Friday, June 24, 2005

Because All Asians Can Fly

It's DDR meets the Last Samurai. Apparently some genius in the video gaming world thought it would make good business sense to capitalize on American obsession with all things of the Orient. It's not enough, apparently to watch our movies, eat our foods, obsess over our chopsticks and "funky" cultural practices, now you, too, can be a real, live, ass-kicking Asian. Otaku-man: meet Kickass Kung-Fu. I've seen this technology before. Electroman loved the melding of movement capture with Tekken 4 when we went to Playdium. But, even in that game or ones like it, you didn't have the blatant cultural imperialism and thinly-veiled virtual yellow-face overtones as you do here. I'm not sure what pisses me off more about this article, the mockery it makes of the "impossible physics" of martial arts films, or the idea that you can use this technology to essentially become a "kung-fu master". Moreover, check out that image. If this doesn't further encourage non-Asians everywhere to wave their hands and make Bruce Lee-like howls in an effort to imitate and disrespect one of the East's most glorious cultural icons, I don't know what is. Then again, the Net is crawling with fetishists. Next to this article was the following blog ad: Yes, because spending money on Japanese things (which by virtue of their Japanese-ness are made cool) can make this ignorant pixellated white man cooler. I mean, he's already appropriated black culture, what with his blue pick in that white 'fro, where else to go but culturally colonize the East?


Blogger Melinda Casino said...

Great post - you've made me reconsider the vogue for Japanese things.

6/24/2005 09:03:00 PM  
Anonymous Too Wong Fu said...

Hey you jealosy because you not do Kung Fu...maybe lebanese butt too big for flying death kick. Yes!

So sorry, but me not love you long time at all!

Too Wong Fu

6/24/2005 10:03:00 PM  
Anonymous Winnie said...

Interesting post.

The market for 'Japanese things' is huge in the US now. From a marketing standpoint, it's not surprising that people jump on a very profitable bandwagon. While I (personally) have no problem with exploring aspects of other cultures it does present several problems, mainly the appropriation of other cultures without any context to understand that culture.

I am a huge SF fan and Japanese themed SF and fantasy is big right now in the US. As a US expat, while I see the appeal of Japanese SF to an American audience, I am aware of disturbing trends.

1. Lots of Japanese settings in stories by generally White western authors, but few opportunities for Japanese SF writers in translation.

2. A strong preference for Japanese female (young beautiful characters) but relatively few Japanese male characters. Further, these characters generally reinforce western stereotypes about Japanese male behavior and about Japanese gender relations.

Most of the 'japanese' trend is not a real interest in cultural understanding but mainly a way for western audiences to put there own thoughts, views, and voices in a new setting. Nothing wrong with this either, except that Japanese people become set pieces along with swords, kimonos etc. because the dominant culture in the US remains white.

6/25/2005 11:27:00 PM  

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