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What do you think about the way foreign movies and TV programs portray Japanese society, people and culture?


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Better than they portray middle easterners and muslims, that's for sure..

Anyway, it depends on the movie. The japanese were portrayed differently in the Last Samurai than in Rising Sun or The Hunted.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Japan continues to be presented inaccurately, but since the "Japanese invasion" scare of the 80s is well dead and done with, it is more often a case of ignorance than maliciousness. For every movie that presents Japan as more samurai than it deserves, there is a film that portrays it as more cyber-cool than it deserves.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Heroes - the Japanese accents ranged from fair to attrocious. And don't get me started on the Irish accents in season 2!

I grew to despise the constant "oh, aren't they quirky" documentaries about Japan and its people by the likes of Kelly Osborne and Justin Lee Collins.

I preferred the Joanna Lumley doc from last year; at least she was genuinely enthusiastic about the country and Japanese.

And the BBC Wild Japan natural history programmes were absorbing.

There's a curious film called Kumiko the Treasure Hunter; where a troubled character portrayed by Rinko Kikuchi travels to Fargo in order to find the suitcase full of money which she believes to be real. Her character is treated sympathetically by the Americans she encounters, even if they are confused by her behaviour. And even though she is not in touch with reality; it's not one of those "hey; those kerrraaazy Japanese" type of films.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Most Western movie goers can not differentiate between Japan and China with little knowledge of any other Asian countries. Hollywood is only accurate when the movie is location specific and involves local teams, staff. crews or advisors. But other movies usually reflect the same general ignorance as the viewers.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I once had an American tell me he knew all about Japan from the moves. He asked me what part of Japan did I lived in, North or South Korea?

I told him North Korea.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

it's not one of those "hey; those kerrraaazy Japanese" type of films.

Portrayal of Japanese culture/people is often not very accurate, but for some reason the "Japan is so crazy!" shows piss me off the most. Most of the time they are not even accurate about what they are portraying.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

TV shows I don't know - but movies of recent years are imo, not tremendously off the mark, and as artistic interpretations, do have some license to create a feel and atmosphere, while at the same time avoiding a too cliched portrayal. Movies don't have to be documentaries.

And similar happens all over. How many Japanese can differentiate between a German, French or Dutch person? Or an Indian, Sri Lankan or Pakistani person? And how many people are guilty of stereotyping people from these countries and others re their so called cultural, physical and mental characteristics - often innocently without any malice or slight intended.

As an Australian I don't know how many times I've watched tv shows here, esp travel programs on Oz and the background music is some kind of "tie me kangaroo down sport morphing into duelling banjoes bush melodies". As if. But I just chuckle - it's all fun.

Which all reminds me of the serious negative attacks on the movie "Lost in Translation", mainly by Japanese critics. The films focus was on the sinking-not-swimming of a middle aged American actor and a young should-be-happy young American woman. It was a comedy dipped in melancholy, showing universal human struggles. The backdrop was Japan. Comic relief moments were real for most parts. If the same movie was made in London for arguments sake, and the Brits were the backdrop in a similar manner, I'm sure the English would laugh at their portrayal. The ability to laugh at oneself is a warming characteristic. But many cultures don't get it - which is ok - but it doesn't mean the portrayals are damning because they don't.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

It's always funny when they visit the Deep South in the States or some remote part of Tohoku, and play Irish folk music, often Enya, in the background.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It's always funny when they visit the Deep South in the States or some remote part of Tohoku, and play Irish folk music, often Enya, in the background

Enya's kind of global new age fits all sort of stuff... it's a background sound for so many regions. She's long transcended the Donegal folk scene the rest of her family were so much part of.

Irish folk music has permeated American culture; in the Appalachian region, in country and western etc. Even in Cajun and Acadian music you can see similarities.

I've yet to hear Japanese/Irish fusion music or films but I'm sure they are out there...

1 ( +2 / -1 )

My first thought was the ending scene in Rosemary's Baby; a camera holding picture snapping man with glasses.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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