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Type of publication: Straipsnis / Article
Author(s): Yoshik, Ikeda
Title: Ambivalent images of Japanese businessmen in American films : from a majority of one (1961) to lost in translation (2005)
Is part of: Regioninės studijos. 2012, [No.] 6, The development of ‘Japan’ in the west: comparative analysis, p. 11-28
Date: 2012
Keywords: Japanese businessmen;American films;Representations of the Other;Ambivalence;Self-criticism;Individualism
Abstract: Construction of ‘otherness’ is, according to Homi K. Bhaba, a very complicated process containing self-contradictions that disavow its difference from self-defense and yet mask the anxiety derived from the desire and fear toward otherness. Remaining, therefore, are traces of contradictory beliefs and conflicting emotions, which lead to ambivalent views and anxiety toward one’s own identity and authority within the discourse of otherness. Bhaba uses the psychoanalytic notion ‘ambivalence’, which refers to “a simultaneous attraction toward and repulsion from an object, person or action” in his analysis of stereotypes of the Other.This paper examines the ambivalence reflected in the images of Japanese businessmen in American films from the 1960s to the present. The films to be examined are A Majority of One (1961), 1970s films, Gung Ho (1986), Die Hard (1988), Rising Sun (1993) and Lost in Translation (2005). The dominant images of Japanese businessmen are negatively constructed in such a way that they defend American self-images. However, especially in the late 1980s and early 1990s, these Japanese images seemed not only to defend Americans themselves, but also mask their own anxiety toward themselves and further criticize themselves for their reconstruction of their own self-images. The purpose of this paper is to explore the contradictory beliefs and conflicting emotions of Americans reflected in the ambivalent images of Japanese businessmen in the above films.
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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