English language representations of Japanese culture with Tokyo Indigested : a creative response

Publication Type:
Thesis
Issue Date:
2006
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NO FULL TEXT AVAILABLE. This thesis contains 3rd party copyright material. ----- This thesis comes in two parts: a multi-media creative project and an exegesis. The first demonstrates the potential of using cultural representations as a means of exploring my fragmented and constructed identities. In this component I employ short fictions, images and sound in a way that engages a sense of alien existence, where the Other affords journeys of self-exploration. Secondly, this written exegesis examines interdisciplinary academic and popular representations of Japanese culture to reflect upon what journeys of self-discovery and self-invention they might permit their creators. In the process of writing this exegesis, I came to conceive of cultural representations as acts of becoming, which display the processes of being invented. Certainly, identities are the products of ideologies within our institutions, cultural values, relationships and political discourses. Equally, cultural representations are simply memoirs of the authors in question, demonstrative of their unpredictable emotions. In both cases we need to consider how our subjects might serve us as writers. I review certain popular and academic representations of Japanese culture to investigate whether such considerations are in effect. Explicitly, I consider whether the writers in question recognise their own representations of themselves within their work, alongside what this allows them to achieve personally. While our creative projects, academic representations and popular political illustrations provide numerous journeys and outlets, they come with the threat of objectifying and exploiting our subjects. A commitment to performance and self-parody proves important here, as it demonstrates our own fictive selves and our constructed senses of individualism. Recognising emotions at the core of cultural representations opens greater space for cross-cultural dialogues. Here we might explore where our engagements with our cultural products begin. I am personally permitted a sense of release from alienation, alongside the potential to re-create my own identities within my creative project. In this exegesis, I recognise an unwillingness on the part of writers to proclaim such personal gains through their writings. While there are numerous problems concerning our ethical obligations towards our subjects, we might begin with an honest reflection of what our representations allow us to achieve personally.
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