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Japanese & American Popular Culture: Heroism and Morality

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In the current age, with media influence spreading through the entire world, formerly isolated regions and gated cultures became interconnected. With this globalization of culture came the communion between Japanese and Western media, especially animation and comics. Morality is often

In the current age, with media influence spreading through the entire world, formerly isolated regions and gated cultures became interconnected. With this globalization of culture came the communion between Japanese and Western media, especially animation and comics. Morality is often exemplified by heroes within a particular culture as figures for audiences to admire and draw values from, which can be a useful representation of that society's particular standards. The cultures' portrayal of heroism and morality through characterization and plot structure are emblematic not only of their original culture, but the new age of globalization as concepts previously considered unique to one region soon blended together through the world. From the Western "Hero's Journey" style mythos to the Japanese anime and manga heroes of the modern decades, we can see the growth and impact of globalization which caused new blends of portrayals and themes in revolutionary ways. The roots of the differences were found through research of popular culture and history of Japanese animation and Western comic books. Iconic Western comic book heroes such as Superman, Batman, and Wolverine are analyzed, followed by analysis and comparison to the Japanese parallel of the Japanese hero, specifically within Hirohiko Araki's acclaimed Jojo's Bizarre Adventure anime and manga franchise. Finally, the popular animated Western cartoon Avatar: The Last Airbender, known for its vast Eastern influence, meet the two worlds in the middle and epitomize the globalization of this concept of a hero's narrative. The purpose of this analysis is to understand the dynamics of cultural influence and cultural specificity, elucidating some stereotypes in contemporary culture brought by misconceptions and traditions in order to promote cross-cultural understanding.

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2018-05

Deconstructing and Recreating Japanese Variety Television

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While studying in Japan, I became fascinated by the variety shows my roommates would watch. These shows featured a flexible format with comedians and other entertainers participating in a wide variety of activities. For my senior creative project, I

While studying in Japan, I became fascinated by the variety shows my roommates would watch. These shows featured a flexible format with comedians and other entertainers participating in a wide variety of activities. For my senior creative project, I decided to determine what features were essential to Japanese variety shows, and to then use these features to create my own program.
In order to determine the essential features of Japanese variety television, I watched a total of 22 episodes of three popular Japanese variety shows: Gaki no tsukai ya arahende (ダウンタウンのガキの使いやあらへんで! Usually abbreviated as ガキの使い), London Hearts (ロンドンハーツ), and Utaban (うたばん). I chose these three shows because of their differing styles, popular comedic hosts, and impressive longevity, with a combined 58 years of runtime. Through my research, I was able to assemble the analyses of basic and technical features found in the next section of this document in addition to several pages of my own notes used to design my original program.
My own program, American Joke (アメリカンジョーク), is meant to be filmed in America featuring an entirely Japanese cast. The main idea of the show is to capitalize on the comedic potential of cultural differences by having Japanese comedians interact with American people and traditions.
In order to showcase the show, I filmed a short “sizzle reel” video featuring Japanese exchange students as the cast. Segments filmed included our “comedians” learning the high jump from ASU track athletes, bringing Japanese fermented soybeans to campus for American students to taste, and participating in an American-themed quiz show.

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2014-05

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The didacticism of Katakiuchi kidan jiraiya monogatari

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My study centers on the novel Katakiuchi Kidan Jiraiya Monogatari (1806-1807) by Kanwatei Onitake (1760-1818). Jiraiya Monogatari was the first literary reading book to be adapted for the kabuki stage. It was also the prototype on which Mizugaki Egao, Kawatake

My study centers on the novel Katakiuchi Kidan Jiraiya Monogatari (1806-1807) by Kanwatei Onitake (1760-1818). Jiraiya Monogatari was the first literary reading book to be adapted for the kabuki stage. It was also the prototype on which Mizugaki Egao, Kawatake Mokuami, Makino Shouzou; and others based their bound picture books, kabuki, and films. The tale is composed of two revenge incidents, both of which have the same structural framework and are didactic in tone. In my study, I analyze the two revenge incidents by examining their narrative structures. Each incident has the same three-act structure: setup, confrontation, and resolution. The setup of each revenge incident introduces the main characters and their relationships and establishes the dramatic vehicle, which is an unexpected incident that sets the revenge in motion. The confrontation contains myriad non-linear inserts, plot twists, and reversals of fortune, all of which have the effect of a narrative delay. This prolongation of the outcome of a simple revenge plot allows readers the necessary space in which they can form their own judgments regarding good and evil and consider karmic cause and effect. The resolution, including the climax as well as the ending of the revenge, demonstrates the didactic notion of punishing evil and karmic effect. The two revenge incidents embody two rules, kanzen chouaku and inga, which together highlight the didacticism of Jiraiya monogatari.

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2012