Mizuku Ito has published a new text, a keynote speech she gave at “Digital Generations: Children, Young People and New Media”. Ito is involved in the new research project on "Digital Kids".
From her introduction:
"I've been trying to develop ways of studying, from an ethnographic perspective, processes that are more commonly pursued from a macro sociological perspective, such as the relationships between production, distribution, marketing and consumption. The work I'll be describing for you today is based on several years of fieldwork in Tokyo, focused on the period between 1999 and 2001."
"Rather than see centralized and highly capitalized sites as the sole sites of cultural production, I have been looking at the activity of children and young adults as sites of not only consumptive activity -- that is, buying, watching, and reading centrally produced media -- but also productive activity – not only reinterpreting these texts, but actually reshaping and recreating related media content and knowledge and selling and trading those locally created products."
From her conclusion:
"I would suggest that media mixes such as Pokemon and
Yugioh are tied to a changing politics of childhood. I think part of the appeal of these media mixes for children and young adults is that it explicitly recognizes entrepreneurism and connoisseurship in children's culture, traits that, by some cultural standards, are not considered appropriate for children. In part, these media mixes are becoming ambassadors for a Japanese vision of childhood internationally."