Akira (1988) and Auto-Ethnography

This week in class we live tweeted whilst watching the Japanese anime film, Akira (1988).

Many praise the film, therefore l had high expectations before watching Akira. I must admit it did meet my expectations. We watched the English dubbed version, which definitely helped during the live tweeting process. I have participated in many live tweeting exercises, however, my reflection on this week’s tweets will involve a look at how my cultural framework shapes the tweets l create, and how this relates to the auto-ethnographic method.

The influence of my cultural framework has a great effect on what l produce. Considering my tweets this week, it is evident that everything l make, write or create is altered by my culture. Live tweeting is an auto-ethnographic form, where l observe a culture and discuss certain opinions, stories and perspectives displayed in the text. Ethnography as stated by Ellis (2011), is when researchers study “a culture’s relational practices, common values and beliefs, and shared experiences for the purpose of helping insiders (cultural members) and outsiders (cultural strangers) better understand the culture (MASO, 2001)”.  As stated in one of my pervious blog posts, “Media Audiences and Ethnography”, ethnography to put simply is the comprehension of a culture Lassiter (2005).

I believe viewing Akira definitely enhances my cultural knowledge on Japanese anime. My first experience with anime was Ghost in the Shell (1995). I loved watching this anime film, as it was very different to what l normally watch. Akira has been said to influence the pop culture of today. In one of the articles l tweeted about, it states, “before the release of Akira in 1989, Japan and its art, food and animation was alien to many in the west” (Usher 2016).

As mentioned previously, my tweets reflect my cultural framework which in turn help me to understand the text, in this case, Akira. One example is the below tweet;

Screen Shot 2018-08-17 at 12.56.30 pm

Here l present my current cultural knowledge and am linking it to the culture being observed. As Ellis (2011) mentions, ethnographers have “epiphanies” stemming from the research of the particular culture studied. The above tweet, l believe, is an example of this. Live tweeting is a way for us, as ethnographers to consider how others may have “similar epiphanies” (Ellis 2011). This is evident when we interact with each other during the screening’s each week. I also like to think of this exercise as Reflexive Ethnography, which means the “ways a researcher changes as a result of doing fieldwork” (Ellis 2011). I am using my previous cultural knowledge to accept and understand the current culture l am observing. My cultural framework, therefore, enriches and changes, a fundamental aspect of the ethnographic method, as mentioned by Ellis (2011). 



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