Wednesday, May 13, 2009

New Trek Movie (Japanese flyer)

The images are much bigger than they appear in this post. Click on the small versions in this post to see a full-size version.

About a week and a half ago, my husband went to see Watchmen at a Japanese movie theater. They showed a trailer for the new Trek movie and flyers were available for it. My husband noticed that Spock did not make much of an appearance in the clips at all.

I'm not sure why Spock isn't in it, but I also noted that he doesn't make much of an appearance in the flyer either. It's my guess that the Japanese promotional material is focusing on the blond-haired, blue-eyed captain. Most promotion in Japan comes with a pandering slant. For instance, all of the advertisements for Battlestar Galactica here focused heavily on the Asian actress (sorry, I didn't watch BG so I don't know who she is or who she plays). Also, the commercials for Law and Order: SVU showcase and talk about B.D. Wong a lot because he's Asian. Note that I've never seen ads for either of these shows featuring any of the other actors in those shows.

The back of the flyer mentions that there is a Japanese blog for Chris Pine. There are no other blogs for other actors. This further fuels my feeling that the pretty boy has been chosen to appeal to the Japanese audience. The fact that the header graphic has a big heart on it and he's posed like some boy band idol doesn't do much to dissuade me from my conclusions.

One interesting point for those of us who followed the original Trek series here in Japan is that two of the characters have regained their original names with the reboot. In Japan, Scotty was called "Charlie" in the original series broadcast here and the brochure now lists his character as "Scot". I don't know why his name was changed to Charlie, but the thought always amused me. Also, Sulu was called "Sato" in Japan. This is likely because "Sulu" is not a real Japanese name. He is listed as "Sulu" in the brochure.

I hope you enjoy the scans. Note my marvelous stitching together of the center! The seam running down the center is the fold line in the brochure, not a flaw in my Photoshop work.

A little postscript: There's a mention on the back of an "ID card neck strap" which one can buy for 1,300 yen (about $13) which shows Chris Pine as Captain Kirk. I'm not sure what the point of this is, but it's a limited edition movie souvenir.


Girl Japan said...

I am not a Trek(ie) but I can understand your point- the new show called "The Listener" asked for viewers to participate in a contest giving it a "Japanese Title)- I was literally spewing coffee when I read about the "blue-eye"statement- a Canadian Supernatural Show- so guess what retarded name they choose- ah... "through the eyes of pale blue" what the fuck does that have to do with anything- even my husband (who is Japanese) thought it was RETARDED-

I wonder who is the driving force behind some of this idiotic crap...

While we are on the blond hair, blue eyes, most or a lot of employers ask for photos here to screen you out if your not blond hair, blue eyed- although they would never admit it.

Orchid64 said...

I've been seeing ads announcing the results of "The Listener" (don't know what it's called in the U.S.), but I didn't know that one of the suggestions was "through the eyes of pale blue"! That's extremely stupid, but it does illustrate how many people focus heavily on blue eyes.

I've been told by students that they "envy" (their words, not mine) my eye and hair color because my eyes are blue and my hair now appears to be blond (it used to be strawberry blond, but a lot of white hair has made it look only blond). It's kind of distressing, really. It's not like we do anything to earn our physical attributes so there's no need to admire them.

My former employer also used to screen for attractiveness and that included blue eyes and blond hair. They also preferred not to hire people of obvious Asian descent, even if they were born and raised in an English speaking country. One of my former coworkers wasn't allowed to use her Japanese family name because it'd reveal her genetic history, though she was thoroughly a Canadian.

Roy said...

In the past, despite being a certified TESL instructor, I've been turned down for many teaching English jobs just because I am Asian and eventually I asked them not to waste my time calling me into an interview if they were looking for a caucasian. However, even back in the day there were plenty of establishments that didn't think that way and hired all races so long as they were native English speakers.

But I always tried to think of it this way. If I went into a Chinese or Japanese restaurant in Canada and it was run by all white people I think I'd think twice about the authenticity of the food. So I think the bias is somewhat understandable in a sense.

I'm taking the 29th off work so I can enjoy STAR TREK without thinking about my job. Wooohooo!!!

Orchid64 said...

I'm afraid that I can't view the situation your way, Roy. I don't see the fact that one person has a bias as justifying the fact that another person has a bias. I judge people by their skills, not their genetic history. I judge restaurants by their food.

Sure, we all go through mental processes of evaluating people based on superficial characteristics from time to time, but the important point is not to act on your conclusions because you know they're not fair and that they're doing a disservice to the person you're dealing with. It's not wrong to have thoughts about such things, it's wrong to act on them, and that's what the Japanese do, and so many foreigners just say it's okay to do so because the Japanese are special.

Maybe Canada is different about this, but in America, we're constantly taught that judging people by their skin, hair, eyes, or facial features is wrong.

The bottom line is this is all part of a continuum of behavior in Japan which objectifies people based on their appearance. You're not a person with skills to be utilized either in teaching a language or sharing your cultural identity, you're a doll with blue eyes and blond hair to be gawked at. You're a foreign object to be presented for the natives to slot into their limited notion of what an English speaker is, not a person. Pandering to this notion or tolerating it only serves to encourage it and it actually isn't doing English learners a favor to cater to their narrow view of what a "foreigner" is by presenting them with a parade of white faces. When they go off to other countries, they're just going to be all the worse for being treated to a Barbie and Ken fest in Japan, and they're going to be far more likely to say something offensive or stupid to people who won't be as patient with them as an English teacher would be.