated to Newspapers, Outdoor, and Internet a)The mobile advertising market was 1 st with £6.52 spent per person ----- * Source (1-4): “International Communications Market Report, 2011”, Ofcom, 14 December 2011, http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/binaries/research/cmr/cmr11/icmr/ICMR2011.pdf
About Media and Japan 5. Mobile cellular subscribers was 7 th (behind the far more populous countries: China, India, U.S., Indonesia, Brazil, and Russia) # 6. Japan was 2 nd in the number of Internet hosts available within a country 7. 3 rd (behind China and the U.S.) in the number of Internet users 8. Japan 2 nd most in daily newspaper circulation (behind China)+ 9. 3 rd in TVs (behind China and the U.S.) In short, Japan is a heavily mediated, information rich, highly-consumed milieu ----- # Source (5-7): CIA World Factbook: https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/index.html + Source (8-9): http://www.nationmaster.com/index.php
A Caveat In this talk I will be open to the possibility that my claim about the Genderism Arc is flawed. But just to alert you: I am going to say something along the lines of: looking back at 25 years of gender in Japanese advertising, there are sufficient markers to argue that there has been change, yet, in the final analysis, there has not been much change at all. To begin us moving down that road, let’s consider two ads—one from 2008 and another from 2013.
Anessa One might characterize the first ad as typical in Japan It follows a certain form and belongs to a certain type (among many) An emphasis on women stripped down Their physical attributes highlighted Little or no voice Carefree Ogled by the camera It would be easy to locate a slew of such ads to convince a neutral observer The type has played for over 5 decades – Adjusted to reflect shifts in social mores For instance, in the ’60s a long full-length shot of the bikini might have been enough; in the ’90s a close- up of the cleavage, and in the 2000s, a topless shot with a strategically-placed elbow It has been reinforced by repeated mediations from multiple sources TV shows during “Golden Time” Nikkatsu Roman Porno films of the 1970s and 1980s an enormous adult video market, facilitated by the Internet Extensive presence of specialty manga, anime, and men’s magazines All of this a part of an ubiquitous “hyper-sexualized discourse”
Netz One aspect of Anessa is the partialing of women’s bodies My earlier research 2 tended to show that men were far less partialed than women and seldom the crotch or buttocks Obviously, this was not the case in the Netz commercial Where the man is no less sexualized than the women of the first ad The male body was presented as a hyper-sexual object – Which, in this ad, was likened to the car whose main feature is its rear hatch. ----- 2 “The Commercialized Body: A Comparative Study of Culture and Values,” Interdisciplinary Information Sciences. Vol. 2, No. 2 (November 1996):199- 215.
A Preliminary Hypothesis Judged only from these two ads, it might be claimed that Japan’s advertising has changed or is changing. Assuming that other, similar examples could be found, it might be possible to posit a shift in societal attitudes or views. – And this is something that I will interrogate today This begs the question, of course, whether such change, if true, would amount to positive change... – But I will leave that aside for the moment
Genderisms in Japan Let’s first think a bit about Genderisms in Japan. The word “genderism” derives from Erving Goffman’s path-breaking work on gender advertisements (1974). In work now a decade old, 1 I treated a systematically-collected sample of Japanese television ads to content analysis. My primary aim was to determine whether the presentational categories that Goffman found in Canadian magazines of the 1970s applied to Japanese TV in the 1990s. In every case, his findings were verified, despite appearing in a: different medium, different time slice, very different cultural context. ----- 1 “ ‘I'm Your Venus/You're a Rake’: Gender and the grand narrative in Japanese television advertising,” Intersections: Gender, History and Culture in the Asian Context, Issue 3 (February 2000).
Genderisms in Japan Additionally, via induction, other approaches to gender were found that weren’t a part of Goffman’s sample. These included:
Gender Advertisements, Japan And to some degree, you can see some of these elements in the first 2 ads shown: Women as social Men as loners (or, at least, depicted alone) Women as tactile Women objectified Women as sexually aggressive (in this case, not demure)
Gender Advertisements, Japan In other aspects, the two ads fall short of the mark Women are not confined to the inside, while the man seems to be on a set, indoors The man is equally objectified The man is sexually aggressive – Although his behavior can also be explained by what I have termed the “gaijin exception”—in which foreigners are wont to present themselves as extreme and in contradistinction to Japanese rules of behavior
The Ad Copy Mother: Welcome Fiance: pleased to meet you Mother (to herself): she’s cute Eldest son (stern, to his younger brother): why are you here? Mother (to herself): She has good character Mother (to the table): well (I’ll clean up) Fiance: I’ll help you Mother (to herself): her cooking is not yet ready, but... Stove: the food is done cooking Mother (to herself): it looks like my work as a mother is complete Fiance: Wow (this looks great) Mother: My son... Please treat him well Fiance: and you to me, too (please) Mother (to herself): It’s lonely, but... Congratulations.
Astronaut “Before getting stuck with a job that really isn’t for you, use this site.” (jobs wanted) Are any of these factors meaningful?: The fact that the woman is an astronaut (and the text states she isn’t suited for her job) The fact that she is crying as a response to her situation The fact that her bosses are men
Demography: Population Trends We all are aware that Japan’s population is aging – Since 1995 (when 15-64 year-olds peaked at 69.5%), the percentage of 65 and older has grown from 14.5% to the current 23.3% – The largest percentage, by far, of any G20 nation – For reference, the U.S. is at 13.1% – Since 1997, the eldest group has outnumbered the youngest group The population is also in decline – 2011 was the first year that the average annual rate of increase dipped below zero. At last report it was -0.2 Women have consistently (but only slightly) outnumbered men since 1930 – But the gap has steadily (though again slightly) increased since 2000 Source: The Statistics Bureau and the Director-General for Policy Planning of Japan, Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications
Demography: Life Events Life expectancy for women is the highest in the world (at 85.9 years) For men, it is 3 rd highest (at 79.4 years), behind Switzerland (80.2) and Sweden (79.8) The marriage rate has declined by nearly half – From 10.3 per 1000 in 1970 to 5.8 per 1000 in 2011. With the average age of first marriages steadily rising for both sexes since 1950 – From 25.9 to 30.7 for men – From 23.0 to 29.0 for women The divorce rate has declined from a high in 2002 of about 2.2 per 1000. It is currently around 2 per 1000. Source: The Statistics Bureau and the Director-General for Policy Planning of Japan, Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications
Trending Inequality? There Has Been An Alarming Spike In Gender Inequality In Japan Gus Lubin | Dec. 18, 2012, 9:57 AM | 3,846 | 6 Gus Lubin6 After 17 years of growing support for gender equality in Japan, there was a dramatic reversal in a survey released yesterday. The share of Japanese who thought wives should stay at home jumped 10.3 percentage points to 51.6 percent between 2009 and 2012, according to The Yomiuri Shimbun.The Yomiuri Shimbun The biggest shift occured among youth, as 55.7 percent of men in their twenties said wives should stay home, up 21.4 points from the last survey. The percentage among women in the same age bracket rose 15.9 points to 43.7 percent. The shift appears to be related to the weak economy. Prof. Kakuko Miyata of Meiji Gakuin University tells Yomiuri: "I suspect young people today are deeply concerned about their futures because of prolonged difficulty in finding jobs and the sluggish economy, so they may wish for the home to be a source of emotional support." BI contributor Wolf Richter draws a similar conclusion:Wolf Richter draws a similar conclusion Young people have grown up with this scenario, see it every day, know there is no longer a good exit from the debacle. It’s too late. The pile of debt is too big. Promises about job security and retirement are illusory. They work longer hours for less pay than their predecessors, don’t have enough money to move out from home, and consume practically everything they make. What's most alarming this trend is how it could spread around the world. Whether or not America is turning into Japan, it and all developed countries face structural employment crises and years of low growth. This is certainly an environment in which feminism could recede (or conversely in which men will get the short end of the stick).America is turning into Japanstructural employment crises and years of low growth men will get the short end of the stick SOURCE: http://www.businessinsider.com/japan-is-giving-up-on-gender-equality-2012-12
Gender In/Equality: Statistics Population (in Mil.) 127.8 Population (in Mil.) Gross Domestic Product (In USD Billions - WB) 5,867.15 Gross Domestic Product (In USD Billions - WB) Sex Ratio (m/f) 0.95 Sex Ratio (m/f) Life Expectancy Ratio (f/m) 1.086 Life Expectancy Ratio (f/m) Fertility Rate 1.21 Fertility Rate Income Ratio (f/m) 0.45 Income Ratio (f/m) Literacy Ratio (f/m) 1 Literacy Ratio (f/m) Tertiary Enrollment Ratio (f/m) 0.89 Tertiary Enrollment Ratio (f/m) Women in Parliament (in %) 9 INDICES Human Development Index 12/169 Human Development Index Social Institutions and Gender Index - /86 Social Institutions and Gender Index Gender Inequality Index 12/138 Gender Inequality Index Women’s Economic Opportunity Index 32/113 Women’s Economic Opportunity Index Global Gender Gap Index 94/134 Global Gender Gap Index
Gendered Language The Japanese language has some words and some grammatical constructions that are associated with men or boys, while others are associated with women or girls. Such differences are sometimes called "gendered language." In Japanese, speech patterns associated with women are referred to as onna kotoba ( 女言葉, "women's words") or joseigo ( 女性語, "women's language").Japanese language In general, the words and speech patterns associated with men are seen as rough, vulgar, or abrupt, while those associated with women are considered more polite, more deferential, or "softer". Some linguists consider the rough/soft continuum more accurate than the male/female continuum. For example, Eleanor Harz Jorden in Japanese: The Spoken Language refers to the styles as blunt/gentle, rather than male/female. Eleanor Harz JordenJapanese: The Spoken Language  There are no gender differences in written Japanese (except in quoted speech), and almost no differences in polite speech (teineigo), since males take on "softer" speech, except for the fact that women may be more likely to use polite speech in the first place. teineigocitation needed (From WIKI)
Gendered Language 2 The word onnarashii ( 女らしい ), which is usually translated as "ladylike" or "feminine," refers to the behaviour expected of a typical Japanese woman. As well as behaving in particular ways, being onnarashii means conforming to particular styles of speech. Some of the features of women’s speech include speaking in a higher register, using more polite forms and using polite speech in more situations, and the use of particular "intrinsically feminine" words. [clarification needed] clarification needed Feminine speech includes the use of specific personal pronouns, omission of the copula da, use of feminine sentence finals such as wa, and the more frequent use of the honorific prefixes o and go. copulahonorific According to Katsue Akiba Reynolds, ladylike speech is instrumental in keeping Japanese women in traditional roles and reflects Japanese society’s concept of the difference between women and men.  For example, there is the potential for conflict for women in the workplace in that, to be onnarashii, a woman must speak politely, submissively and humbly, yet to command respect as a superior, she must be assertive, self-assured, and direct, even when dealing with male subordinates. Miyako Inoue is also critical of the way gender difference in speech is portrayed in Japan.  Miyako Inouecitation needed (FROM WIKI)
Gendered Language 3 Traditional characteristics of Japanese men's speech Just as there are modes of speaking and behaviour that are considered intrinsically feminine, there are also those that are considered intrinsically masculine. In speech, being otokorashii ( 男らしい, "manly" or "masculine") means speaking in a lower register, using fewer polite forms and using them in fewer situations, and using intrinsically masculine words. In particular, masculine speech is characterized by particular masculine personal pronouns, the informal ("da") in place of the copula desu, masculine sentence finals such as zo, and less frequent use of honorific prefixes. (FROM WIKI)
Gendered Language 4 As women gain an increasing leadership role in Japanese society, notions of onnarashisa and otokorashisa, that is, what is deemed appropriate behavior for men and women, have evolved over time. Although comparatively more extreme movements call for the elimination of gender differences in the Japanese language (gender-neutral language), convergence in usage is considered unlikely and may not even be desirable. Instead, trends in actual usage indicate that women are feeling more comfortable using traditional characteristics of female speech (such as wa) while still maintaining an assertive attitude on par with men. In other words, there is a gradual decoupling of language forms and traditional cultural expectations. gender-neutral languagecitation needed Although the characteristics of Japanese male speech have been largely unaffected, there has been an increasing sensitivity regarding certain usages (such as calling mature women -chan) that may be considered offensive. Regional dialect may often play a role in the expression and perception masculinity or femininity of speech in Japanese. Another recent phenomenon influencing established femininity in speech is the popularity of おか ま Okama, very feminine men as popular 芸能人 Geinoujin (television personalities). While homosexuality and transgenderism is still a fairly taboo subject in Japan, lesbians with male traits, or cross-dressers, are referred to as onabe or tachi. [clarification needed]Okamaclarification needed (FROM WIKI)
Gendered Discourse One of the patent distinctions between men and women in Japanese ads is the association of women with nature and men with build or artificial environments. This has numerous manifestations with existential implications It can be seen in the following two ads:
A Different Sort of Discourse Of course, both protagonists in these ads are dressed in uniforms (the student in seifuku, the sarariman in his grey suit) Both active (the girl dances and the man boxes) And both receive needed relief from the product However, the commentary about their lives differs greatly. – She is free outdoors, in the shadow of the Kai- Komagatake in the “Southern Alps” (Yamanashi-ken) – He is stuck at his desk in an office
A Different Sort of Discourse The office and the ring are equated As are his work and the muscular foreign opponent Of course, the girl is heading off to a bounded context where her freedom will be curtailed (i.e. school) and the man, presumably, has gained a measure of closure to his burdensome work (with the knockout) But the larger point is that this manner of perception (and, hence, presentation) is quite common: – women in nature, and – men in the constructed world
Women and Water Earlier research showed unequivocally that, when it came to water, men would do anything to avoid contact with it, while women would submerge themselves fully. In most cases, when men came into contact with water, bad things happened to them. Women, by contrast, were often accorded magical powers when contacting water. The following ad, shows some of that, but also provides a twist: bad things keep happening to the woman, although the men still manage to avoid contact with water.
Messages of Difference Within the ad the comparison of physical ability (between men and women) jumps out But so, too, is the emphasis on repeated failure – This might be a commentary on female weakness – But it might just as well be the Japanese penchant for sadism Which any regular viewer of network variety shows will recognize So, too, in Japanese pornography
Relative Freedoms Returning to the earlier comparison (of the school girl and office worker), the messages might have come as some surprise, as women have historically had far less autonomy and were confined to particular spaces – Home, for instance – With less life chances and less upward mobility once in the labor force – So here is one area that we might say Japan is changing or, at least, its ads are – But, in fact, its ads have, for the last few decades, accorded women more extensive opportunities than perhaps the empirical reality suggests.
Demography: Labor Consider, for instance, recent labor statistics. Overall, Japan's labor force has been on a path of decline since is historic high (of 67.93 million) in 1998. – There was growth in 2005, due to the increased participation of the elderly. – However, since 2008 the figure began declining again due to the economic downturn – It is expected to continue shrinking as the birth rate falls and the population continues to age. In 2011 the overall labor force participation rate was 59.3% (a slight drop of 0.4%) – 71.2 % for men (down 0.4%) – 48.2% for women (down 0.3%). Source: The Statistics Bureau and the Director-General for Policy Planning of Japan, Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications
Demography: Gender by Occupation These gender differences are amplified when one looks at where participation transpires. Women clearly have less participation options than men. For instance: – Men comprise: 98.2% of Transportation work 94.9% of the Security posts 88.1% of Administrative and Management positions 71.9% of the Manufacturing jobs – Whereas, women’s majorities are found as: 67.2% of Service positions 59.0% of Clerical workers Source: The Statistics Bureau and the Director-General for Policy Planning of Japan, Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications
Demography: Gender by Occupation According to a 2010 survey* by the Gender Equality Bureau Cabinet Office, women constituted only 6.2% of Section Managers or higher in private companies * Source: http://www.gender.go.jp/english_contents/mge/process/index.html
Gender (In)Equality But an October 2012 report by the World Economic Forum, Japan ranks 101 st in gender equality among 135 countries The lowest of the G8 Iceland: 1 st Finland: 2 nd Norway: 3 rd The U.S.: 22 nd. The report indicates that Japan’s GDP would increase by 16% if the gender gap was closed ----- Source: Asahi Shimbun http://ajw.asahi.com/article/behind_news/social_affairs/AJ201210250065
Women’s Economic Opportunity Index A recent effort to assess the laws, regulations, practices, and attitudes that affect women workers and entrepreneurs uses 26 indicators to evaluate every aspect of the economic and social value chain for women, from fertility to retirement. It finds that Japan ranks 32 nd among Sweden: 1 (88.21) U.S.: 15 th (76.72) Japan: 32 nd (68.15)
Gender Gap Index Compare this, though, with The Global Gender Gap Report’s index. It assesses 134 countries on how well they divide resources and opportunities amongst male and female populations. The size of the gender inequality gap is gauged in 4 areas: 1.Economic participation and opportunity 2.Educational attainment 3.Health and survival 4.Political empowerment In 2010, the GGGI value was: Iceland 1 st (0.8496) United States 19 th (0.7411) Japan 94 th (0.6524)
Gender Equity Index And similarly this one—where 157 countries were ranked by combining measures of women's relative economic participation, education and empowerment. It found: SWEDEN: 1 st U.S.: 25 th JAPAN: 93 rd
Construction of Gender Opportunity can be a function of infrastructure and resources, as well as intellectual climate. Japan surely possesses the former. The question becomes: “what of the latter?” One might wonder whether media messages serve as an attitudinal primer. Whether ads aid in the on-going social construction of gender or merely reflect it is an empirical question. However, a review of ad text clearly leads one to believe that gender roles are constantly being communicated in advertising. Here is a popular ad from the 1990s, for Cup Noodles
In short, the ad supports the view that, since earliest times, adult males ventured out to hunt, while adult females remained back at home base, caring for the young.
Constructing Gender The definition of women and men (and their differentiation) is a preoccupation in Japanese advertising. It is particularly noticeable in ads for a single product, aimed at men and women as distinct consumption communities. This is exemplified by the following ad for Milk
Competing Conceptions In the female version, young women are depicted as focused on the emotional – They want to be desired Whereas in the male version, young men are depicted as focused on the physical – They want to have and employ strength to fulfill the act of desiring
Constructing Gender Of course, there may be other views of empowerment—or at least a myth of it. We find this sort of view in the following ad. This is part of a larger way of explaining Japanese advertising what I call “Ukiyo-ads” And, although I won’t go into that aspect of these fully-realized communication “strips”, I do want to emphasize this articulation of gender relations.
Assessment This is an enormously thick communication And can be assessed from perspective such as labor, social relations, traditional culture, as well as gender I actually employ it as part of a larger discussion of what I call “Ukiyo-ads”—part of the floating world of contemporary television in Japan that presents fully- formed worlds conveying (and helping to reproduce) essential cultural content. It also serves in a clever way to reify “nihonjinron”— the theory of Japanese exceptionalism – and does so by enlisting Tommy Lee Jones, an actual alien, to reprise some version of his role as “K”, the agent who polices extraterrestrial alien refugees living in disguise. – In this case, though, Jones is an alien who has come to Earth (or, actually, Japan) in a human form, to learn about human (actually, Japanese) culture.
Assessment At last count the series has had over 38 installments; This has enabled the producers to explore numerous themes: – From the jobs and social types in contemporary Japanese society – To the values and practices that undergird culture (making Japan so special)
The Human Development Index (HDI) A summary measure of human development published by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Draws attention to aspects of development that focus on the expansion of choices and freedoms, not just income. The HDI measures the average achievements in a country in three basic dimensions of human development: A long and healthy life, as measured by life expectancy at birth. Knowledge, as measured by the adult literacy rate (with two-thirds weight) and the combined primary, secondary and tertiary gross enrollment ratio (with one-third weight). A decent standard of living, as measured by GDP per capita in purchasing power parity (PPP) terms in US dollars Norway: 1 st United States: 4 th Japan: 12 th
Gender, Power and the Prospect for change One claim might be that japan will never completely equalize its gender relations since the language has inherent bias built into it
Gendered Advertising One area where I’ve done a lot of work over the past 25 years is advertising – Especially Japanese advertising – And, within Japan, gendered advertising We find significant amount of genderisms in Japanese ads Construction of male, female Views of gender roles Views of sexuality, by gender
Example 2: Hetero-normative Discourse This ad tells a story in which the male who comes to a city to attend college and knows nothing of the city is attracted to women He is searching for a partner/girlfriend He finds all the women with extremely masculine voices And picks the only one he encounters without a manly voice – Despite the fact that she is plain. – In the end it turns out that all the women in the city are rabid soccer fans and that is the cause for their voice condition – He could have selected a woman more attractive had he known that this wasn’t a permanent condition or implying a possible congenital issue pertaining to gender – There is not only hetero-normativity at work here – But also a preference for/emphasis on “beauty”
Playing at the Edges Thus, it is not a great surprise to know that there is space for homo-erotic expression The only surprise would be the nature of the expression
Playing at the Edges I: Tatemae and Honne There has always been an element of “don’t ask, don’t tell” about Japanese life. It has been installed in the cultural principle of honne/tatemae A long-regarded principle of social structuration in Japan – Viewed by Doi as being of paramount importance. * The distinction is made between a person's true feelings and desires (honne) and the behavior and opinions one displays in public (tatemae) It can be thought of as akin to “frontstage”/”backstage” or appearance and reality Honne may be carefully hidden from all but one’s family or close friends – It may be contrary to what is expected by society or what is required according to one's position and circumstances Tatemae is what is expected by society and required according to one's position and circumstances – Which may not match one's honne. ------- * Doi, Takeo (1973), The Anatomy of Dependence: Exploring an area of the Japanese psyche: feelings of indulgence, Kodansha International.
Playing at the Edges There has always been an element of “don’t ask, don’t tell” about Japanese life. It has been installed in the cultural principle of honne/tatemae, which states Thus, it is not a great surprise to know that there is space for homo-erotic expression The only surprise would be the nature of the expression
Playing at the Edges In this ad, we see the transformation of a heterosexual encounter into a homosexual one. Interestingly, the “victim” of the ruse is not angry, but rather grateful
Playing at the Edges And in this ad, we see a popular girl’s group, AKB48, being depicted in ways that move beyond the sort of “sisterly affection” that has been a staple of advertising, TV programming and Japanese fashion for decades
Playing at the Edges Neta (resting above) and Shari (bed of rice) supreme encounter
Pico Iyer Japanese: “the masters of nothing at all”. With regard to Soseki Natsume, Iyer opines: “Nothing is happening on the surface of his characters’ lives even as so much in the public domain seems a whirlwind of movement and perpetual self- reinvention. But each of these may be as deceiving as the other, as evidenced by the fact that, after a century of turmoil and convulsive change, Japan seems not so different, in its questions, from where it was in Soseki’s time. In Soseki, as in Japan, it’s the fact of nothing happening...” ----- Source: The New York Review of Books, February 7, 2013; Volume 60, Number 2
A Discursive Shift? And then, of course, we come to the ad that we saw at the outset. – The surprise of a model who the viewer expected was a woman – And that expectation was based on years of conditioning in which: Advertising partials women Sexualizes their body parts And uses camera and editing techniques to signal that this sexualization has occurred The presentation encourages the viewer to engage in a visual consumption of the model So while one might argue that things have changed (it is the man being exploited, partialed, ogled, visually raped), they haven’t changed at all. – The visual strategy is hyper-sexualization – The sexism is being perpetrated on men, in this case
Conclusions The Implications of a “Genderism Arc” – There is a line that can be plotted from beginning to end – Or at least a path with a discernible shape – One expects it to have a movement where beginning and ending points differ But what my review of these ads show is that for all the movement it seems as if there has been little actual change
This is an ad idea which has been reproduced (pardon the pun) in a number of countries It has a clear sexual dimension Also sexist A standard trope in the U.S. might have been a concluding shot of the product being consumed – Thereby justifying the embarrassment that the woman feels for having been publicly exposed In this ad, however, the concluding shot (prior to the product) is the young woman’s reaction. A feeling of shame mixed with what Japanese say “shoganai” (can’t be helped). Then emphasizing the product (as worthy of justifying the compromising act)
When looking at Japanese media products it seems that there are levels of consciousness and/or recognition In this way, they may be similar to honne and tatemae Although there is something of permissible levels within the society – For instance, I mentioned Roman Porno before. It seems to exist at a level of quotidian “taken for grantedness” that women have been viewed as objects for sadomasochistic treatment – In a way that, at one point in time, was almost the collective tatemae
Nikkatsu Trailer Which, though almost cartoonish, can also be understood as one way of seeing men and women at a particular time.
Nikkatsu Trailer (CineFamily) In a way that has become accepted as stylized “art”
Murder The Yomiuri Shimbun A Romanian boy was arrested Friday on suspicion of murder-robbery after he was apprehended Thursday near the site where a 22-year-old woman was killed in the Kichijoji district of Musashino, Tokyo. The 17-year-old boy reportedly admitted stabbing and robbing Arisa Yamada, a restaurant employee who lived near the crime scene, with his 18- year-old Japanese friend. A DNA test has confirmed that the blood found on the arrested boy's glove matches Yamada's, and the Metropolitan Police Department is now looking for the Japanese boy. According to a senior MPD officer, the two boys allegedly attacked Yamada from behind at about 1:50 a.m. Thursday, stabbing her several times and stealing her belongings, including her wallet and a bag. The police found the arrested boy several hours later in front of Kichijoji Station, about 500 meters from the murder site. He reportedly told police that he decided to rob someone after spending all of his money at an arcade, thinking it would be easier to get money by stabbing someone than threatening them. Autopsy results revealed Yamada was killed by a 17-centimeter stab wound to the back that punctured her lung. The Romanian boy had gone missing after being questioned at Musashino Police Station in November for possessing someone else's bank book and was arrested Thursday on suspicion of theft of lost or mislaid property. He has also not returned home for some time. According to investigative sources, he met the Japanese boy in early February and the two became fast friends. However, he said he does not know the Japanese boy's full name. After spending time at the arcade, the boy reportedly said they killed time at a manga cafe and a fast food restaurant until the streets emptied out late at night. They bought two pairs of gloves and knives at a supermarket before scoping out a potential victim. He said they stabbed a woman "who just came by." The Romanian boy often went to manga and Net cafes around Kichijoji Station. A worker at one of the cafes said the boy and his friends showed up late at night or in the early morning about three times a week from summer to November last year. A worker at another cafe said: "He paid for his friends. I haven't seen him since we found out he was a minor and barred him from coming in late at night." Yamada was originally from Mutsu, Aomori Prefecture. A relative who lives near her parents in the city said: "She was a shy, pretty girl. I can't believe it." According to the relative, Yamada moved to Tokyo to attend beauty college after graduating from high school. (Mar. 2, 2013)
No matter where one turns in Japan today, it seems that communication is not free of what Goffman called “genderism”
Introduction Generally This is not a comprehensive statement on cultural ontology It is partial Emphasizing selective messages from selective mediations As such, the best that can be asserted is that these are cultural claims That they have basis in fact That they are suggestive of deeper cultural phenomena
Introduction Another claim is that the content covered here has a connection to societal organization – Either as reflection that organization – Or (re)productive of it A main goal of this talk is to demonstrate forms that the reflection/(re)production takes Another goal is to speculate on societal effects in short, communication effects
Introduction This talk is informed by theory – From the realms of: communication, cultural studies, gender studies, Japanese studies – However, it keeps the theory to a minimum
Introduction To the degree that this talk makes a “grand statement” about societal or cultural ontology, it will argue a schism in messages about gender: – An “official” or formal equality – With plenty of coded difference to suggest inequality, bias, asymmetrical power – But, again, recognizing that this is not based on a systematic study of all communication media and, within any one medium, all available texts.
Introduction Data Sources Used: – TV NHK Asadora (Carnation, Umechan-sensei, Jun to Ai) Sports news Advertising – Fashion Magazines – Porn
Notes Carnation is the flower given on Mother’s Day in Japan – Express love, distinction (depending on their color) – Worn on special occasions (from Western custom of giving on Mother’s Day)
Visibility of Women Despite relative invisibility, women do get featured in: – Entertainment (AKB 48 are everywhere) – Sports (Soccer, volleyball) Ex: wideshow in context of the beating scandal in Osaka, a Sendai women’s team is featured in a nationwide show about how things are run differently (no brutality, no sempai/kohai, the coach is the kid’s “father” (otoosan) Feature on a late night (nationwide) sports show of Megumi nantoka in Turkey
Netz Turn your butt to common sense Not Authority, but Auris
This is not a big surprise if one knows about Japanese ads The subtext is often sexual/a discourse of sexuality There is a desire to shock (as a means of standing out)
The conventions and tropes are firmly established – Color and gender – Sexualizing and partializing form The tropes are also being played off of/defied in this case men in red Men partialized Homosexuality/androgyny discourse
Men in Black, Women in Red The ad works, in part, because the cultural expectation is that the model is a woman This is due to a historical tendency to objectify women in Japanese advertising – Especially a visual strategy of partialing women (as compared to men)
Men in Black, Women in Red Also because of the historical tendency to present women in red in Japanese advertising – Whereas men are shown in black or grey
Netz and genderism Here, though, even as the model turns, we are expecting a woman Surprise comes first in the fact that he is dropping his arms in a way that the audience anticipates seeing “her” breasts And then, once we do, it dawning on us that those are not female breasts And then scrutinizing other body parts (face, hair, shoulders) to try to determine if this is, in fact, a man.
Of course, this is a different kind of genderism that Goffman didn’t cover – Given the time, the prevailing cultural discourse about sexuality – The fact that androgyny and also homosexuality were far less explored
Toyota says that the selling point is the back of the car. It is its most stylish aspect (the hatchback), so that is why they are emphasizing the “buttocks” “Betrayal version/edition” Destroy (upset) existing conventions OR defy conventional wisdom
But, of course, what a viewing audience takes away from a mediation and what the message producer my believe their message is saying are often 2 different things And, in fact, Japanese advertising is notorious for not engaging in market research (for instance, focus group assessment of their productions) Rather, the emphasis is on provocation as a means of market positioning As a means of standing out from the mass of ads that flood the market
Gender Inequality Index The Gender Inequality Index ranks countries by taking account of five indicators, pertaining to health, education and labor: Maternal mortality ratio. Adolescent fertility rate. The share of parliamentary seats held by each sex. Secondary and higher education attainment levels. Women’s participation in the work force. JAPAN: 12/138 SWEDEN: 1 U.S.: 37
Women in Parliament Share of women in national parliaments, as percent of total. Average value: 16.38% (unweighted across 154 countries) Maximum value: 48.8% (Rwanda) Sweden: 45.3% (2 nd ) United States: 15.2 (73 rd ) Japan: 9% (119 th ) Minimum value: 0% (Bahrain, Kyrgyzstan, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates)
Gist The more things change... In the 25 years I have been teaching in Japan, there has been change in women’s status – Negligible, though it may be There have been demonstrable but also rather insignificant shifts in how women are treated in the media. Changes that have been far less significant than, say, our ability to analyze them. – As for instance, in terms of gender/social theory
Murder Mar. 03, 2013 - 04:45PM JST TOKYO — Police on Sunday arrested an 18-year-old Japanese boy on suspicion of murdering a 22-year-old woman near JR Kichijoji Station in Musashino, Tokyo, last Thursday morning. The boy had been wanted for questioning after being implicated by a 17-year-old Romanian boy already under arrest for the crime. Fuji TV reported that the 18-year-old boy, who cannot be named because he is a minor, turned himself in at a police station in Hino at about 11 p.m. on Saturday. He was accompanied by a number of friends, police said. Police quoted him as saying that he and his Romanian acquaintance killed the woman because they wanted money. The victim, Arisa Yamada, had moved to Tokyo from Aomori Prefecture only recently to become a beautician. She was working nights at a restaurant to pay for her college tuition. She was attacked about 500 meters from JR Kichijoji Station just before 2 a.m. on Thursday. She had just left a convenience store and was on her way home from work. Witnesses say they saw two young men follow her from the convenience store. Police said that Yamada was stabbed twice in the back and her left wrist was also cut. She was taken to hospital, but died due to loss of blood. Her handbag was found empty about 200 meters away. The Romanian boy was detained at about 5 a.m. Thursday and formally charged with robbery and murder on Friday after a DNA test showed that blood found on one of his gloves matched Yamada’s. When asked about his acquaintance, the boy told officers that the pair were not close friends and that he didn’t know his surname. Police said Sunday that the 18-year-old suspect has no fixed address or family. He had been staying with a female friend in Hino. Police said they found Yamada’s purse and bank book at that apartment. The suspect was quoted by police as saying that he and the Romanian ran off in opposite directions after the attack and that he threw the knife away at a nearby parking lot, Fuji reported.
Murder A Romanian boy was arrested Friday on suspicion of murder- robbery after he was apprehended Thursday near the site where a 22-year-old woman was killed in the Kichijoji district of Musashino, Tokyo. The 17-year-old boy reportedly admitted stabbing and robbing a restaurant employee who lived near the crime scene. He explained that “stabbing her was simpler than threatening her” and that he needed her money “as I spent all mine at the arcade.” He approached the 22-year-old woman who lived near him and was returning from a local convenience store one night, followed her and then stabbed her in the back, inflicting a 17 cm deep wound which proved fatal. After the crime he “spent some time at a manga cafe waiting for there to be less people about.”