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Cultural Accuracy
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TOPIC: Cultural Accuracy
#112152
Matsui Aiko
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Cultural Accuracy 9 Months, 1 Week ago Karma: 1
So, I had a cultural accuracy nazi, review my fic Misfortune Followed Us Home and I started thinking about how I was representing the characters and if I was being true to their Japanese culture. Like not washing but soaking in the onsen, Kagome's home and attire being something that would have gotten her attacked or robbed in feudal era Japan. I was thinking over these things and would like an honest opinion about whether or not I have been misrepresenting the culture and characters and if that honestly takes away from the enjoyment of the story. I know it could use some editing, I started the story in 2012 and have gained quite a bit of knowledge about Japanese society. When I received the review from the anon that started my questioning, I found myself thinking, I know that already. Everything he mentioned I already knew but hadn't thought to edit the story to be more culturally accurate. So, should I edit it? Is the story hard to read because of my misrepresentation?
 
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#112154
Dragonscloud
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Re:Cultural Accuracy 9 Months, 1 Week ago Karma: 97
While I, personally, like to be fairly accurate to history and culture when writing, these are FANTASY FICTION. There were, obviously, no real youkai or time traveling mikos, so inaccuracies are a given. I think that it doesn't detract from the story as long as it is nothing too egregious (such as when a main character is named Bob but is supposed to be from feudal Japan).
 
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#112155
WiccanMethuselah
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Re:Cultural Accuracy 9 Months, 1 Week ago Karma: 173
Please remember that YOU are the author of your story. YOU decide what details to include or not. You dictate how the story will progress.

Under the Terms of Service on this site (Rules/ToS), reviewers are encouraged to impart their views in a respectful manner, but to remember that, ultimately, the author is free to write their story however they please. Reviews that are highly critical or take the author to task for minutiae are subject to removal by the Admins. Flames that only criticize and do not offer any useful critique will be removed, and the authors of such reviews will be admonished.

Please do not hesitate to contact an Admin if you feel someone has written an overly harsh, critical review!

That said, I read the review in question. I don't think the author of the review was trying to be harshly critical, but has a certain standard in mind when reading so-called 'Feudal Era' stories that you might not share. The whole issue about the onsens is one of literary license in my humble opinion, and I wouldn't worry overmuch about it.

My two cents' worth!

~~Wiccan~~
 
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\"The foolish and the dead alone never change their opinion.\"
- James Russell Lowell 1864


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#112156
Matsui Aiko
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Re:Cultural Accuracy 9 Months, 1 Week ago Karma: 1
I wasn't upset by it, it just really made me think. I hadn't viewed it in that manner before so I just wanted an honest opinion. But I really appreciate your input.
 
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#112157
Matsui Aiko
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Re:Cultural Accuracy 9 Months, 1 Week ago Karma: 1
Thank you, I had thought the same, but different things irk different people and I wanted to make sure nothing was too "out there".
 
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#112159
Pyreite
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Re:Cultural Accuracy 9 Months, 1 Week ago Karma: 54
Stuff about bathing customs depends on the social situation aka hotspring in a village/province where people live or a hotspring in the middle of nowhere.

Sometimes reviewers do miss pertinent details.

I've experienced various reviewers challenge me in the same way over various things.
Sometimes it's useful, especially if you missed something. Other times the reviewer might accidentally give you an idea you can use in plot. Had that more than once. Hilarious when the reviewer guesses accidentally what I was going to do in-story.

LMAO myself red-faced.

Wiccan's right here though. You write as you want too, unless you're going for historical accuracy, right down to Feudal Era stuff. If not than leeway can be given for various things. We've all done it as we've written fanfiction. I mean don't feel the need to change anything. It's one reviewer, an anonymous one. So you could just disable anonymous reading.

I did that in response to a reader from FFNet ranting about me updating and reuploading some of my old Inuyasha fanfiction here, but not on FFNet.

So I figure they can wait, patiently, for me to update there while I update here when I want too, OR they can make an account and read my stuff as a Dokugan member.

It's your story and your writing.

Do it as you like.

Only you can write that story after all is said and done.

And to quote Jareth from Labyrinth - "What is said is said".

~ Pyre
 
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Last Edit: 2016/07/24 19:36 By Pyre.
 
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#112162
kaoruhana
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Re:Cultural Accuracy 9 Months, 1 Week ago Karma: 77
I agree with Wiccan and Pyre that ultimately it's you who has the say on your story. I read the review, and I don't think you should fret about it. Historical fiction is just that: fiction. It's not a non-fiction account of what actually happened, it's made-up and fun.

I think your story is absolutely fine. It's your pride and joy; don't let anyone convince you otherwise
 
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#112175
Emiko
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Re:Cultural Accuracy 9 Months, 1 Week ago Karma: 55
It took me a while to convince myself to write this only because I wasn't sure how to word it so that I didn't come off as boastful - all, "Look at me! I'm Asian! I'm part Japanese! I speak it, I live it (I am in Hawaii, though, not Japan. I mean culturally here.), I must know what the hell I'm talking about!" . . .

But I feel like it is important that I do offer you my opinion, so that you know how someone who's culture is featured so prominently - albeit, watered down and/or twisted - feels when reading fanfiction.

Yes, it is considered VERY rude (and in Japanese culture one avoids burden and offense like the plague) to not wash before entering onsen, however Pyre does have a point. If the situation demands, some protocols are relaxed, especially in very rural areas. Although, this is VERY rare as soaking in an onsen is almost . . . spiritual? Ritual? Sorry, I know how I feel, but I am lacking the proper words to express it. It is believed that not washing prior to entering onsen pollutes the water - not just in the actual sense, but also brings in all the "impurities". But that aside, while it is very RARELY allowed, I'm sure that in the Fuedal Era in which InuYasha takes place this may have occurred more often, especially in colder climates.

About the other inaccuracies . . . who cares. It's a story.

Now that, that is out of the way, here is the important part:

Firstly, it is shown, in both the manga and the anime, the group bathing in the onsen, so imho and whether it's acceptable in real life or not, it's canon. I can stop right here, if I wanted to. Her clothing, canon. Her role in the story despite her clothing and futuristic behavior/attitude, canon.

Secondly, it's fanfiction. Fiiiicccttiioon. It's your world, your story. As a reader, all I desire is well written and well developed. I expect that some things may be unrealistic or a stretch of the truth. As long as your story is well written, within reason, feel free to stretch that artistic license muscle.

Third, and again - urgh, I am having a hard time figuring out how to accurately phrase this. Metaphor time: Ummm, you know when you see pictures of Japanese outfits or events or whatever and think with a giggle, "Sometimes I just don't get Japanese culture/people . . ."? Hey, I do it too! Sometimes I'll ask my friends from Japan (and this is very rude unless you are very, very good friends, so don't do this!), "What is up with Japanese women and their odd fashion sense right now?". Honestly, you should see it, it's kinda weird, but it's popular, lol. Then you just kinda shake your head and let them be. Well, that's kinda what they think of . . . I'm gonna say Americans, but I mean almost everyone outside Japan, just about, and please I mean no offense. I mean, they find western cultures interesting, but they also can't relate sometimes because the Japanese culture is different in so many ways. They don't really take minor mistakes like this seriously as long as it is not meant as a direct offense. Anyone who is not Japanese is usually given some slack because they assume that you may be unaware of the culture. But there are limits to this, of course (usually to the elders or upper crust). ** However, disclaimer time: If visiting Japan, please familiarize yourselves with the basics of the culture, as it is very easy to conduct yourself improperly because we are more direct in how we communicate. Even I have a very, very hard time "showing reserve" as the elders put it, since I was born and raised in Hawaii, even despite the strong Japanese cultural influence here. ** Anyways, point to this paragraph . . . Japanese readers are just like any other reader. If we're here, we like Sess/Kag and we enjoy a good story. Period.

I will say, however, that the only thing that has ever made me cringe while reading a fanfiction is improper use of Japanese words and/or set phrases. It doesn't offend me or make me upset, at least none I've read so far, but it does turn me off from the story - or rather, I'll still read it if it's a good story, but I may be less enthused about that section. My thinking is, if your story is in English and you splash your story with Japanese words used improperly, why bother saying it in Japanese at all? It doesn't add to the authenticity or fame of the story, so . . . yah. One story used "Itadakimasu" in a sexual manner and I had a hard time eating for days, lol (every time I said it at mealtimes, my mind wandered back to the story and I shuddered, lol).

Okay, so sorry this turned out to be a chapter story! I'm also sorry that this is not as well worded as my usual posts, so please pardon typos and such. I was having a harder time trying to convey my points than I thought. I'm too lazy to proofread and edit, lol. So here's my 1 sentence summary:

I'm part Japanese and I have no problem with your story.


Thanks for sticking with me on this bumpy ride! Please stow away your tray table and check all your seat backs for personal belongings before disembarking. Have a wonderful day!

<3 L
 
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Last Edit: 2016/07/28 23:19 By Smoke Goddess.
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#112178
Aura
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Re:Cultural Accuracy 9 Months ago Karma: 10
Good points from a lot of people on this thread, Emiko in particular.

I am currently majoring in East Asian Studies though I will be changing to a Creative Writing degree within the next year but I've already taken several of the culture and historical classes. I have to say for the most part I'm not that bothered when writers get things wrong in fiction until they start using Japanese phrases and words (though in the past I did this myself at times) mixed with English. Having taken a few semesters of Japanese it now just reads really clunky and strange for me. I mean, we are often presuming they are speaking in Japanese just translated for the reader - why are they suddenly not at times? I wont' stop reading a story over that alone but it tends to make me cringe a little.

I know from a cultural standpoint I try to make it more a story by story basis since it's not as though Kagome and Sesshomaru start in a completely realistic place XD. Still, I enjoy seeing when people get the small details of Japanese culture right because it adds something to the story instead of having anything to possibly detract if it's wrong. I'd say it's easier if people aren't sure how it works to just sort of gloss over - the first rule of writing after all is to: 'write what you know'.

Still, if you are happy writing it and writing what you want...you should do that too - I don't generally approach my fanfiction as something that needs to be perfect because I write fan fiction in the first place as something to relax myself and to have fun with. I'm just saying you might get more readers that are more excited to read your work if you have those small details right.

I think I started rambling so I'll stop now...I think this topic is interesting though!
 
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#113882
Belit Lihara
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Re:Cultural Accuracy 1 Month, 1 Week ago Karma: 1
Excuse me in advance if this is not what you wanted to say, but it is what I understood according to the translator google.

As mentioned in other comments, since the fics to the series itself are fiction stories, the author creates them according to what he considers, but if one looks for to create something a little more realistic, I doubt very much that is the case, to begin with, regardless of Culture, in ancient times there really was not much hygiene, people just did not clean, if ever, that's one thing, if we stop to think, there were times with many fears and superstitions, anything out of the ordinary Was blasphemous or something of the devil, think of witch hunts or wolves, or even cat killings that believed servants of the devil or witches (which resulted in disaster).
Have you seen the medieval movies? There is a movie, the black knight, with the actor Martin Lawrence, in a scene enters the baths of the castle (it is a hole in the ground), that is a real example, in some countries they still have something like that.
There is also the fact that modesty has changed over time, obviously 500 years ago no one was running in miniskirt (maybe just Scottish men ...?).

Good luck and isnpiration with your story, and sorry my bad english, i'm spanish.
 
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#114211
ponpiri
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Re:Cultural Accuracy 2 Weeks, 3 Days ago Karma: 1
I admit that I become easily annoyed when it seems as though the author doesn't have a certain level of respect for the culture of the original material. Like when I see people talk about shoji screens with doorknobs, referencing American candies when we know the 'ninja food' Kago brought for her friends, etc. I understand that the author is making the FF relatable for themselves and to the reader, but I think there is a line between making a story relatable and just ignoring cultural origins totally.

That being said, it's your story and it isn't reality, so I don't think it really matters in the end.
 
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#114214
Knight of Disorder
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Re:Cultural Accuracy 2 Weeks, 2 Days ago Karma: 43
I take full license to change what I need to get my point across. Though I have been trying to be more accurate in my more recent work as well as a few that are still unfinished. I will admit to being turned off of a story because of a clearly American character suddenly appearing. Though, I will give most the benefit of the doubt.

Though it's not happened here, I was reading a story for RWBY a while back that had a big bad that owned a mansion in her name, and a red 2016 Mustang.... that's actually how it was written. Other than that one element the story was fairly well written but the car proved such a major element for the writer that I couldn't finish the story because it was such a jarring departure from the cannon environment.
 
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My Motto:
Honor mea arma est, timor mea stultitia est.
Respect is my Weapon, Fear is my Folly.

My Belief:
If you can, do. If you can\\\'t, try.
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