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Deutsches Institut für Japanstudien

Griseldis Kirsch

Japanese Studies, English Literature, Ethnology
Since March 2005
(PhD Students, March 1, 2005 - February 28, 2006)


  • Japanese Media, especially the fictional areas of the Japanese media

  • Sino-Japanese relations (as mirrored in the media)

  • Constructions of the ‘Other’ in Japanese Media

Dissertation Project

“Constructions of China in Japanese Cinema, TV Drama and TV Commercials” (working title)

In relation to the ‘Western’ countries, other Asian countries were rarely presented within the Japanese media. Since the 1990s, however, ‘Asian’ topics in Japan’s popular culture increased visibly. As especially the media can prove to be a ‘mirror and driving force’ of social change they have the potential to pick up trends or even to re-enforce them. Therefore, the results of my research may therefore throw light on Japan’s relation to its Asian neighbours as presented in the Japanese media, but they may also give insight into Japan’s self-image, as the constructions of the ‘other’ always mirror the construction of the ‘self’. China, that is the People’s Republic of China, Taiwan and Hong Kong, was chosen as the main research topic of this dissertation project, because it was continuously present in Japanese cinema, TV drama and commercials since the 1990s.
Even though research on the image of the ‘other’ in the Japanese media has already been conducted, the fictional genres have so far been neglected. Unlike the non-fictional genres, the fictional genres such as TV dramas or films offer a particularly high potential to actually identify with the ‘other’ and, in consequence, to reflect on the ‘self’. Therefore, it is of great importance to analyse the constructions of the ‘other’ in these particular genres.
So far, representative examples of the three genres have been the base of my analysis. This sample is now to be systematically expanded and analysed according to a coding sheet to ensure the comparability of my results. Furthermore, the discussion within the non-fictional areas of the Japanese media shall be the background of my analysis. With my research, I aim to work out the general patterns of the construction of China and to show the possible implications for Japan’s self-image in relation to China.