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Japanese Cinema Goes Global

Japanese Cinema Goes Global: Filmworkers' Journeys

Yoshiharu Tezuka
Copyright Date: 2012
Pages: 256
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  • Book Info
    Japanese Cinema Goes Global
    Book Description:

    Japan’s film industry has gone through dramatic changes in recent decades, as international consumer forces and transnational talent have brought unprecedented engagement with global trends. With careful research and also unique first-person observations drawn from years of working within the international industry of Japanese film, the author aims to examine how different generations of Japanese filmmakers engaged and interacted with the structural opportunities and limitations posed by external forces, and how their subjectivity has been shaped by their transnational experiences and has changed as a result. Having been through the globalization of the last part of the twentieth century, are Japanese themselves and overseas consumers of Japanese culture really becoming more cosmopolitan? If so, what does it mean for Japan’s national culture and the traditional sense of national belonging among Japanese people?

    eISBN: 978-988-8053-87-2
    Subjects: Anthropology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Preface
    (pp. vii-x)
  4. Acknowledgements
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. Note on Romanization of Asian Names and Scripts
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  6. Introduction
    (pp. 1-8)

    This book investigates the ways in which inter/transnational filmmaking practices have been conducted in the Japanese film industry from the post-World War Two period to the present. By doing so, it provides an insight into the ways in which the Japanese film industry went for “global” after defeat in the war and, more importantly, through the prism of Japanese cinema, it aims to open up a broader understanding of the political, economic, and cultural dynamic at work in Japan’s relations with the US, European film cultures, and with the Asian film industries during this time.

    Having been through the globalization...

  7. Chapter One Japanese National Identity and “Banal” Cosmopolitalization
    (pp. 9-24)

    In the past, Japan has made a historic opening to the outside world three times. Aoki Tamotsu (1999), an anthropologist who probed the transfiguration of Nihonjinron — a discourse around questions of the quintessential Japanese national character — suggests that each time Japan made an opening the Japanese were faced with a major identity crisis. The first occurred in the late nineteenth century during its first modernization process in the Meiji era following 250 years of seclusion. Awestruck by advanced Western technologies, and fearing Western imperialism, Japanese leaders at the time were determined to make themselves an imperial power in their own...

  8. Chapter Two Internationalization of Japanese Cinema How Japan Was Different from the West and above Asia before Globalization
    (pp. 25-74)

    Two days after the signing of the San Francisco Peace Treaty, on 10 September 1951, Akira Kurosawa’s Rashomon won the grand prize (Golden Lion) at the Venice Film Festival. This victory came as a big surprise to American-occupied Japan (Anderson and Richie 1982 [1959]: 233) and when the news spread Kurosawa became a national hero overnight. This was a key event, which helped to restore national confidence among the war-defeated Japanese (Sato 1995b: 233). Rashomon was internationally distributed by RKO, a major Hollywood company, and received an American Academy Award the following year. Most importantly, this event symbolized Japan’s return...

  9. Chapter Three Globalization of Film Finance The Actually Existing Cosmopolitanisms of Japanese Film Producers
    (pp. 75-112)

    For the down-and-out Japanese film industry of the 1980s, globalization and the arrival of the information age were a mixed blessing. All the big Japanese hardware companies suddenly became interested in film and other “software” businesses, but, ironically, these Japanese companies were least interested in Japanese film per se. As part of the rise of Global Hollywood, these Japanese companies were widely buying into the American and European film industries — besides the well publicized $3.4 billion purchase by Sony of Columbia Pictures and Matsushita’s purchase of MCA-Universal for a massive $6 billion, there was “$600 million of Japanese investment in...

  10. Chapter Four Global America? American-Japanese Film Co-Productions from Shogun (1980) to The Grudge 2 (2006) via Lost in Translation (2003)
    (pp. 113-144)

    In their study of how Hollywood’s global domination works, Miller et al. argue that exploitation of the “New International Division of Cultural Labour” (NICL) through foreign location production is a key mechanism of its hegemony. According to Miller et al., “Hollywood is global, in that it sells its wares in every nation, through a global system of copyright, promotion and distribution that uses the NICL to minimise costs and maximise revenue” (2001: 216). Hollywood thrives on the creative differences and cheap labour offered by foreign talent and location shooting.

    Similarly, Goldsmith and O’Regan have investigated the development of a global...

  11. Chapter Five Pan-Asian Cinema? The Last of Japan-Centred Regional Cosmopolitanism
    (pp. 145-170)

    This chapter explores the ways in which Japan’s perception of itself and its relationship with other Asian nations changed over the course of economic globalization and the consequent economic downturn, a change I will illustrate by taking examples from the Japanese filmmaking community. As the economic power of other Asian countries rapidly caught up with Japan’s, the latest cinematic technologies became available to them more or less simultaneously. This made Japan’s technological superiority much less evident. The economic and technological conditions that underlined the Japanese tenet about their cultural uniqueness and superiority became shaky and were clearly challenged. Japan was...

  12. Epilogue
    (pp. 171-174)

    Histrocally, the sense of Japanese national identity was sustained by its unique and privileged position between the “West” and “Asia”. Post-war Japanese cinema and industry also defined itself as “different” from the West, but “above” Asia. This ideological double-bind was internally challenged in the 1960s and 1970s by filmmakers such as Oshima, who highlighted the unresolved issues of Japanese imperialism. But it was the series of events in the 1980s and 1990s, especially following the end of the Cold War, that finally brought a conclusion to the socio-economic conditions that had underpinned this constitutive double-bind of Japanese identity.

    The interviews...

  13. Notes
    (pp. 175-178)
  14. List of Recorded Interviews
    (pp. 179-180)
  15. References
    (pp. 181-196)
  16. Index
    (pp. 197-200)