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Midterm Essay

A Wild Sheep Chase is a postmodernist novel written in 1982 by Haruki
Murakami dealing with the confusion nature of modern Japanese life, and the effects of
media manipulation. In the novel, the author illustrates the effects of the global issue
of media control by corporate interests. In this extract, which is a description of the
‘Boss’ the readers are introduced a mysterious upper class figure who can manipulate
many areas including the media and advertisement industry. Throughout the extract
we can see the presentation of how powerful upper class members can control and
dominate the media in order to manipulate people, and conserve their secrets. This issue
is not specific for a fiction story. The politicians, government officials or owners of
capitals used this technique all around the world to control people.
Firstly, the author uses the tropes of villains to introduce the Boss. He states
that Boss is never photographed, no one really knows what he thinks or writes, and it is
not certain if the Boss is dead o still alive. By this way, the author creates a mysterious
villain figure and leads the reader to speculate about the identity of him. Furthermore,
Murakami indicates that an upper class politician was able to stay behind the shadows
by keeping the spotlight of media away from himself. The control of media like this
by corporate interest can create ghost identities that have immense power. This situation
also implies that powerful figures that are living in the shadows by media control can
never be truly accused. The reason is they won’t ever be known or spotlighted.
Secondly, the author uses conspiracy theories in order to show the background
of the Boss. Murakami states that five years ago, some reporter got a scoop of him
implicating shady investment deals. However, that story never saw the light of day.
This is a clear example of how corporate interests can control the media if there is a
conspiracy theory that can harm the prestige and reputation of powerful people.
Murakami illustrates that if there is a theory implying an upper class figure committed
any kind of criminal activity, it will always stay as a theory. The reason is that any
kind of evidence will not be allowed to be published by corporate interests.
Murakami presents this issue in this way in order to make the reader question whether
the politicians they trust are also committing similar criminal activities. The
manipulation of the media can prevent people from accessing the true stories, and even
the public figures that we trust can actually not be as innocent as they seem.
Thirdly, Hariku Murakami uses right wing conventions to portray the Boss. He
states that Boss is a right wing, but not so called right wing, or not even a right wing.
Once again the author establishes the gloomy tone by emphasizing that even the
ideology of the Boss remains as a puzzle. Normally, we would expect a right wing
figure to be nationalist and have a fear of diversity. However, Murakami illustrates the
house of the Boss as having various cultural architectural styles that lack harmony. By
this way, Murakami implies how personal life of politicians can ironically differ from
what they represent. Upper class people have the chance to create a self-made identity
using different media devices. Moreover, they can keep their private life secret during
their political career.
Lastly, Murakami directly characterizes the Boss stating that he has enough
power to stop the publications. The reader can comprehend that the Boss has a
dominant role over the media and advertising industry that he can directly manipulate
what is published. This authorial choice shows that upper class people can use their
dominance to threaten media corporations if they oppose their interests. This issue
leads to a forceful suppression of media which endangers the freedom of speech
worldwide. Additionally, the objectivity of media corporations also suffer from the
pressure of powerful people.
In conclusion, Haruki Murakami presents the effect of media control by
corporate interests in A Wild Sheep Chase. He illustrates how powerful upper class
members can control and dominate the media in order to manipulate people, and
conserve their secrets. The Boss is not a specific characterization for Japanese culture.
He is an allegory of politicians with dark backgrounds, and have immense power in
various areas. Manipulation of media is a way to keep their secrets, protect them from
spotlights while they rise to the top and control the people.