In relation to this week’s topic ‘the cuteness in Japan ’, I personally was very interested in this topic since I have been to Japan once and what I have experienced was their culture difference to western and even to some eastern countries.
Recall my first trip to Japan I was very excited when I get off the plane at Narita Airport. The airport looks adorable as they are absolutely obsessed with cute things. One of my Japanese friend have told me that ‘People can understand and translate blank expressions just by looking at a set of adorable eyes placed on inanimate objects, even if it doesn’t have a smiling mouth’. That’s how magical of cuteness can be, it is an expression of mild and way to get people to be close to each other. Even when I was walking alone the street in Tokyo, cute signs were everywhere and often I can hear Japanese women who purposely speak softly and feign high-pitched laughter. That’s because cuteness is a desirable quality in Japan, not just in branding, handwriting and fashion, but in manner as well. Men are not exempt from being kawaii either, even though they are also expected to be manly as well.
Cuteness is now not only limited to Japan, it has spread all over the world like a fashion. Naturally, just about every company that makes consumer products is rushing to apply these ideas to their products. The results are things like the VW Beetle, the Mini Cooper, and the Cabbage Patch doll. For example, Hello Kitty appears on everything from jet planes to jewellery, this shows the success of Sanrio Company to target its market in a sense of popularity. Moreover, teenage is not the only group who loves Hello Kitty, they have expand its consumer group to wider ages by introducing more luxury goods such as Hello Kitty shaped jewels or cars. Not only Japanese high school girls are acting cute, teenagers in China, Korea, Indonesia and many other Asian countries are all affected by the way Japanese dress up to be cute. This spread is through the means of media such as cartoons and comics. Being cute is harmlessness, it is universally appealing and it is also a tool to be used to get alone with others.
In terms of answering the question from this week tutorial presentation, ‘Do you think web marriage should be prohibited?’ my view is that this is a controversial topic as there are good and bad perspective towards it.
From the positive side, web marriage allows people to perform different roles in virtual world. Since no one knows who you really are, people can choose gender, identity and all other feature to play different roles as part of online society. Because it is all anonymous there is no need to worry about personal image or any other misgivings in the virtual world. Moreover, this kind of game can fulfils the psychological needs that could not be obtained in real life because of financial and social constraints. Especially for teenagers who curious about future family living, marriage game may well introduce them what and how to face their future particularly when there is a problem in occur.
On the other hand, online game is always criticised for wasting time and play with people’s mind. As been going often on the news, there are lots of innocent girls were killed or insulted by stranger known from online society. This may bought attention to online safety issue where personal identity is really hard to be recognized. Additionally, research found out that in visual marriage may cause actual marriage breakdown as people are too into virtual world and forget about reality. Living with theoretical live may cause people to create hallucinate and leads to real life consequences.
The following link is an example of online marriage adviser website, it advises people with marital conflicts and ways to store love. I found this is helpful to those who addicted to web marriage game players because this is another way to learn how to deal with marriage and it save the cost of legal advice to intermediary as well.
This article written by McLaren (2007) named ‘Online intimacy in a Chinese setting’ is found to be attractive and justified to me in terms of the argument it presented was really reflecting the Chinese social phenomenon.
As the internet has spread widely and rapidly in China since 1987, more and more Chinese citizens start to rely on the function of the network, communicating through means of internet becomes even popular. In this article, a digital game called web marriage was discussed because of its controversial impact on youth society. It refers to a website that seeks to replicate the offline experience between the parties and create online visual relationships. Supporter argues that this game can fulfil people’s psychological needs that cannot be obtained in real life due to financial and social constraints, whereas the opponent claims that internet game offers young people lack of independency and responsibility, it impacted on youth real life perspective and obsession with the network result in poor performance at school.
Positive arguments towards this website discussing that web marriage can take people away from loneliness, and satisfies the need for emotional fulfilment. Moreover, young people are at the stage of meeting with different social contact, the experience in visual game may prompt a concept of what will be in the real life. An experimental example was given by McLaren indicates that 38 per cent of inmates has changed their attitude towards actual marriage after undergoing web marriage (2007, p 411). Personally, this can be purely understood as I was grown up in China. Because of one child policy many teenagers have found feelings of loneliness and lack of communication with the outside world also result them become obsessed to internet. Because what can be learnt from internet is unlimited, people enjoy the role they acted in web games, experiencing the feelings of getting married or divorced may have impact on their social attitude in the future. As cited in article, Chinese sex education is not as open as in the west (McLaren, 2007, p.419). Young people trying to obtain that information through the means of online community and that is also one of the reason why web marriage game was so popular.
On the other hand, it is always said that indulge in the network is harmful to one’s health especially to the youth party. Virtual world is lack of responsibility compare to the real world, even though the ‘social sanctions’ and ‘a sense of shame’ are greatly reduced in online identity (Karsten, 2003). Taking responsible to others is less concerned since everything is just visualised. Moreover, McLaren argues that intimate language to be used in visual marriage may cause actual marriage breakdown and abused moral code (2007, p. 413). Living in a virtual world will make people feel incorporeal, indeed, there is no real responsibility needs to be taken in those online games, it is easier to break up with someone online than in the real life (The Economist, 2006). However, these conducts may result in real life consequences such that breaking relationships between couples.
In summary, there is good and bad voice stand for online visual games. In case of China where sexual education is not widely opened, it is possible for teenagers start learning some knowledge and play different roles before step into the society. Nevertheless, wisely control the personal identity between real life and visual world needs to be takes into account.
Giese, Karsten (2003) Construction and performance of virtual identity in the Chinese internet, in K.C. Ho, R. Kluver and K.C.C. Yang (eds), Asia.com: Asia encounters the internet, pp. 193–210 (London: Routledge).
McLaren, E, A 2007, ‘Asian Studies Review’, Online Intimacy in a Chinese Setting, December, p. 409–422
‘The Economist’, Special report, 2006, Virtual online worlds, Living a Second Life, Accessed 21st September 2012, Source: from http://www.economist.com/node/7963538
the following discussion is about ethnic minority culture from my own knowledge as I am part of ethnic Han.
China is a big multi-ethnic state which is officially composed of 56 ethnic groups ,contain 55 minorities plus the dominant Han. These minorities inhabit approximately 60 precent of Chinese territory, often in the strategically more important or sensitive areas along the borders. Since they live along from the city, they created a unique culture and life style, Including words, spelling, clothes, music, art ,dance and also the food. Of course these area are famous with lots of scenic spots. The most famous one is Zhangjiajie’s Stone Forest. Zhangjiajie’s Rock Column Forest claim to be the model behind the striking hanging mountain scenery in the movie Avatar and have been getting a lot of attention as a result.
However , the way they live in han people’s eyes is kind of getting behind, they don’t have any advanced technology to develop those area. That’s because they live around mountains or trees, the inconvenient traffic unable to transfer useful goods into their life. They stop contacting people from outside ,so they can’t get the news lately. But they still live happily from one generation to one generation.
Cause the slow development , children’s education are a big problem, they used to teach students about their culture , it’s important to let them know there’s a big world outside waiting for them to find out. Along with the government great support the minority area’s education in recent years as well as the popularization of nine-year compulsory education system. More and more people from the ethnic minority areas find a way to learn science and culture knowledge .however there still a lot of place far from city where they have difficulty to find an effective solution.
No matter what, minority people and han people all belong to china, they help each other to live a better life.
Regarding to the topic of Metrosexual in China, article written by Edward McDonald (2012) demonstrate how emerging magazines translate the idea of masculinity into commercial strategy and the understanding of this new concept in modern society compare to western.
After search on several Chinese blogs, it appears that one of the leading magazines discussed in Edward’s article called ‘Menbox’ isn’t that appealing over the last few years even it was not the case between mid-2004 and mid-2005 as cited in Edward (2012). The main feature of this magazine is to focus on the urban fashion men who still have fantasy and passions towards their lifestyles. There are four major forums including bulletin board, super star, fashion information and the taste about modern society. Unfortunately, due to more and more advertisement are implemented in this magazine, readers are antipathy of buying as it does not yield their interest.
Moreover, argument of whether this is a gay magazine or it is just a fashion magazine questioning the position of its target market. Many Chinese think this is for gays because based on traditional Chinese view gay were not that common in the history. Nowadays, the idea of gay is slowly enter into Chinese background. But there are still many people complaint about the magazine cover and the journal is not as attractive as they expected. Nevertheless, Menbox is China’s only openly gay magazine therefore it is still going strong comparable to other same kind magazines.
Link to the current event of the world lately, some games in the Olympic is almost naked for men and women. Those players with only underwear shows how fit they are and pictures on the news also depicted their appearance and attractiveness of their body.
In personal point of view even I have never read this magazine, I do not feel it is only focus on gay but also on women. Thinking of there are so many porn magazines about nude woman that are so attractive to men, why can’t there be a magazine shows men to women. Women might also be the interested target buyer who wants to spend spare time on reading this kind of magazine. Women’s body can be piece of art so as men’s. Visual arts do not have to be gender discriminate.
Compare to the western, Metrosexual has a complete different meaning in china. It refers to how sulky fashion-loving metrosexuals tend to be, whereas in western it means ‘young man with money to spend, living in or within easy reach of metropolises’. This two differentiated meaning reflects the Chinese and western culture difference and different people’s perspective towards this kind of magazine. Some views from the internet argue this magazine is targeted for gay audiences simply because Chinese women are unlikely to be interested in buying magazines of nude photos. Yet, as global trend is also impacting on Chinese culture, another group of people argues that women are targeted because their desire of life.
Overall, since this metrosexual concept is coming from western, different expression appears in eastern culture and as a result the target audients can be different.
Edward McDonald (2012) “Translating metrosexual into Chinese: popular culture & identity labels across cultural boundaries”