So, Akira (1988) is only a year away… Is an apocalypse looming?
Akira brought Japanese culture to the West which gave Western productions an inspiration board to bounce ideas off. VICE’s Tom Usher reveals how the following forms of Western content drew from Akira:
- Midnight Special (2016)
- Chronicle (2012)
- Inception (2010)
- Looper (2012)
- Stranger Things (2016 – )
All the films above share similarities based on young children having powers and the overall dystopian setting. No cultural experience is the same for the characters within their fictional worlds. However, if I were to watch all of them back-to-back, my experience wouldn’t change as it would require the films to be outside Western culture.
The mix of autobiography and ethnography creates autoethnography. Autoethnography is defined as both a ‘process’ and ‘product’ as Ellis (2011) states “to do and to write“. One’s cultural makeup determines how they understand the world, how they understand texts. As the above graphic shows, one must fathom what personal experiences they’ve had so they can identify their cultural experience. By achieving this, the process of autoethnography can occur. The product comes later. Japanese films like Akira increase my cultural experience as I watch. However, it goes beyond storytelling, as a researcher, one must ‘analyse’ their experiences (Allen 2016).
The act of live-tweeting #BCM320 is the process of autoethnography whilst the tweet is the product. Twitter encourages hindsight as a possibility. This allows you to look back; remove yourself from the moment. By reflecting and observing your product you can remember the process whilst understanding how your personal and cultural experiences influenced both.
This meme above indicates how cultures can interact with their content. Shakira is a Colombian singer-songwriter who lives in America and now she is a part of the Japanese culture of anime. The following meme was created as a reversal of the one above:
The act of researching can be ’emotional’ according to Ellis (2011) as you unlock yourself through autoethnography. To conclude, he states:
Consequently, personal stories can be therapeutic for authors as we write to make sense of ourselves and our experiences, purge our burdens, and question canonical stories—conventional, authoritative, and “projective” storylines that “plot” how “ideal social selves” should live.