Podcasts from Celebrating Protest series

July 5, 2007

Finally, all podcasts are on-line!

Noriaki Imai (Student, Environment and Peace Activist)
“Why I went to Iraq: Three Years Later” 

Tari Ito (Performance Artist) and MASA (Jazz Saxophonist)
“Rubber Tit”

Hitomi Kamanaka (Film Director)
“Q&A with Director Hitomi Kamanaka” 
– panel discussion on Director Kamanaka’s film, “Rokkashomura Rhapsody,” with Kamanaka, Judy Hoffman (Film Director,Cinema and Media Studies), Michael Raine (Cinema and Media Studies/ EALC) and Norma Field (EALC)

Michiko Nakajima (Lawyer)
“The Fifteen-Woman Lawsuit against Self-Defense Forces in Iraq”
Discussant: John Comaroff (Anthropology), Translation: Norma Field (EALC)

Emi Koyama
“Colonialism, Militarism, and the Political Economy of Transracial Adoption” 

Emi Koyama (Director, Intersex Initiative)
“Intersex at the Intersection of Queer Theory and Disability Theory” 

Yoshifumi Tawara(Sec. General of Children and Texbooks Network 21)
“Japanese Education and Society in Crisis” 
Translation: Norma Field (EALC)


Reunion with Nori in Kumamoto, Japan!

July 2, 2007

Sorry for the late posting – but I met Nori at a Mass Communication Studies conference held in Kumamoto in June 9-10.
I was a discussant to a panel on backlash against feminism and the role of the mass media and the internet, and Nori joined the panel as a guest speaker!

Nori was doing great – and he was so energetic! He told me that he enjoyed his experiences in Chicago so much, and he felt refreshed since then.
On Saturday night, we had a dinner/drinking gathering at a local restaurant, with lots of horse meat dishes, which is known as a local cuisine of Kumamoto.

The main speaker, Chiki (blogger), talked about his analysis of backlashers on the internet, and posed thoughts about feminism’s failure to communicate its thoughts efffectively to the general public. Nori then told his story on the bashing against him, and his own analysis and thoughts of the situation. Akihiro Kitada, a prof at the University of Tokyo, reported his work in progress on the survey he took with the internet users, especially the users of 2 Channel – and argued that it is wrong to simply assume that 2 Channelers are “right-wing.” I told about my own experience in creating websites and blogs for feminist organizations and of my own. Masami Saito, a feminist activist/scholar based in Toyama, who acted as a moderator also added her perspective as a feminist based in a rural Toyama prefecture.

If you are interested in reading the reports in Japanese, the panel participants posted the following reports and thoughts onto their own blogs.

Chiki Ogiue’s “Ogiue-shiki” (Doesn’t this name sound a bit familiar? Chiki is a big fan of Genshiken!)
General Report
Chiki’s presentation

Masami Saito’s “Gender and Media Blog”
Report and thoughts

Nori’s “Imai Noriaki no Kakera”
Academic Convention and Activism

Tomomi’s blog

Nori and Tomomi in Kumamoto

local fish “sashimi” and raw horse meat

Internet In and Out of Japan

May 22, 2007

Presentation on Internet In/Out of JapanThe following post is from a presentation about the internet use in Japan. It was a collaboration between Lauren, Charlotte and myself. (If you guys want to add/edit anything please do!)

First – general fact on internet use:

Top 15 Countries -Internet users for 2005, in millions and percent of total users.(eMarketer, April 12, 2006)

1. US 197.8 (18.3%)
2. China 119 (11.1%)
3. Japan 86.3 (8.0%)
4. India 50.6 (4.7%)
5. Germany 46.3 (4.3%)
6. UK 35.8 (3.3%)
7. South Korea 33.9 (3.1%)
8. Italy 28.8 (2.7%)
9. France 28.8 (2.7%)
10. Brazil 25.9 (2.4%)
11. Russia 23.7 (2.2%)
12. Canada 21.9 (2.0%)
13. Indonesia 18.0 (1.7%)
14. Spain 15.8 (1.5%)
15. Taiwan 9.5 (1.43%)

However much of Japan’s internet use is not via computer. Rather it is done on the Cell phone – or Keitai Denwa in Japanese. Here is data on how much of Japan’s cell phone is web enabled:

Web-enabled Mobile Phone Per 100 Inhabitants in 2003 (Mito Akiyoshi called Unmediating Community: The Non-Diffusion of the Internet in Japan, 1985-2002)
1. Japan 34.08
2. Iceland 14.28
3. Finland 14.07
4. Austria 13.43
5. Luxembourg 13.34

25. South Korea 9.26
30. USA 2.33

Not only is the Keitai Denwa used for internet in Japan but it has many unique and useful services.
It can be used for: Reading full novels, GPS navigation, TV and Radio, Crime Prevention Buzzer, Pedometer, Alarm Clock, Suica – train tickets, Osaifu Keitai – using your phone as a cell phone/credit card, Cmode -buying drinks at a vending machine , Playing RPGs such as Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest.

So why Internet on Keitai?
Talking on the cell phone in public places is found as rude in Japan.
Phone minutes are very expensive, texts and emails are inexpensive
Therefore texting and emailing became very popular in Japan.

ギャル文字 or Gyaru-Moji
Due to privacy issues, young women started using a special code for messaging on their keitai.
They use a language similar to l33t. They use various symbols, numbers, kanji characters to imitate the actual letters. This language use often shows the closeness of a friendship as gyaru-moji takes a lot longer to type than normal texting.

Activism Via Internet
Unlike Masu Komi (mainstream media) Mini Komi is ideal for specialized political groups, especially feminist groups have been known to use these channels of communication, outside the mainstream communications industry.These groups in the past had passed out handwritten newsletters in hopes of getting their word out.Thanks to the internet, they can reach out to whomever they want whenever they want in great ease.
As well we have all seen Online Petitions- it’s very easy to get signatures using internet

Internet/manga cafes
These cafes are places to use the internet even if you don’t own a computer at home.
They have Cubicals with a PC, and you pay per hour
You can also: Read manga, Sleep/shower, Eat & drink

You Tube on the Internet (http://www.micropersuasion.com/2006/08/youtube_by_the_.html)

In a single month the number of videos on the site grew 20% to 6.1 million
YouTube has some 45 terabytes of videos
Video views reached 1.73 billion
70% of YouTube’s registered users are American, roughly 50% are under 20
You Tube has been very important in our class to study the pop culture of Japan. Almost every week someone’s presentation included a link from YouTube. It helps to get rare information and videos that we could not find anywhere else.

2 Channel (http://www.micropersuasion.com/2006/08/youtube_by_the_.html)

This is a very popular discussion forum in Japan.
It was started in 1999 by Hiroyuki Nishimura.
Anonymous Forum for all interests.
2.5 million posts a day. Of those that view 2 channel: 51.9% were male, 26.9% in their twenties, 25.1% in their thirties, 24.6% in their forties, and 23.4% in their fifties.
Anonymity and Community
Lack of physical information allows people to befriend others easily based only on interest
A “careful construction of anonymity”, lacking social position etc.
However, once this identity is known, it also facilitates “Matsuri” behavior
This Matsuri behavior was seen in hatemail sent to Imai Noriaki, he was also targeted on 2chan discussion boards, and people left rude messages onto his personal blog, without manning up to their own identity.

Japanese Pornography on the Internet- “Hentai” (This part is by Lauren – if you need further elaboration, please comment to her- these bullets do not do justice for her thoughts she shared with us during the presentation.)
– Scholarship on Hentai –
From “Way Better Than Real: Manga Sex to Tentacle Hentai” by Joel Powell Dahlquist and Lee Garth Vigilant

  • ambivalence among dedicated fans and scholars of Japan in how to address flooding of American pop culture with Japanese materials
  • “ambiguously gendered characters” as “disturbing”
  • the cognitive jump necessary for a translation of corporeal experience to representation in hentai
    • as seen in Genshiken – Madarame character.
  • Moral evaluation of “hard-core”
    • Contrast with ladies’ comics article
  • Hentai as “postmodern pornography” in its ambiguity
    • Net.seXXX: Readings on Sex, Pornography, and the Internet. Waskul, D. Dennis, ed. New York, Peter Lang Publishing, 2004.

“Hentai” as Japan

  • How many Americans know about “panty-vending machines” or “tentacle porn!”?
  • How many Americans (especially non-Asian-Americans) know Japan once colonized Korea and Taiwan?
  • Things like hentai are found only through a medium like the internet.
  • Lauren’s opinion: The new Japanese Version is someone who lectures on “panty-vending machines”