8.21.2010

Editing out the "whiteness" - very interesting

One of the great things about living in Japan is the documentaries. This nation is geared towards the acquisition of knowledge, both useful and not. By accident, I've discovered something else about them, too. Let me explain something first. Most documentaries are broadcast in stereo. While they are on the DVD recorder, they play bilingually. When they are burned to a DVD, they only play in Japanese. Hence, I generally try to track down English copies for myself when they come available. Youtube is a great place to begin and today I discovered something radical: the Japanese systematically delete as many white hosts (physically) from documentaries as possible.

Take Dr. Alice Roberts for example from the Incredible Human Journey . On the internet copy, she is everywhere. Although her voice is heard in English on my copies, she only rarely appears as one of the many "experts." You can tell the others are talking to someone, but they don't show who.

Seriously, they re-edit the documentaries in such a way that these people do NOT appear to be special. Only the information counts, not who is delivering it. Unless something is kid-oriented, movies are usually not dubbed. Subtitles are used. Dubbing is used for the documentaries though.

I think this goes to show that people can be protected to some extent from "white supremacy." I've found this to be true of four other popular series. There are many ways for POC to fight back. I know this isn't earth-shattering news, but I thought it would be nice to share.

7 comments:

  1. So they are decentering whiteness? Makes me wonder what their Haiti earthquake coverage was like. Cause here in the states it was all about white people. Missing white people and white saviors. One story that really pissed me off on CNN was all about a white teen that had already been found safe. Yet they still preceded to talk about him for an hour.

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  2. they should try "editing out the 'whitness'" in some of music videos and commercials; blond, blue-eyed white women seem to be everywhere.

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  3. @Avastacia
    they should try "editing out the 'whitness'" in some of music videos and commercials; blond, blue-eyed white women seem to be everywhere.


    This, this, THIS! Just wait until the Fall TV season starts...you ain't seen nothing yet.

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  4. @cinnamon

    lol, what's THAT supposed to mean? *^_^*

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  5. @Modest-goddess

    Makes me wonder what their Haiti earthquake coverage was like.

    A majority of the coverage here was on the black people of Haiti. There continues to be frequent updates about how crappy things still are even after all of this time. I don't know if this reflects genuine caring or a desire to bash the US government. I don't think it matters as long as someone is paying attention to the plight of those poor people. There are many Japanese NGOs and NPOs in Haiti as well.

    @Avastacia
    they should try "editing out the 'whitness'" in some of music videos and commercials; blond, blue-eyed white women seem to be everywhere.

    Where in Japan do you live? This "whiteness" is not a part of my daily experience. I live in Hokkaido (six million people and two million cows and bears). I don't deny that some major metropolitan areas might indulge in this unsavory activity though.

    Niseko (hub of skiing and snowboarding) hosts the only large Caucasian population (Australians). There isn't a major white-wash here. They don't inundate the commercials, billboards, magazines, music videos or on-air content here. Foreign content comes mainly from Korea. The soap operas air all day and the historical dramas air all night. All multi-lingual signs have English, Korean and Chinese although the Chinese people have already overstayed their welcome up here.

    My husband is also Kohmuin, thus, even when we travel domestically, we seldom ever stay in parts of the city that hosts a foreigners. I'm usually the only "outsider" in the flesh or otherwise.

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  6. @Avastacia

    Our studios have a great and unabiding love for blonde, white women (blue eyes are optional). Like migrating birds, they invade debuting TV shows every Fall in great numbers. Their characters are usually extremely boring, but that doesn't stop the showrunners and writers from giving them major storylines (even if it drags down the rest of the show).

    It's gotten so predicatable, I can set my watch by it. It's nearly the end of August, so the migration should be starting soon. Stay tuned...

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  7. @ Cinnamon

    It's getting the point that I can't even tell any of these actress/singers/whoevers apart.

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