Techno-Orientalism in Western Films


Part 1

Orientalism is a term coined by Edward Said and is described as the Westerns interpretation of Eastern Culture, specifically Asian countries and those in the Arab/Islamic world. Said’s book is known to be used for open discussion of the imagery of eastern culture through westerners eyes. Techno-orientalism has become a growing term in recent years due to the representations of “futuristic worlds” in films, literature and new media. These worlds are seen as hyper-technological and are “critically examining the stereotype of Asians as both technologically advanced and intellectually primitive (Ueno, T. 1999).”

Western-made films such as Blade Runner and its sequel Blade Runner 2049 pose as popular examples of techno-orientalism. Typically in western films, a country and culture that is most commonly represented through a techno-orientalist approach is Japan. Japans hugely successful economic developments in the 1980s could be a factor in the western depiction of Japan as a technologically advanced group. With Japan purchasing a large number of American companies during this time, we can easily see how Hollywood may view Japan as a progressively advanced community. There is a conception that the USA fears Japan and its ability for fast technological developments that may ‘take over the world.’ This is easily represented in a lot of science-fiction films, some which contribute to techno-orientalism. 

The first film that I want to explore as a case study is Ridley Scott’s 1982 film Blade Runner which profited USD 5.8 million. This ‘cyberpunk’ aesthetic has a techno-dystopian feel to it. “Blade Runner creates a futuristic noir atmosphere by heavily borrowing from Asian motifs” (Yuen, W. 2000). Scott imitates Asian capitalism with bright flashing billboards in Chinese ideographs and katakana logos on the upper city. Other Asian-representations include pixelated women in kimonos and cheongsam, as well as images of instant ramen and bibimbap bowls. It is presented as a techno-Asian capital that infuses both Asians technological advances and its traditional stereotypes of dress, food and other aesthetic features.  

Although set in Los Angeles, the city that Scott creates is lacking any sign of American culture. Poverty and waste dominate the streets despite the highly technological map that aims to alienate the audience. The commercial Japanese presence in the film is almost overwhelming, alluding to the rise of its economic and technological superpower status.

There may be misperception by the audience on whether the futuristic aesthetic science fictions films depict basic futuristic appeal or if they underline “fears of Asian economic hegemony and reverse colonization” (Young, A). This is a form of techno-orientalism where the western picture of the future of Asian culture is based on the perspective of fear, resentment and envy – representing the “alienated and dystopian image of capitalist progress” (Young, A).

So does blade runner express western fear of Asian future dominance? Not undeniably, however, it does give the Western audience a feeling of unease and undesirability towards the future of Asia. This is a clear demonstration of techno-orientalism being used to enforce a stereotype of racial prejudice. On top of the aesthetics that play a part in the display of techno-orientalism, there is also clear racial disparity represented in the film’s world. In the film, Chew – the eye-maker, picks up an eyeball with chopsticks. This is a clear example that highlights the cultural stereotypes of a ‘primitive’ nature. In this scene, the film almost uses Chew as a reflection of eastern culture as an unprogressively ‘third-world’ society as if it was genetically ingrained. 

I want to compare Scott’s Blade Runner to the newly released Blade Runner 2049 (2017) directed by Denis Villeneuve because of the controversial lack of Asian characters in the futurist LA city. This is a form of techno-orientalism as despite taking aesthetics from Japanese and Chinese culture, it is completely devoid of Asian people. Like the original, this film is featuring characters in Asian-influenced fashions as they walk between skyscraper-high advertising showcasing Asian iconography. 2049 may be described as “racially homogenized,” (A. D. Janowski et.al. 2018) which could be a tactic that shows the western fear of the eastern world taking over the futuristic world.  

A study by Andrew Kim explores this choice of evacuating Asian character from the film as “a deliberate casting decision.” He believes that the stereotypes of the future of Asian culture are represented as “overlords and drones”, rather than “human subjects”. He states that “Villeneuve envisions a dystopia with Asian infrastructure but without Asians because it is not their tools that have become obsolete, but the Asians themselves — their bodies and their voices” (Kim, A. 2017).

“Fredric Jameson once argued that science fiction does not offer us the future, but rather the present: it transforms our present — which is usually too overwhelming and caught up in personal obsessions to access directly — into another future’s past, so we can finally experience it” (Chun, W. 2017). The concept that the USA fears Japan and its ability to take over the world with its fast technological developments is something that science fiction manipulates to craft its future worlds. This contributes to techno-orientalism in Western Films and it is something that we need to address to understand how the collecting Western perspective is affecting individuals with eastern backgrounds. It is not to say that the Western perception of eastern influence is incorrect. These perspectives are drawn from their interactions and understandings of the East. However, it is important in this study to understand and break misconceptions of the east that come across in movies and negatively impact those of eastern cultures.

Part 2

Communicating through imagery has been an interesting way to communicate effectively to an audience. It gives us a different perspective. As someone who is a visual learner, I believe that having images in projects is important as we can take them subjectively to form our personal opinions on the issues we are discussing. Us, the viewer, and the artist need to project from our own experiences and be open to the perspectives that are shown to us.

I believe that incorporating movie stills into my project gives the audience a different idea on what they seeing as it is no longer something they watch in a second. It is sometimes hard to recognise prejudice or underlying social issues through films as we are not always looking at the same image, but rather a collective of frames throughout different scenes. I believe that we give images more attention and therefore can give that subjective response. For example, even the simplest image of Ryan Gosling, a white male, with the women surrounding him show the lack of representation despite Villeneuve’s use of Japanese aesthetics to create his films. The film still of the eye-ball and the chop-sticks allow the audience to pick up on the use of ‘Asian imagery’ with a primitive take to it and how that gives a negative perspective to the traditional use of chopsticks. These images point out the use of techno-orientalism in western films. I hope that my project shows this through the visual imagery that I had chosen and that the audience understands the impact that Hollywood and the Western World have on the perspective of the Eastern World. That is Orientalism.


Chun, Wendy Hui Kyong. 2020. All Snowflakes Must Melt: “Blade Runner 2049”. Los Angeles Review of Books. [ONLINE] Available at: https://lareviewofbooks.org/article/all-snowflakes-must-melt-blade-runner-2049/. [Accessed 16 June 2020].

Jankowski, Andrew D. Sachiye, Leigh. 2018. PSU Vanguard. Redefining Reality in ‘Blade Runner 2049’. [ONLINE] Available at: https://psuvanguard.com/redefining-reality-in-blade-runner-2049/. [Accessed 16 June 2020].

Kim, Andrew. Medium. 2017. Evacuasians from the Blade Runner Universe, and Why Vienna Teng is Great. [ONLINE] Available at: https://medium.com/@andrewkim_95002/evacuasians-from-the-blade-runner-universe-and-why-vienna-teng-is-great-c6cc6f35123d. [Accessed 16 June 2020].

Ueno, T 1999. ‘Techno-Orientalism and Media-Tribalism: On Japanese animation and rave culture’. Third Test, Vol 13, no. 47, pp. 95-105

Young, Alexandra. 2020. Skemman.[ONLINE] Available at: https://skemman.is/bitstream/1946/17175/1/pdfflexa.pdf. [Accessed 8 June 2020].

Yuen, W. 2000. On the Edge of Spaces: Blade Runner, Ghost in the Shell , and Hong Kong’s Cityscape. Science Fiction Studies, [Online]. 21, 1. Available at: https://www.depauw.edu/sfs/backissues/80/wong80art.htm [Accessed 16 June 2020].



My Topic: What do students prioritise when it comes to a study-work-life balance?

This semester has been a very strange, tough and stressful journey. I have had this project with me throughout the whole semester so I considered it a constant in my life while covid-19 was affecting all other aspects. I could not say that I had an expected result for my project as I knew my question was incredibly subjective and everyone would have a very individualised experience and therefore a very individualised answer.

In saying that, comparing it to my own personal experience on creating a solid WLB, I knew that work would be a huge factor in the students ability to focus on their study. With this knowledge I feel like I can understand why students prioritise certain part of their lives whether it be for their future career or their financial constraints. I wish I delved more into students abilities to prioritise their social lives and if they ever let it jeopardise their work or study life.

With this knowledge I intend (with future research) to see what the government is doing to help with the financial strains that students feel as my research really pointed out how many hours students work in order to merely survive. As a full time undergraduate student, I work 35 hours a week and still do not earn enough money to be independent. Because of my long work hours I tend to push my studies aside. I thought this topic would be interesting to really delve into that but I also believe I only scratched the surface. I hope I can continue this study in the future. ‘

I found this project a learning curb as I was not only studying other students perspectives but also my own. I learnt that I do very well when I have structure in my life. With this project I realised I need to prioritise certain aspects of my life better in order to be the best that I can be.

It is hard to give feedback to a subject that had to change dramatically because of what was happening around the world due to Covid-19. I must admit I would have been more excited about this project if I was physically in class listening in on the lectures. In saying that, I found the online tutorials very helpful when we were discussing the project. This was the most “put-together” class out of all of mine this semester and I think they did very well at adapting to the online environment. Thank you!!

#MyCuriosity BCM212 – The Student Experience

BCM212, Uncategorized

BCM212 TOPIC: The student experience: how does full-time study affect the social aspects of your life.

Do you think that it is important to have an equal study/social life balance? My BCM212 topic will focus on how full-time study can have an impact on your life outside of university regarding friendships and relationships. I want to know if students believe having a social life is as important to maintaining a healthy life while studying full-time, or is it best to focus more on study.

I strongly believe that maintaining your friendships during your periods of study is incredibly important but I have also understood that some people don’t feel the same way. Many of my personal relationships have suffered during the university semester period as we have become focused on our own worlds. From my understanding and my own personal student experience I have learnt that most students have different perspectives on their issues and I want to understand more about them.

Let me give you an example of different opinions regarding this topic;

As a full-time Uni student I tend to spent 2-3 days at the University. I also work 3-4 days a week. I like to spend one of my free days to catch up on some study. However, I also like to save my nights and one day a week to go out and forget about Uni life for a bit. Social relationships are incredibly important to me as they give me a reason to enjoy myself and my time as someone who is in their early 20’s. Studying is important to me but so is my mental health and maintaining a social life has allowed me to feel more balanced in life. However, I know a friend who is the complete opposite to me. I only see her one a month because she will put all her energy into her study and is constantly stressed about it. She wishes that she had more time to see us yet doesn’t do anything to balance her social life with study. What I want to learn is how students cope with their social relationships during the semester and of how much importance they believe it is compared to study alone.



Does digital communication affect relationships?

BCM241, Uncategorized

Can texting habits be seen as a compatibility trait? Especially in newly progressive relationships, can ignoring messages be seen as a ‘red flag’. Or, is it just the “pandemic of over-communication that’s led to an absence of intimacy” (The Politician, 2019).

Check out my video to find out more:


Brian A. Hoey, PHD. 2019. What is Ethnography?. Available at: https://brianhoey.com/research/ethnography/. [Accessed 30 September 2019].

BusinessDictionary. 2019. Demographic Factors. Available at: http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/demographic-factors.html. [Accessed 8 October 2019].

Buzzfeed. 2016. Are Your Texting Habits Actually Weird?. Available at: https://www.buzzfeed.com/alicemongkongllite/how-basic-are-your-texting-habits. [Accessed 10 November 2019].

Chapman, G. 2019. The 5 Love Languages; The Five Love Languages Defined. Available at: https://www.5lovelanguages.com/2018/06/the-five-love-languages-defined/. [Accessed 2 October 2019].

Coyne et.al, 2018. I just text to say I love you: Partner similarity in texting and relationship satisfaction. Computers in Human Behaviour, [Online]. 78, 126-132. Available at: https://www-sciencedirect-com.ezproxy.uow.edu.au/science/article/pii/S0747563217305125 [Accessed 10 November 2019].

HigherEdJobs. 2017. Why More Colleges Are Using Social Media to Recruit Students. Available at: https://www.higheredjobs.com/articles/articleDisplay.cfm?ID=1393. [Accessed 10 November 2019].

J. Pettigrew. 2009. Text messaging and connectedness within close interpersonal relationships. Marriage and Family Review, 45 (6–8), pp. 697-716. [Accessed 10 November 2019].

Medium. 2018. Communication at Pernix. Available at: https://medium.com/@dvelasquez/communication-at-pernix-81fcb7f074cc. [Accessed 10 November 2019].

N. Brody, J. Peña. 2015. Equity, relational maintenance, and linguistic features of text messaging. Computers in Human Behavior, 49, pp. 499-506. [Accessed 10 November 2019].

Our World in Data. 2019. The rise of social media. Available at: https://ourworldindata.org/rise-of-social-media. [Accessed 9 October 2019].

The Politician, 2019. Ian Brennan, Brad Falchuk, Ryan Murphy, United States

SoundCloud. (2016). Pingu63. Nintendo Wii – Mii Channel Theme. 2016. Available from: https://soundcloud.com/user-861152409/nintendo-wii-mii-channel-theme [Accessed: 10 November 2019].

SlideShare. 2015. Technologically/Computer Mediated Communication. Available at: https://www.slideshare.net/aabidzafar/technologically-mediated-communication. [Accessed 10 November 2019].

Vinney, C. 2019. ThoughtCo.: What Is Uses and Gratifications Theory? Definition and Examples. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.thoughtco.com/uses-and-gratifications-theory-4628333. [Accessed 2 October 2019].

BCM215 Contextual Essay

BCM215, Uncategorized

Using movement and non-movement-based video games to train professional athletes

I created my digital artefact to explore the possibility of using video games as a form of training in the professional environment. Sport-related video games, such as Madden NFL, NBS and MVP Basketball – to name a few – are increasingly popular in the community. Virtual Reality (VR) has additionally become more accessible, and with proper research conducted by STRIVR, we can determine the future possibility of using gaming as a form of professional training. I additionally wanted to break the couch-potato stereotype that video games are tied to, especially now that more research is being made on this topic.


My digital artefact is presented as two short podcasts. The first one explores movement-based video games focusing on Virtual Reality as a training tool for professional athletes. The second podcast notes the skills that can be obtained through non-movement based sport-related video games and how these skills can be transferred into the real-life games.

My structuralist approach allows me to look at the material elements such as the gameplay which in turn allows me the look into how gameplay can have an impact on game skill and therefore skill in the real-life environment.

I implemented an analytical framework into my digital artefact, focusing on 3 critical frames:


As I focused on both non-movement based and movement-based video games in my podcasts, I explored multiple platforms that players can use to access these games e.g. PlayStation, Xbox and Virtual Reality modes. However, these sport-based games (depending on when released and who released them) can be accessed on multiple platforms from PC’s to mobile devices.


Sport-related video games are their own genre in the Esports gaming list. The games that I have explored such as Madden are team-based games – just like their real-life inspirations. Therefore, these games can be used in either single-player or multiplayer modes. Either way; it is the individuals themselves that are obtaining the skills that come with playing video games. Multiplayer mode may be more useful in the fact that you are opposing a real-life gamer rather than a computer.

Technical Strata – Development Context

I delve quite deep into how new technology is being implemented into athletes professional training, including new media such as virtual reality which has only been developed quite recently. I also note how realism in our gaming (which has improved over time with new technology) can lead to a better understanding of the game when played professionally in the real athletic environment.

9 innings 2013.png

I obtained my research through both academic journals and blog posts as more research is now coming to light regarding video games and their positive benefits. I wanted to make sure that these journals were relevant in breaking the couch potato stereotype by notice the scientifically proven benefits behind playing these games e.g. benefits in reaction time, memory and coordination etc. I also researched companies that were invested in using gaming equipment e.g. virtual reality to prep professional athletes for competition. An example of this is STRIVR – which I mention in podcast 1.


Breaking the couch potato stereotype

My podcasts are the equivalent of 1024 words. I chose to use an audio format (short podcast) because I wanted to explore a different media format that I had never used before. This was also an idea based on my feedback from my peers in the pitch and the beta as originally I was going to create two blog posts. I also believe that podcasts are easier to process at times and can be used while multitasking. These podcasts are suitable for individuals who are interested in the benefits of video games on their athletic capacities. Professional or not – individuals play certain sports because that is what they enjoy to do, so incorporating another ‘hobby’ that they enjoy into their training schedules will not only add more job but allow the individuals to reap the benefits e.g. strengthening their skill set.

Overall, I believe that my project was successful in concluding that video games do have a significant benefit in training for sport, and have already been implemented to some degree in the professional world already. As much as I wanted to include more information and more example, I had a word count limitation and therefore did not delve as deep as I would have liked.


Virtual Reality as a new form of training

You can access my two podcasts by clicking here

The internet of things: from networked objects to anticipatory spaces

BCM206, Uncategorized

“In simple terms, the IoT stands for the connection of usually trivial material objects to the internet – ranging from tooth brushes, to shoes or umbrellas” (Mitew, T. 2014).

We could describe the regular household as a representation of the impact of “The Internet of Things,” which is a term to describe the “ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction” (Wikipedia. 2019).

Companies are now single-handedly using the IoT as an advantage to connect households with multiple devices from the same brand.

Chet Pipkin, the CEO and founder of Belkin has a very positive outlook on the future of connecting technologies in the house, stating “The world is made up of trillions of things — cars, planes, jet engines, exercise equipment, the items on my desk. And then there’s the Internet. This category is about all of these things and the Internet, as we know it, coming together. Anything I can do over the Internet blended with my things” (Forbes, 2014).

As technology becomes more and more integrated into our networked home, we find that everything can be connected, making home-life just a little bit more easy to control. Is that such a bad thing?




Forbes. 2014. Everything Is Connected: What ‘The Internet Of Things’ Means Now. Available at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/lorikozlowski/2014/04/23/everything-is-connected-what-the-internet-of-things-means-now/#372912f725a1. [Accessed 1 September 2019].

Mitew, T. (2014) ‘Do Objects Dream of an Internet of Things?’, Fibreculture Journal, 2014 (23), 1-25.

Wikipedia. 2019. Internet of Things. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_of_things. [Accessed 1 September 2019].

Dark fiber: hackers, botnets, cyberwar

BCM206, Uncategorized

The phenomena of hacking and cybercrime from their origins in the very beginning of the internet have grown exponentially. The future trajectory of cyberwarfare has us all concerned about the safety of our private information.


Hackers are individuals who without authorization use their skills to break into your computer system and collect and destroy information or install dangerous malware without your consent.


Botnets can be used to steal data, send spam, and allows the attacker to access the device and its connection. A ‘malicious’ botnet refers to when it can use illegal and dangerous coding to hack your machine. It can also be known as a “spider”, as it crawls the internet looking for holes in security to exploit. (Norton, 2019).

Ways that we can ultimately improve our privacy online from hackers and botnets include:

  1. Check your social privacy settings
  2. Don’t use public storages for private information
  3. Evade tracking
  4. Keep your main e-mail address and phone number private
  5. Use messaging apps with end-to-end encryption
  6. Use secure passwords
  7. Review permissions for mobile apps and browser extensions

(Kaspersky Daily, 2019).


My remediation is a youtube clip on the dangers of botnets, including tips on how to improve your privacy online:


Norton. 2019. What is a botnet?. Available at: https://au.norton.com/internetsecurity-malware-what-is-a-botnet.html. [Accessed 8 October 2019].

Kaspersky Daily. 2019. 10 tips to improve your Internet privacy. vailable at: https://www.kaspersky.com/blog/privacy-ten-tips-2018/23022/. [Accessed 8 October 2019].

Digital resistance: hacktivists, whistleblowers, #AfterSnowden

BCM206, Uncategorized

What was the Wikileaks case?

Wikileaks is an organisation founded by Julian Assange that anonymously leaked information that was regarded secret through its website.
Some information that was leaked included internal documents from the Church of Scientology, leaked emails from Sarah Palin and classified military videos.
A former Army intelligence analyst by the name of Chelsea Manning was convicted and sentenced to 35 years in prison for violating the Espionage Act in 2013.

Digital resistance online

WikiLeaks ‘‘established a powerful brand identity as a technologically sophisticated service capable of distributing purloined data anonymously and publicizing its release.’’ (Fenster, 2011, p.7).
This use of global information networks for political retribution explores the ways in which we can use global online networks for purposes other than communication. It can be used for political digital resistance that can ultimately enforce change in our governments and in our social systems.
My remediation this week is a play on words – exploring how leaking information online can have a global impact.
CNN. 2019. WikiLeaks Fast Facts. Available at: https://edition.cnn.com/2013/06/03/world/wikileaks-fast-facts/index.html. [Accessed 30 September 2019].
Fenster, M. (2011, 28 March). Disclosure’s effects: WikiLeaks and transparency. SSRN Working Paper Series. Accessed 28 May 2013 from http://ssrn.com/abstract=1797945. [Accessed 30 September 2019].


BCM215, Uncategorized

Blog Post 1: Anh Thi

Link: https://mokxii.wordpress.com/2019/09/20/exploring-communicating-affect-of-lovers-in-a-dangerous-spacetime/

Screen Shot 2019-09-27 at 7.14.50 pm.png

I contributed to this post by giving constructive feedback as well as an additional source that they could possibly use for their research. I actively engaged by watching her video, reading about her analytical framework and providing further research. My suggestion to consider reviews as a form of secondary research will hopefully offer her the change to obtain different perspectives by users who play the game. I also offered her the possibility of focusing more on the relevant fractions of the analytical framework in order to properly answer her thesis question – which I hope is a useful suggestion. I could have provided more feedback if I was an active gamer of ‘Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime’, however, I had never heard of the game till now. At least I learnt something new, which is what I got out of this experience!

Blog Post 2: Isaac

Link: https://fuze.design/blog/sound-or-emotion-an-update/

Screen Shot 2019-09-27 at 7.31.52 pm.png

Isaac has a very interesting topic involving the research of sounds in gaming, which I found very interesting! I contributed by providing a couple of sources that I thought would be helpful to understand the different kinds of sounds that can be edited to make gaming more realistic (or unrealistic/futuristic). I noted his change of approaches and made sure to check that he isn’t giving himself too heavy of a load in terms of research and application. However, I did note that adding a post-structuralist approach may even make it easier for him in terms of research and information that can back up his previous research. These approaches engage with our lecture material. I suggested for him to explore different types of sounds and techniques such as “Kinetic Gestural Interaction” by providing two links which delve into this. I learnt from Isaac that podcasts and other audio media types are a good way to approach our topics, and I may consider this for my own digital artefact.

Blog Post 3: Isabella

Link: https://isabellaambrosii.wordpress.com/2019/09/21/women-in-video-games-beta-bcm215/

screen-shot-2019-09-27-at-8.02.36-pm.pngscreen-shot-2019-09-27-at-8.02.41-pm-e1569578641179.pngScreen Shot 2019-09-27 at 8.02.47 pm.png

With Isabella, I took a different approach to provide feedback as I had less information on the topic itself and more on her engagement that she has tried to obtain for her digital artefact. I engaged with her post by acknowledging her struggle to find engagement, and offered her the option to change the media format that she is using to reach a wider audience. Additionally, I provided a couple of Youtube channels that explore a similar topic that she intends to research. I wanted to provide her videos rather than blog posts or articles to provide different media formats that could be used – and hopefully, she gains inspiration from this. I hope my suggestions were useful, however, I should have provided feedback that is relevant to our lecture materials – as she did not mention any of it. I learnt a lot from Isabella by hearing her experience on reaching out for engagement, which I will be able to take into consideration when I do this for my own digital artefact.

Further self-reflection:

What did I learn? What did I get out of the experience? How did I improve over the previous round of comments?

Through my comments, I have been able to identify some possible changes that I could make in my own digital artefact e.g. changing my media format and using a different research approach. Each blog was unique and took a different twist on a digital artefact, and it was interesting to see how our lecture material and readings were being applied. This experience has allowed me to think more deeply about my own digital artefact and I like how it has allowed me to think differently in terms of research methods and the possible structural or even analytical approaches that I could take. I believe I improved over the previous round of comments by being able to identify when lecture materials were being used, and as a result, I could more easily refer my own research materials to the student.