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In Session: Understanding Transnational in Asian Media: Rebuilding Asian Subjectivity Through Trans-Asian Convergence of Media, Technology, Narrative, and Culture
1: Until Media Do Us Apart: Mediated Asian Otherness in India and Japan
Friday, March 26, 2021
8:30am – 10:00am EDT
The University of Oklahoma, United States
Scholars have long criticized the West’s depictions and mystification of the Far East as well as of South Asia. This paper identifies similar propensities in various media forms in Asia about Asia in order to understand how Western preconceptions about the non-West, the ones that gave rise to cliché images of the East, influence the way the non-West itself depicts other non-Western cultures. Specifically, the paper singles out the national characteristics of the production and consumption of mediated imaginaries, both of Japan, as an East Asian nation, and of the South Asian nation, India. By focusing on the two nations’ film cultures and the limited media exchanges between them, this paper elucidates how both Japan and India take liberty in depicting their counterpart along lines that are tantamount to orientalist discourse. It also highlights the fundamental self-contradicting motivation that drives these two nations to opposite emotional excesses: affection, identification, or love, on the one hand, as well as disregard, intentional blindness, or indifference on the other. Concentrating on medial representations of East Asia in South Asia, and vice versa as a cultural Other, the paper argues that such inter-Asian transposition eventually falls in outdated categories of Orientalism, Japanism, and other stereotypical archetypes.