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I hope you are all well.
This week we have been taking some time to look at the history of Japanese Theatre, its traditional forms and functions. It is important for us to look at Asian Theatre and (for this course specifically this Spring) Japanese Theatre styles.
As a class we will be moving next week from the history of Asian Theatre to its modern American application and how the different styles and iterations of Asian Theatre in America speaks to the cultural and societal needs of this great social block, especially here in southern California.
For our discussion question, I would like for you to consider your overall outlook, knowledge and familiarity with Asian history in the U.S. and the potential struggles that Asian Americans have endured in the last century(s) as there was mass migrations in the middle of the 1800’s. Looking at the Asian American experience in America is important as we consider the building blocks of our nation, with railroads, industry, internment camps during WWII, the deep culture of education and tradition that is so socially important to the overall history of this group of study and the important contributions that we as a society have enjoyed from key figures in Asian American history.
Now we have not spent time in detail study of these questions apart from a Brief History of Asian in America video clip, which was provided. This discussion is mainly about what your personal thoughts and experiences are as a consumer of pop culture, entertainment, news, and working and living today in Southern California. We can all speak with a certain level of experience and knowledge, either directly or indirectly, to what we think would be important elements and issues to discuss within the Asian American culture.
I would like you to discuss what you believe to be an important issue(s) that could be explored within the vehicle of good storytelling (Theatre, TV, Film) and why you believe it to be an important issue to be raised and wrestled with for the greater American body politic.
You can certainly address an issue(s) that is a current or ongoing issue for the Asian American public. If you are in the class and are Asian American, I would love you to discuss any personal (as long as you are comfortable) insight you may have.
Please respond to two posts. Your post should be at least 150 words in length.
First student response (Corina):
One issue that rose in the eyes of Asian American politics comes from the video “Brief history of Asian in American.” Personally, I never knew about Vincent Chin, who was a Chinese American and was surprised with his incident. In Detroit 1982, China was beaten with a baseball bat by two Caucasian males who happened to be autoworkers. They blamed Chin for not having any work. During this time, the U.S auto industry was facing impacted jobs and high unemployment among autoworkers. But at the same time, the Japanese auto industry and manufacturers were overgrowing. Due to this incident, many individuals raised awareness and justice for Chin, since two males only had to pay $3,000 fine. Civil rights trials and movements began to emerge because of Chin’s death. I think it’s essential to study Asian history, along with all types of history because it provides us knowledge of cross-cultural awareness and understanding.
Furthermore, from personal experience, I could see important elements within the Asian American culture. I recently visited Japan this past November, and it was such a beautiful country to travel to. Being in Japan, I learned their way of living, their food, culture, and even had the chance visit many temples, shrines, gardens, was able to see Geisha’s and how they dress, along with seeing different shows. I saw performers and everyday Japanese individuals dressed up in traditional clothing whether it was for show or ceremony services. It was fascinating to see all the intricate patterns and design on their gowns, along with wooden shoes. Overall, it is a country I recommend everyone to visit in order to see the beautiful culture, landscape, and to try the ramen!
Second student response (Tiffany):
Being Asian American myself, there have been both positive and negative experiences. Some of the positives are that our culture is becoming more popular in the media. For example, you see TV shows featuring trips to Asia and cooking channels where there are many Asian dishes and ingredients used. In addition, I thought it was interesting and cool to see how many Asian Americans were competing in the 2018 Winter Olympics. Moreover, you also see Korean Pop gaining more and more popularity in America. Some negatives are the stereotypes and racial slurs that I have seen in the media. You rarely see many Asians in films or TV shows but when there are, they are most likely playing a nerd, doctor, or even have roles where they use an Asian accent for comedy. With that being said, I think in the future there will be more roles in films that will have Asian American actors, but won’t use their ethnicity as the main factor to define the character they play.