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Type of publication: Straipsnis / Article
Author(s): Adam, Windsor
Title: Images of Japan and its people in Australian media
Is part of: Regioninės studijos. 2012, [No.] 6, The development of ‘Japan’ in the west: comparative analysis, p. 89-106
Date: 2012
Keywords: Japan;WWII;Whaling;Media
Abstract: In the popular Australian imagination, Japan is often considered a mysterious, distant land beyond our ability to easily comprehend. Despite remaining a popular tourist destination for Australians (until 2011’s earthquake & tsunami disaster), the ‘far East’ image of Japan prevents Australians from meaningfully engaging with Japan and its culture. This paper examines the construction of the ‘far East’ image of Japan in Australian media since the beginnings of Australian contact with Japan in the second half of the 19th Century until the present day. In the 19th Century, Australian writers tended to present aspects of Japan by comparing them with their European equivalents; the countryside, for example, is described as “one universal market-garden, with no fences in the fields, and no implements of the European kind.” Far from being a culture from which Europeans could ‘learn’, Japanese culture was instead presented as in need of the ‘civilising’ influence of Europeans. This type of representation more or less continued until the Pacific War, when images of Japan as a danger to Australian sovereignty and the Japanese as barbaric monsters overtook the popular imagination. After the war, Japan’s economic power displaced its military power as the source of Australian anxiety, and in recent years the ‘barbarian’ image has returned in reporting about Japanese whaling. In contrast, however, media coverage of the 2011 Tohoku earthquake ignored a lot of the negative representations that still punctuate media coverage of whaling.
Affiliation(s): Publication of this volume of “Regioninės studijos” is sponsored by Japan Foundation
Appears in Collections:2012 Regioninės studijos, [vol.] 6

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