Auto-ethnographic Study: Japanese Reality TV

Six men and women…all under the same roof…living together = Japanese reality TV. Terrace House is a Japanese reality show where six strangers move in with one another. My independent digital Asia Auto-ethnographic experience will involve my reaction to watching the Netflix series, ‘Terrace House’.  

My Auto–ethnographic Journey

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Why l chose this topic?

Asian reality TV shows are quite foreign to me, therefore, the reason as to why l chose this topic for my independent research project. I hate to admit it, but l am a fan of Australian reality TV. A regular watcher of ‘The Bachelor’ and ‘The Block’, and past watcher of ‘Big Brother’ and singing contest shows such as, ‘The X Factor’, thousands of hours have been spent watching this genre. When it comes to Asian reality TV, however, l am quite oblivious to it, l only really know of the crazy Japanese gameshows. As Aroesti (2017) states on her blog post Japanese reality TV is thought of as wacky, due to it’s gameshows, however, “Terrace House is light years away from that kind of Technicolor debauchery.”. This different nature is an element I’m keen to examine.

From a quick Netflix search, l came across the very popular, ‘Terrace House’. There are various series for ‘Terrace House’, however, for this project, l decided to look at ‘Terrace House: Boys & Girls in the city’.  

A quick google search on the most popular Japanese reality TV shows, led me to ‘Terrace House’. 

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With a rating of 8.3/10 on IMDB, it seemed like the perfect text to study for my auto ethnographic experience. I believe it will provide me with a good insight to Japanese reality TV, as it will build on my knowledge and cultural background whilst experiencing a topic l have not yet engaged with. Below is a simple outline of the aim of my project.

Experience Data Research Communicate
Japanese Reality TV Live Tweeting Reality shows Blog – on my website


How l will conduct my research?

Ellis (2011) states, Auto-ethnographers must not only use their methodological tools and research literature to analyse experience, but also must consider ways others may experience similar epiphanies; they must use personal experience to illustrate facets of cultural experience, and, in so doing, make characteristics of a culture familiar for insiders and outsiders”. This objective will be delivered by my chosen method of live tweeting.

Over the next few weeks’ l will continue watching the first six episodes of season 1 of ‘Terrace House: Boys & Girls in the city’. I will live tweet to each episode and after each experience will examine the tweets. This data will be collated and analysed in three blog posts on my website.

The reason as to why live tweeting was chosen as my method, is due to it’s ability to encourage learning and reflection on my cultural background. I will be examining how my current cultural background will be enhanced due to the experience of live tweeting. The hashtag #terracehouse will be used, during the exercise as Quin (2014) states on a blog post of mastering the art of live tweeting, hashtags are essential, as they “encourage discussion”.

Progress so far

This week l did a test run with the first episode. With a total of five tweets l automatically recognised the effective method of live tweeting. It allowed me to express my current cultural background and compare it to the new “culture” of Japanese reality TV. The tweet below is a prime example.

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As soon as episode one began, l thought instantly of ‘Big Brother’; the awkward first impressions, sussing out the new crib and gender stereotypes, all elements of the Big Brother series. Later on, in the episode we see both the boys and girls, discussing who they fancy in the house. This gave me serious ‘Bachelor’ vibes. However, what this series doesn’t have compared to every single Australian reality TV show, is, DRAMA. Even though this element was not present, the series was still as captivating as any Australian reality TV show I’ve seen. It has a calm nature and is easy to watch.

I am looking forward to watching the series and analysing how my cultural background will be influenced by this methodology. For my next blog post l will go in depth about my future experiences with this Asian text and how my cultural framework is structured by this investigation.




3 thoughts on “Auto-ethnographic Study: Japanese Reality TV

  1. thefishpondblog says:

    Celena – this sounds like a really interesting project!

    This was very well written, and I’ll admit, I was also once an avid watcher of Australian reality shows (these days, I just stick to Survivor). I really like that you’ve chosen a topic that you are somewhat familiar with, being reality television, but are having a whole new experience, with a completely different culture. Not only that, while you are drawing on your knowledge of the Australian shows you currently watch, it’s great to see that you’ve worded the project, so that you are not making it a simple comparison of the east v west culture.

    I feel the way you plan to set out your project, with the 3 blog posts, is smart, as is collecting the data using live tweets (and I’m not just saying that because I am planning to do the same…). As the Ellis et. al. reading says, researchers must “retrospectively and selectively write about epiphanies that stem from, or are made possible by, being part of a culture”, and even through your first experience, it is evident that you have begun to achieve this. Really looking forward to seeing how this project plays out!

    ~ Brendon

    Liked by 1 person

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