“keep your insides to yourself pls” – a story by me

It has been three weeks of the new semester and I can most definitely say that I’ve been introduced to multiple levels of the Japanese culture that I never really knew existed before. “Akira” a Japanese anime film set in 1988, showed me the explicit content behind the scenes of the aftermath of the Nuclear attack.


I felt extremely overwhelmed by the film. I am extremely used to watching American film, your romantic comedy, adventure or light hearted action movies. I learnt about the atomic bombings of World War II from the United States perspective, so my views and knowledge until today were completely one-sided. Akira opened my eyes to what i had completely missed studying the war back in high school. I must say after reflecting back on the film I am rather disappointed in myself for blocking myself off from the impact that this had on the country involved.

Akira showed that Japan suffered extreme aftermath of this incident, and the film was eye opening and slightly gory. Two of the most memorable moments of the film for me were:
1. When the toys started to come to life
2. When Tetsuo’s internal organs started to pour out of him


Why might you ask this is? I feel as though these two moments symbolise something a lot deeper, much like the whole film but I am only going to discuss these two stand-outs. The toys coming to life symbolise a whole lot of mental instability and anxiety, not just from one individual but a whole nation as an impact from the bombing. The second lot of symbolism where the organs start to pour out of Tetsuo really gives me the pang of their internal pain and how its bulging to implode, just like the bomb exploded into their lives upon their country. It tells me that their pain can create something much worse, ideally war. These sort of symbols contradict my initial opinions and open my eyes to the facts of the Japanese suffering after the atomic bombings.

Another important thing to touch on was our introduction to autoethnography. “Autoethnography is an approach to research and writing that seeks to describe and systematically analyse personal experience in order to understand cultural experience” (Ellis, 2004; Holman Jones, 2005). The process of authoethnography is going to be something I will be following to create a digital artefact a little bit further on in the semester. ‘Autoethnography: An Overview’ by Carolyn Ellis breaks down the process of autoethnography, stating that its a process of autobiography and ethnography put together. Self-reflexivity is also a huge part of this process and something I have also learnt to incorporate in breaking down the films we are studying, this is the action of looking at something through other peoples eyes and analysing our own interpretation of a personal experience. This is something I have been trying to incorporate in my latest blogs featuring ‘Gojira’ and ‘Akira’ and something I really want to improve on so I am confident going forward into my digital artefact!

Here’s some of my live-tweeting feed below!

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1. Ellis, Carolyn; Adams, Tony E. & Bochner, Arthur P. (2010). Autoethnography: An Overview [40 paragraphs]. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research12(1), Art. 10, http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs1101108.


3 thoughts on ““keep your insides to yourself pls” – a story by me

  1. Hey Cassie,

    I really enjoyed reading about your views of Akira, and how in relation to your own cultural standpoint, you understood the film. Personally, my views on Akira were a little different in terms of how I understood it, but that’s only because of my own culture, and it’s super interesting to see how we all find different meanings from different points in the film.

    Your last paragraph for me was the most relatable, in terms of your one-sided westernised view of the war, I can definitely understand why Akira was overwhelming, especially when it’s a metaphor for Japan’s loss of control and political decline.

    This was really well written, and a great blog post that delved into auto ethnographic accounts!


  2. Hi Cassie,
    I too have been exposed to a diverse range of Japanese culture through our viewings of Akira and Gojira. As much as I shamefully look back at my completely narrow-minded past-self, I can’t help but feel enlightened reading your interpretation of the film in your post. Your depiction of your most memorable parts almost mirror my own, however the symbolism you have recognised while drawing upon Ellis’s overview of Autoethnography constructs a clear sense of purpose and direction – making your writing intriguing.
    I really enjoyed your appreciation of Japanese culture through your writing! I hope you continue to absorb all this relatively new information about foreign cultures and look forward to your future blog posts 🙂


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