Fumiho Tanaka Journal 3

I learned about American popular culture and I thought it was very deep and interesting. We share the same culture in our community, and we communicate through popular culture. For example, when the professor said the word “Winter is coming”, I thought she was talking about the season. But all the American people in the classroom understood what she meant by “Winter is coming”. I think that kind of thing could happen in any place in the world as each community shares the same culture. In Japan, everyone would understand if he/she heard the word “SMAP”, but not many foreigners would.

Popular culture influences our life. It asks us to engage with and evaluate its ideas and issues. It could shape the way we think and sometimes it has more power than political and economical issues. The clear example would be when people cared so much about a controversial Pepsi Ad, but didn’t care about the North Korea firing a missile. This represents the popular culture of the U.S, but it applies to Japan as well. Japanese people were only talking about the gossip news when famous Japanese comedian named “Yama-chan” got married with a popular actress named “Yu Aoi”. News was talking about that marriage all the time although there must have been other important political and economic news to tell the audience. Popular culture could have a huge influence because a lot of people are interested in it.

There is a coding that gives physical attributes to a character. Codes are deep as to appear natural, so it is difficult to see them in operation until they are pointed out. For example, most Disney heroines have long hair, wear dresses and makeup. Villains wear eye makeup no matter it’s male or female, and those queer coding mean that character is evil. Everyone watches Disney films in his/her childhood. So in the first formative years of life, Disney plays an integral part in shaping children, the way they think and feel about the world. Mass media including Disney have played an important roll to teach children how they should behave. Girls are supposed to be skinny and graceful whereas boys are expected to become muscular and strong. As a result, coding creates gender rolls and influences the way we think about gender so much.

The need of popular culture is to show more diverse and positive representation. In my opinion, Japan has more diverse program in popular culture than the U.S. There are a lot of dramas and movies about LGBT and other kind of story and they are popular in Japan these days. The drama named “Ossan’s Love” (2018) was the love story of three men in one company and it once became No.1 trend of Twitter in the world. I don’t know very much about those stories in the U.S, but I hope there will be a diverse range of popular culture and we can share many thoughts in the world.


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