Our Projects

Current VIP Projects

Emerson Barrett, Short Story

This semester I worked on writing a short story that drew inspiration from Chinese, Japanese, and Korean mythology and legend. My first step was to research myths, legends, and folktales from these different cultures and take notes on overarching themes and interesting characters that I might want to incorporate into my own writing. I then searched for and read contemporary short stories by East Asian-American authors, such as Ken Liu and Eugie Foster. From these, I noted story construction, as well as an emphasis on moral exploration. Finally, I outlined and wrote my story. In my final deliverable for this course, I had to cut some elements that were too broad for the span of a short story, but I hope to reintroduce these elements as I continue to develop this story into a longer work.

Still from “Promise of Divinity,” Art by Dalong Hu.
Dalong Hu, “Promise of Divinity” Manga

I am creating a webtoon inspired by Japanese and Chinese art and mythology. In my first semester, I researched comprehensive processes of studying, scriptwriting, storyboarding, drawing, inking, and toning. In my second semester, I drew the first few pages as a manga, and in my third semester I further adjusted the script and switched to making it a coloured webtoon. The story is an original work from the ground up called Promise of Divinity, and so far the first chapter is done. Through this project, I’m learning tons about art and visual expression!

Sonali Pradhan, “The Phantom” Translation

I am a 2nd year Mechanical Engineering major and Japanese and Spanish minor student here at Georgia Tech. For my VIP project I translated a short mystery fiction story by Edogawa Ranpo  “幽霊” (“Ghost/Phantom”) originally written in 1925. I learned a lot about the translating process and improved upon my Japanese reading skills.


Michelle Lee, Series on Bong Joon Ho

I am analyzing the norms of South Korean society through the movies directed by Bong Joon Ho. I have three final deliverables being the Okja Analysis, Snowpiercer Film Review, and Bong Joon Ho as Auteur. The films covered throughout these pieces are Okja, Snowpiercer, Mother, Memories of Murder, and Parasite. These different styles of written work give insights into the Bong’s style and how he conveys symbolic messages in his films.

Erik Simpson, “Death of the Sleepwalker” Translation

I am a 6th year Mathematics and Japanese ALIS major student at Georgia Tech. As part of my Japanese studies at Georgia Tech, I took on the task of translating the Japanese Science Fiction horror short story “Death of a Sleepwalker” (夢遊病者の死, Muyūbyōsha no Shi, July 1925) by Edogawa Ranpo into English. The story takes place in early 20th century Japan, where a young man battles a dire case of sleepwalking as mysterious events occur around his hometown. In the process of translating, I improved my Japanese language skills and English writing skills while also learning about translation theory for the first time. It was a great opportunity to expand my interests outside of the traditional classroom experience.

Past VIP Projects

Matteo Joseph De Lurgio, “Narumi Oribe-yaki” Ceramics Project

I’m a 5th year AE major, and I’ve been making pottery throughout my time at Tech. For my project this semester, I was attracted to the rich culture of ceramics in Japan. I investigated various styles and settled on Narumi Oribe-yaki, which is a sub-sub-set of Mino-yaki, made during the Edo Period. This beautiful style uses red and white clay and a deep green glaze, often adorned with geometric patterns. Many pieces in this style are for use in the Tea Ceremony. My project will deliver an adapted set of wares in this style, made with the materials and processes available to me, and for use with coffee instead of tea.

Natalie Mueller, “Race to the Lunar World”: Machine and Human Translation

I am translating a 1907 short story called 月世界競争探検 (working title: Race to the Lunar World) and comparing my final product to machine translations generated by Google Translate and DeepL. This comparison will provide me with a means of analyzing the differences between human and machine translation techniques and why machine learning algorithms struggle so much with English-Japanese translation. These results will then be used to create an interactive multimedia article which will be published in Hivemind: Global Speculative Fiction.

Note: This piece won 2nd Place in the “People and Environment Track” at the 2021 VIP Innovation Competition!

Yendi Neil, “Mental Health in Neon Genesis Evangelion”

Ever watched the popular anime series, Neon Genesis Evangelion? Well, in this paper, I take a deeper dive into the anime and its characters. The study examines the portrayal of mental health issues in Japanese animation, specifically Neon Genesis Evangelion, based on accuracy. A poor portrayal of mental health can cause a stigma to develop or continue. I choose Japanese animation because it is a genre of media that reaches a huge audience not just in Japan, but overseas which people of all ages watch for entertainment. Based on my analysis, I argue that Japanese animation does have the potential to present common mental health themes and theories accurately especially when pulled from real-life experiences. I support my claim with a detailed analysis of each mental health theme between the characters Shinji, Asuka, and Rei. I also investigate previous research about the mental health stigma in Japan.

Examples of “kōjō moe”  photography. Photographs by Lilly Rizvi.

Lilly Rizvi, “New Gods: A Kōjō Moe Photo Zine”

Have you ever passed by a power plant or factory and felt its presence as imposing, otherworldly, or sci-fi?  “Kōjō moe (工場萌え) is a Japanese tourism and art phenomenon about the aesthetic appreciation of  these factories and industrial structures.  New Gods is a zine compiling of 3 years of the author’s own photography in this genre as well as an English-language introduction and guidebook for others and a small how-to guide for photographers.  In short, this zine is designed to be a portable museum gallery and workshop.  Included are interviews with photographers, an analysis of kōjō moe, and art critiques of prominent kōjō moe works, inter-spaced with photos taken in Japan and the US.

Rebecca Seippel, “The Influence of the Western Market on Imari, Satsuma, and Sumida Wares” and “But First, a Toast

I graduated in 2020 as a Japanese major and accounting minor. Currently, I research Japanese art for a global antiques company, and also translate Japanese horror and sci-fi short stories. I completed two projects for the VIP course: a research essay describing the effects of a Western audience on Japanese pottery during the Meiji era, and a translation of Masahiko Inoue’s horror/ sci-fi short story 一杯を前にして (“But First, a Toast”). I enjoy studying Japanese art and translation as I’m able to utilize my knowledge of Japanese in a creative field, so I’m glad that the Asian Media program was able to help me gain experience working in both of these fields.