In the Structuralism chapter from the textbook, it comes up with three nouns which make up a kind of new science or a method of analysis called semiotics. The three nouns respectively is the signifier (a written or spoken mark), the signified (a concept) and the sign. According to the author's idea, a sign is composed of a signifier and a signified. Therefore, if we see a sign today, it not only represents the real object that we can see directly but also some concept that will come to our minds together. Around us, we actually can see and find a lot of signs. In the following, I would like to use some CD covers as my examples to talk about how semiotics works and conveys its message to us.
At first, let me shortly introduce the covers that I am going to use. Latter, I will also attach them to other sheets and be a part of my journal. Approximately, I use seven CD covers as my samples. Four of them come from one of the hottest female singers in Taiwan-Yuki's (徐懷鈺) first to forth album. They respectively is , , and . I get the other three covers from two Japanese female singers and they both are very popular, too. Each of them is Ayumi Hamasaki's (濱崎步) first album called , second album and Namie Amuro's (安室奈美惠) third personal album .
In my analysis, I classify the items that I will use to three different but related levels. Simply speaking, I regard all the seven CD covers as the final sign. Then, the first level is that when 整體造型 (signifier) adds Fashion and Beauty (signified; concept), it produces the singers (signs). Secondly, when the singers (signifier) are attached with names (concept of identity), it brings up the final signs (CD covers). Therefore, every time while we see a new CD cover, we not only can realize what's in fashion in terms of the 整體造型 of the singer but also will identify ourselves with the singer because of her/his appearance. Next step, we will combine the singer's name with her/his appearance and hope to be like her/him; in other words, to imitate. When more and more people make up like the singer or dress like the singer, from the business point of view, it's undoubtedly a successful case. And then, as far as semiotic standpoint is concerned, it also makes a score, for a myth has been formed to the public.
However, if we pay much closer attention to the seven CD covers which I use, we can discover certain difference and that's the same myth can be transmitted by various ways. This is what I'm going to talk about continuously. In that case, let's look at Taiwanese representative-Yuki first. When we put her four CD covers together, we can easily find that in Taiwan, we often emphasize the singer's 整體造型. Here, I define「整體造型」 as the design on the singer from head to toe. Therefore, if we want to imitate the appearance of the singer now, we just need to make the same hair style with her, choose the same or similar clothes with her, wear the same shoes with her and ask someone to help us make up like her. To say with another word, the CD covers have served us with a set of model and we only need to copy it. But if we compare with the three Japanese CD covers, we will find distinctly that in the three ones, 整體造型 of the singers stands for certain kind of visual effect and it is sustained not only by cosmetics but also technology. As a result, we can feel the three covers more futuristic and illusional. In addition, speaking of make-up, Japanese usually like to highlight the showing of eye areas, especially for the female singers. I think we also can feel deeply from the three covers. To sum up, I think Japanese CD covers don't try to offer a set of model but a king of feeling. If we want to imitate the singer, we ought to look for her spirit instead of the concrete things.
Moreover, if we put the seven CD covers together, we can see another unlikeness clearly. What is it? It's the appearance of singer's name. In Taiwan, I think the showing of singer's name on CD cover is very important and essential. It can help us quickly know whose album it is and distinguish it from the others. But if we look at the three Japanese covers again, we can find that they all show no name. Why? In my opinion, it can be interpreted from two opposite standpoints. One interpretative way is that for Japanese singers, each one has her/his special and unparalleled personality; therefore, we can recognize her/him immediately in terms of her/his album's cover. But the other explanation may be more related to what I have mentioned above. If what the Japanese CD covers try to transmit is a kind of feeling or concept, is it important for us to know who is the protagonist? Maybe it's not necessary, for all of them may just represent the same idea.
Which one is better? Frankly speaking, we all can't give an affirmative answer to this question. How come? It's because myth itself is fancy and will change with time.