Mechademia in Seoul Day 3

I began the day shifting between panels. The first panel I attended was Revolution, Before and After.

The first speaker in this panel, Kinnia Yau, addressed the social and political implications of Japanese Science fictions in the 21st century. Kinnia talked about the distrust of authorities by Generation Y, and masculinity in modern Japan. An interesting comparison she brought up was placing the protagonists of Death Note alongside traditional, masculinised hero-figures.

An interesting observation. At the moment I am thinking of Shinji from NGE, who has always struck me as a wuss (for lack of a better term). 

The next speaker in the panel, Sayumi Takahashi Harb’s paper touched on circular narratives in texts, and themes of hyper-realism and hyper-reality.

I then skipped over to the other panel: Fandom Between Strategy and Desire.

Got in in time for Sandra Annett’s paper on vocaloids and the negotiation of desire through the vocaloid phenomenon. She drew out a reading of vocaloids as bodies without organs, with reference to Deleuze and Guattari.

After this I got to hear from cultural critic Otsuka Eiji, who delivered a keynote address on grand narratives, postmodernity, and the creation of “Japan” within the framework of digital technologies and the internet.

The next panel I attended was Rediscovering Manga’s Critical Potential after 3-11. Jacqueline Berndt gave an opening address on the political effects of “using” manga in Japan. She suggested a means of locating the political potential of manga through going beyond the framework of genres.

The first speaker for the panel. Takeuchi Miho, looked at manga’s potential for addressing social issues, through the lens of sennen manga.

Olga Antononoka then suggested that the sociocritical potential of graphic narratives can be read in twofold ways; for example, she proposed that shojo manga conventions provide a possibility for the subversive reading of the motif of hope.

From sennen and shojo, Ronald Stewart analysed a different form of graphic representation; post 3-11 political cartoons. He looked at the impact and political implications of newspaper cartoons, specifically post-Fukushima cartooning.

For the day’s final session, we were treated to an interview with director Ahn Jae Hoon. He directed the anime film Green Days (2010).










Ahn Jae Hoon answering questions.

The film reminded me of a Ghibli production I caught recently, From Up On Poppy Hill (2011). Both films have a dated feel; with Green Days this was deliberate; in Ahn Jae Hoon’s words, historical basis was a means for him to allow the audience to identify with its historical setting. His talk focused a lot on personal experience and the creative side of things. Ahn’s experiences as a person growing up shaped much of the film, and he utilised bits from his own personal diary as inspiration for bits of the film. In Ahn’s words:
Men who keep diaries can be more sensitive than women

Which is interesting considering that blogs are pretty much like diaries. But what I really liked was a sequence at the end of Green Days that has a fantasy sequence with what looks like a psychedelic dinosaur:










More on the final day of the conference tomorrow!


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'horror': Middle English: via Old French from Latin horror, from horrere ‘tremble, shudder’.

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