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Bijin-Tokei: Pin-Up Documentary or a Discourse of Digital City?

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Abstract:

“Bijin-tokei” is the name of a Japanese website which features an automatically updated digital clock. The word bijin refers to a beautiful woman and tokei means clock. The site became available in May 2009 and can be accessed by PC or a mobile phone. It includes an English version of the site and an iPhone service for users in France and Italy. The site displays the local time, adjusted on a minute-by-minute basis with photographed images of 360 young women who hold time plates in a corner of city. Each woman is displayed for a total of four minutes, changing their pose at each minute. Users can only see a particular woman with a particular pose once every 24 hours. This instantaneously became one of the most popular sites in Japan and received a national award for good design. The Paris version and the male version of the clock will be released before Christmas, and some samples pages are already available.
Pertinent questions are who the women really are and what this site is about. My position is that a distinction of this site belongs to a genre of “pin-up documentary” of a city. Then, what is the discourse of the bijin-tokei? There are two strategies to answer this question. First, employing content analysis, I examine the visual of the photographs and provided information of the women (e.g. names, height, and favorite websites). I examine the original, Paris and male versions. Each group consists of 60 “time holders” at the same time period in a different day of the same week. Second, I choose one representative page for each version of the bijin-tokei and analyze discourse of the visuals using methodology of critical discourse analysis for the visual by Kress and van Leeuwen (1996) and Chouliaraki (2006).
A main contribution of this presentation is to develop a theory of “pin-up documentary” of cities. The word “pin-up” is for photographs of beautiful young women, and likewise, I denote “pin-up documentary” in this case as a documentary which includes photos of youth and their cities. I critically use Baudrillard theory of simulacra (1978) and Walter Benjamin’s insight of city (2002). I argue that the pin-up documentary of the bijin-tokei is where reality and fantasy are amalgamated as a digitalized phantasmagoria.

Reference:
Benjamin, W. (2002). The arcade project. New York: Belknap Press.
Baudrillard, J. (1994). Simulacra and Simulation. Ann Arbor: Michigan University Press.
Choliaraki, L. (2006). The Spectatorship of suffering. London: Sage.
Kress, G., & van Leeuwen, T. (1996). Reading images: the grammar of visual design. London: Arnold.
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Association:
Name: International Communication Association
URL:
http://www.icahdq.org


Citation:
URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p403141_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Sato, Toyoko. "Bijin-Tokei: Pin-Up Documentary or a Discourse of Digital City?" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Communication Association, Suntec Singapore International Convention & Exhibition Centre, Suntec City, Singapore, <Not Available>. 2014-11-27 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p403141_index.html>

APA Citation:

Sato, T. "Bijin-Tokei: Pin-Up Documentary or a Discourse of Digital City?" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Communication Association, Suntec Singapore International Convention & Exhibition Centre, Suntec City, Singapore <Not Available>. 2014-11-27 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p403141_index.html

Publication Type: Session Paper
Abstract: “Bijin-tokei” is the name of a Japanese website which features an automatically updated digital clock. The word bijin refers to a beautiful woman and tokei means clock. The site became available in May 2009 and can be accessed by PC or a mobile phone. It includes an English version of the site and an iPhone service for users in France and Italy. The site displays the local time, adjusted on a minute-by-minute basis with photographed images of 360 young women who hold time plates in a corner of city. Each woman is displayed for a total of four minutes, changing their pose at each minute. Users can only see a particular woman with a particular pose once every 24 hours. This instantaneously became one of the most popular sites in Japan and received a national award for good design. The Paris version and the male version of the clock will be released before Christmas, and some samples pages are already available.
Pertinent questions are who the women really are and what this site is about. My position is that a distinction of this site belongs to a genre of “pin-up documentary” of a city. Then, what is the discourse of the bijin-tokei? There are two strategies to answer this question. First, employing content analysis, I examine the visual of the photographs and provided information of the women (e.g. names, height, and favorite websites). I examine the original, Paris and male versions. Each group consists of 60 “time holders” at the same time period in a different day of the same week. Second, I choose one representative page for each version of the bijin-tokei and analyze discourse of the visuals using methodology of critical discourse analysis for the visual by Kress and van Leeuwen (1996) and Chouliaraki (2006).
A main contribution of this presentation is to develop a theory of “pin-up documentary” of cities. The word “pin-up” is for photographs of beautiful young women, and likewise, I denote “pin-up documentary” in this case as a documentary which includes photos of youth and their cities. I critically use Baudrillard theory of simulacra (1978) and Walter Benjamin’s insight of city (2002). I argue that the pin-up documentary of the bijin-tokei is where reality and fantasy are amalgamated as a digitalized phantasmagoria.

Reference:
Benjamin, W. (2002). The arcade project. New York: Belknap Press.
Baudrillard, J. (1994). Simulacra and Simulation. Ann Arbor: Michigan University Press.
Choliaraki, L. (2006). The Spectatorship of suffering. London: Sage.
Kress, G., & van Leeuwen, T. (1996). Reading images: the grammar of visual design. London: Arnold.


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