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The Last Samurai: Commentary of Intercultural Exchange

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Abigail Kelsen

on 15 December 2013

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Transcript of The Last Samurai: Commentary of Intercultural Exchange

Commentary of Intercultural Exchange The Last Samurai Gender Roles Depictions of Western and
Asian Morality The Sentimental Narrative The Last Samurai reflects concerns people have in an increasingly globalized world Conclusion -female role -male gender roles across different cultures Modern Orientalism Genuine & Sincere Cultural Exchange Role reversal Absence of a sexual liaison A Legitimate "White Knight" Appreciation of traditional Japanese value system Highlights the flaws of the "White Knight" rather than of the Samurai
dependency on alcohol
haunted by actions against the Native Americans
Saved from his own culture
refuse to enable alcoholism - Taka is the only female character in the film - duplicity- submissive, yet opinionated Katsumoto and Taka have a chat - Traditional Samurai values - Western modern mannerisms Katsumoto leading his army "Samurai" means "to serve"
A sense of community and family Cleaning Up Nathan's Tracks Relationship with Taka is not the motivation for cultural exchange
Built on a more meaningful platform through respect and sympathy
Instead of:
being objectified
pure physical attraction
exploitation Male Role Thesis: The Last Samurai makes a commentary on intercultural exchange by arguing that, when people of different cultures and values come together, inflexibility and refusal to move away from adherence to extremes, namely traditionalism or modernization, leads to conflict. Orientalism Gender Inequality Agrarian Society Feudalism At the heart of Orientalism, he argued, lay an ideology of difference. Orientalism constructed the "East" and the "West" as internally coherent and mutually exclusive entities; it insisted that "there is an 'us' and a 'them,' each quite settled, clear, unassailably self-evident." Orientalism worked as an instrument of Western domination, according to Said, by defining the East in relation to the West through a series of oppositions, each of which located the East in a subordinate position.
(Klein 10). Taka tends to her husband's killer... ...And is the only character who works in the fields The enviable life of the samurai... ...And the less-than-enviable life of everyone else The Countryside Cold War Orientalism’s “sentimentalist mode” encourages viewers to sympathize with the traditionalist aspects of Japanese society through Nathan Algren’s eventual assimilation into Japan’s feudal samurai community.Yet, Algren’s perpetuation of the sentimentalist narrative and subsequent experiences in both modern/traditional societies averts extremism and in turn saves Japan’s cultural identity. Sentimental Narrative Characteristics
(Klein) 1. Self-in relation to others 2. Formation of bonds that transcend barriers 3. Emotions at core 4. Reciprocity 5. Severing = Greatest Trauma Assimilation into Japanese Society in _Sayonara_ * Gruver indifferent to Japan
* Unsatifactory endings for Asian characters Assimilation into Japanese Society in _The Last Samurai_ * Algren is alive at end, but his ending is no more satisfactory than Asian characters' Morality and Captivity * Meagan Yen's moral superior
* Algren Katsumoto's moral equal
* White and Asian morality equally justified Intercultural Exchange * Katsumoto and Algren learn from one another
* Algren able to confront past, act on morals
* Emperor Meiji able to resume leadership role
* Meiji will not rely on extreme modernization tactics
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