Education About Asia: Online Archives

Katana Envy

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After watching a recent spate of samurai-related films from both the US and Japan, I was struck by how, as a teacher of Japanese culture, my initial reaction is to point out all things the films get wrong, and how my students couldn’t care less. I’m beginning to think there may be more productive ways of relating these pop culture icons that are part historical abomination, part cultural utopia, to the work we do as teachers. With the new cross-disciplinary interest in culture, I also think cultural scholars can contribute more than primarily pointing out faults. For what is interesting is not so much what the films get wrong, but the things they deem essential to get right.