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date: 26 February 2020

Introduction

Abstract and Keywords

The aim of The Oxford Handbook of Japanese Cinema is to provide the reader with multifaceted single-volume account of Japanese cinema. This volume addresses productive debates about what Japanese cinema is, where Japanese cinema is, as well as what and where Japanese cinema studies is, at the so-called period of crisis of national boundary under globalization and the so-called period of crisis of cinema under digitalization. By doing so, this collection responds to a number of developments in the rapidly changing field of cinema and media studies. It also challenges a number of underdeveloped areas in the discipline. Our ambition has been to build bridges and foster dialogues among Japanese scholars of Japanese cinema; film scholars of Japanese cinema based in Anglo-American and European countries; film scholars of non-Japanese cinema; nonfilm scholars, including scholars in other disciplines; film archivists; and film producers who are familiar with film scholarship.

Keywords: Japanese cinema, Japanese studies, cinema and media studies, national cinema, nationalism, transnationalism, globalization, culturalism, technology, materiality

Japanese cinema has historically and theoretically been one of the world’s important national cinemas. First, while Japanese cinema enjoyed its golden age in the domestic market in the 1950s, it obtained a significant international status in the art cinema movement and greatly contributed to the rise of auteurism in film criticism. Then, in the 1960s–1970s, while the Japanese film industry rapidly declined because of the popularity of TV, an academic field that could be called Japanese film studies flourished during the emergence of film studies as a legitimate academic discipline. As Mitsuhiro Yoshimoto and Abé Mark Nornes pointed out, “film studies deployed ‘Japanese film’ to consolidate itself into an institutionalized field of study.”1

Currently, with the Japanese government’s institutionalization of new measures to promote Japanese films as content, Japanese film appears to be booming again in the domestic market as well as in international film festivals.2 However, Japanese film studies seem to be triply marginalized: marginalized in film and media studies as one regional cinema (Yoshimoto and Nornes even stated that the field of Japanese film studies had disappeared by 1999); marginalized in area studies as one area of cultural studies; and marginalized by the Japanese governmental policies as nonuseful for commodification of cinema. In addition, even though numerous filmmakers and regular filmgoers/film critics/cinema scholars in Japan had substantial conversations on practices and theories of filmmaking in the early period (1910s–1930s, and 1960s–1980s to some degree), the gap between theories/criticisms and practices has grown deeper. Yoshimoto and Nornes asked already in 1999,

Exactly what “use value” does Japanese “film” now have for area studies, literature, and other segments of the academy?…[I]‌s it possible for us, scholars of Japanese cinema, to “use” Film Studies and area studies for our agendas?

The Oxford Handbook of Japanese Cinema tries to go further than their outcry.

(p. 2) The aim of The Oxford Handbook of Japanese Cinema is to provide the reader with a multifaceted single-volume account of Japanese cinema. This volume addresses productive debates about what Japanese cinema is, where Japanese cinema is, as well as what and where Japanese cinema studies is, at the so-called period of crisis of national boundary under globalization and the so-called period of crisis of cinema under digitalization. By doing so, this collection responds to a number of developments in the rapidly changing field of cinema and media studies. It also challenges a number of underdeveloped areas in the discipline. Our ambition has been to build bridges and foster dialogue among Japanese scholars of Japanese cinema, film scholars of Japanese cinema based in Anglo-American and European countries, film scholars of non-Japanese cinema, nonfilm scholars, film archivists, and film producers who are familiar with film scholarship.

There is an urgent need for a comprehensive but up-to-date volume that grasps Japanese cinema under the rubric of the global, which fills the gap between Japanese and non-Japanese film studies and between theories and practices, and eventually challenges the deep-rooted culturalism of Japanese cinema.3 The reality of transnational innovation and dissemination of new technologies has yet to make a dent in the deep-seated culturalism that insists on reinscribing a divide between the West and Japan, even in realms of technological activity that are quite evidently dispersed across cultures. Cinema and media studies are not immune to this trend, and they continue to fret over the “Westernness” of film technologies vis-à-vis the apparently self-evident “Japaneseness” of other modes of cultural production. One of the main goals of this volume is to counter this trend toward dichotomizing the West and Japan and to challenge the unwitting yet nonetheless pervasive culturalism of today’s cinema and media studies.

These goals orient the volume’s division into three parts. The four chapters in Part 1 reevaluate the position of Japanese cinema within the discipline of cinema and media studies and beyond. Questioning profoundly the ways Japanese national cinema has been studied hitherto, each chapter proposes theoretical and historical methodologies that would overcome the tendency of culturalism that Japanese cinema studies has embraced. The focus of all four chapters in this part is on how to examine the complexity of the concept of a nation and the contradictions of a national cinema. Such methodologies cover psychology, politics, aesthetics, religion, spectatorship, and social education.

In Chapter 1, Eric Cazdyn challenges the dominant ways of theorizing the relation between globalization and film. He performs an alternative analysis by examining Japanese cinema without the usual ballast of Japan, or of the nation more generally. Following a close reading of Tanaka Hiroyuki’s (Sabu’s) 2005 film Monday, based on how the film mobilizes the social relationships of its characters in terms of number and how each number (including zero) implies crucial psychological, political, aesthetic, and religious meaning, Cazdyn’s chapter then moves to a more general examination of contemporary Japanese film and the world. Focusing on the problem of amnesia, the second part of the essay places the work of contemporary Japanese directors (Kurosawa Kiyoshi, Tsukamoto Shinya, and Miike Takashi) in relation to a series of global directors and problems.

(p. 3) In Chapter 2, Ben Singer closely reviews the discussions about the styles of Japanese cinema in the field of cinema studies. The literature on Japanese film style has been shaped especially by the work of three scholars: Donald Richie, Noël Burch, and David Bordwell. According to Singer, Richie and Burch have promoted a paradigm of Japanese exceptionalism, stressing the salience of traditional cultural aesthetics, while Bordwell has rejected that “nihonjinron (theory of Japaneseness)” premise. Underlying the principle disagreement about the alterity of Japanese aesthetics, however, Singer argues, their positions are complex and paradoxical. The notions of Japanese traditionalism advanced by Richie and Burch, although fundamentally aligned, are basically incompatible; whereas Bordwell, their most forceful critic, is also the most persuasive expositor of Japanese stylistic difference. Singer analyzes the debate, particularly with respect to the proposition that Japanese national film style may be distinguished by an accentuation on overt stylization and the prominence of stylistic “flourishes.”

In Chapter 3, Aaron Gerow traces the historical role of film criticism in Japan, specifically focusing on its relation to film theory and spectatorship. Starting from the pure film movement in the 1910s and continuing to the post millennium film world, he narrates the development of two dominant tendencies, impressionist and ideological criticism, as well as the alternatives to them explored before and after the New Wave by figures such as Tsurumi Shunsuke, Ogawa Toru, and Hasumi Shigehiko. In this history, according to Gerow, film criticism has functioned less to represent film reception than to serve as a site for struggle over the nature of spectatorship. But it is its inadequate relation to theory, especially its lack of self-critical awareness of its own role, he argues, that has left it ineffective in responding to the decline of criticism in the age of new media.

In Chapter 4, Hideaki Fujiki discusses how the movie audience was imagined in relation to the fashionable term, minshu (“the people”), from the Taisho democracy in the 1920s until the total war regime in the 1940s. According to Fujiki, the word was predominantly used in the discourse surrounding, as well as the policies impacting, social education and popular recreation as articulated by the bureaucrats and associated intellectuals of the Japanese Ministry of Education. These authority figures regarded the people who typically flocked to movie theaters as immature. But they also thought that if the people could come to appreciate educational movies, this would lead them to develop willingly into the ideal subjects of a harmonious society that would uphold the imperial state. At this juncture, Fujiki argues, movie audiences were constructed as “the people,” and this view remained dominant in the film policy of the total war regime in the 1930s and early 1940s.

The eight chapters in Part 2 situate Japanese cinema within the broader fields of transnational film history. Aaron Gerow claims in his illustrious monograph, Visions of Japanese Modernity: Articulations of Cinema, Nation, and Spectatorship, 1895–1925,

Japanese film studies have focused increased attention on the issue of “national cinema,” but even those that recognize that motion pictures are not the manifestation of some age-old national essence, and that they in fact participate in the modern construction of national identity, seem to be compelled to reduce films to the singular (p. 4) nation, even if that nation is constructed or inherently engaged in transnational systems of difference. By making the national the central category, even supposedly to deconstruct it, many studies have nonetheless made the cinema revolve around the question of the nation, effectively homogenizing it.4

As a handbook of Japanese cinema, this volume also engages in the potential “homogenizing” project of a nation. Yet, the contributors of this volume share a concern that the study of Japanese cinema should focus more on “the fissures and contradictions within Japanese film history itself—by considering categories such as class, subjectivity, and modernity that may not be conterminous with the category of the nation.”5

Technological and artistic maneuvers of film and media do not presuppose any cultural or national conflict in nature. Filmmaking should be located within the transnational discursive and practical network of a preoccupation with and representation of technological modernity. At the same time, however, in Japanese reality, the practices of filmmaking have historically been stabilized and exhibited in close relation to Japan’s cultural, national, and colonial politics. Japanese filmmaking has been an international affair, to say the least. There has historically been an unequal geopolitical relationship, or an imbalance of power, between Japan and the United States, in particular. There is no doubt that Hollywood has played a ubiquitous role in the development of lighting technology in Japan. Yet, the relationship between Hollywood and Japanese cinema has not simply been a binary opposition between the production and distribution center and periphery, between cultural dominance and resistance, or between global and local. Bearing in mind such tension in the geopolitical perspective between transnationality and a nationality, each chapter describes the historical process of how Japanese cinema has been formulated in the discourse of modernity in Japan.

In Chapter 5, Michael Raine focuses on the topic of adaptation to argue that Japanese cinema has been less bound by traditional culture than by low culture in general, and Hollywood film in particular. Focusing on the 1930s, Raine’s chapter shows Japanese studios shamelessly imitating Hollywood technologies and Japanese filmmakers (most prominently Ozu Yasujiro) shamelessly appropriating Hollywood genres as part of an ambivalent project of “transcultural mimesis.” As the geopolitical incline between the United States and the rest of the world levels out, transcultural mimesis, the concept that Raine insightfully proposes, draws more broadly on contemporary critical discourse than Miriam Hansen’s text-based “vernacular modernism,” to remind us that cinema, on the margins of the world film system, has always been a form of adaptation, from something closely identified with the West into something more ambiguous that could split the difference between homage and parody, and sometimes even become an instrument of reflexive understanding.

In Chapter 6, Chika Kinoshita investigates the seemingly self-evident, and yet contested relations among modernization, modernism, modernity, and cinema in interwar Japan. Her focuses are on the Tokyo March (Tokyo koshinkyoku) phenomena constituted of the well-known 1929 popular song and its accompanying media texts, particularly the film adaptation directed by Mizoguchi Kenji. Made at the time of multidimensional (p. 5) crisis—class struggle, political polarization, and culture war—in modern Japanese history, according to Kinoshita, the Tokyo March texts went beyond mere emblems of “modan” (modern) or “modanizmumu” (modernism), surface inscriptions of changing social mores in a big city. By closely examining the contemporary discourse, her chapter reveals that, in the realm of mass culture, the Tokyo March texts articulated sensorial alienation caused by industrial capitalism by politicizing the city symphony format through montage, an idiom of Soviet avant-garde, and, thereby, condensed the possibilities and limitations of Japanese modernity itself.

In Chapter 7, I examine how female stars emerged in Japanese cinema from a transnational perspective. In Japan, female motion picture actors did not exist until arguably as late as 1918 when Hanayagi Harumi starred in Sei no kagayaki (Radiance of Life), a product of the film modernization movement. Before this film, the majority of female characters in motion pictures were played by onnagata, female impersonators in kabuki. Even in 1919, only three films out of about 150 films released in Japan during that year used female actors for female roles. Under such circumstances, how was a Japanese version of female actors/stars born? In conjunction with the Japanese reception of the star image of Aoki Tsuruko (1891–1961), a female Japanese actor/star in early Hollywood, as well as that of film production technologies that created her stardom, I argue that female stars were born in Japan as a result of a tension-ridden process of translation of stardom in Hollywood and Aoki’s embodiment of Madame Butterfly. I also examine how Hollywood technologies of lighting and make-up were skillfully incorporated in the composition and lighting of a kabuki convention.

In Chapter 8, Dong Hoon Kim deals with the complexity of colonialism and Japanese cinema. He examines byeonsa, a voice performer/narrator who provided live narration for silent films, and its role in the development of film culture in Korea under Japanese colonial rule. Through the discussion of this film practice, which originated from Japanese benshi, Kim interrogates questions and problems in historicizing both Korean and Japanese national cinemas in the colonial context. In particular, he explores the ways in which modes of exhibition were inextricably tied to the construction of national cinema, nationalism, and national identity. By investigating Korean film spectators’ attempts to decode and re-signify the meanings of film texts and the byeonsa’s role as a mediator between those texts and Korean audiences, Kim’s argument elucidates the physical and discursive formations of colonial and national cinema at the sites of film exhibition and consumption.

In Chapter 9, Hiroshi Kitamura tackles the notion of “global Hollywood” and its relationship to Japanese cinema. In particular, he examines Paramount’s business campaign in Japan during the decade following the Allied occupation. Focusing on the studio’s subsidiary office run by Metori Nobuo in Tokyo, Kitamura explores the diverse ways in which the company constructed and disseminated a widespread entertainment culture across the island nation. Key to this effort, according to Kitamura, was the presentation of Paramount culture as “respectable” and “modern” entertainment. Kitamura argues that looking at this cross-cultural process not only reveals “Hollywood entertainment” as a hybrid creation formed by Japanese bridge figures, but also illustrates the (p. 6) role U.S. studios played in enlivening Japan’s cinematic culture in an era of robust local filmmaking. His case study helps us understand Hollywood’s hegemonic but contested impact upon postwar Japan.

In Chapter 10, Kwai Cheung Lo turns to the issues of international co-productions. He examines Japan-Hong Kong film productions in light of historical developments and analyzes the ideologies behind these films. He focuses on a number of Japanese-Hong Kong co-productions and investigates how various film genres, under the shadow of the nation’s faded economic supremacy, manifest Japan’s fantasy of Hong Kong in order to express the nostalgia for its former glory as well as its anxiety over a looming China. Japan’s cinematic co-productions and their imaginary depictions of foreign Asians are discussed in connection with its imperialist era, when cinema was used as a propaganda tool to promote its empire, and when Japanese Asianism was an ideology in the service of its nationalist aggression. Lo suggests that the incorporation of Asian foreignness in these films may invite further reflections on Japan’s situation and test its willingness to recognize the presence of China in reconfiguring its self-identity in a new era.

The last two chapters of Part 2 examine arguably the most impactful phenomenon in the recent history of Japanese cinema, in terms of transnationalism and globalization, namely, film festivals. In Chapter 11, Sangjoon Lee examines the transnational significance of the Asian Film Festival that began in the early 1950s. As the first inter-Asian film organization in the region, the Federation of Motion Picture Producer’s Association of Asia (FPA) began in 1953 under the passionate leadership of Nagata Masaichi, president of Daiei studio in Japan. A year later, FPA’s annual event, the Asian Film Festival was held in Tokyo. According to Lee, the festival was not a conventional film festival but a regional alliance summit for film executives of “free Asia” that accompanied the screenings of each participant’s annual outputs, a series of forums, and film equipment fairs and exhibitions. Lee’s chapter delineates the cultural, economic, and political logic(s) that gave rise to and modified the Asian Film Festival by arguing that the history of the festival, at least the first five years, resulted from the U.S.-driven Cold War politics that enunciated the new map of “free Asia,” an anti-communist bloc that was controlled by a new hegemonic regime, America.

In Chapter 12, Abé Mark Nornes charts the history of the international film festival circuit’s relationship to Asian cinema, using Japanese cinema to explore the circuit’s ideological underpinnings. It concludes with a short history of the Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival to assert the importance of smaller, regional festivals that hold the potential for creating extremely productive short circuits in the system.

It is significant to note that since the end of the twentieth century, new digitalized multimedia technologies and commodities (Internet, cable television, DVD, cellular phone, etc.) have rapidly developed into a dispersed phenomenon. In a world full of multiple and multilateral moving images, the relationship, or physical and psychological distance, between visual images and spectators has drastically changed, as such terms as access, interface, and interactivity have been used in daily conversations. In particular, as a result of the high mobility of digital videos and easy accessibility to editing software and online exhibition and communication, new possibilities of filmmaking operations (p. 7) are being discussed among both filmmakers and spectators. In other words, the strict line between producers and recipients of visual images has been rapidly blurring. Simultaneously, however, in recent years, film and media studies have largely rejected theories of cinema that imply technological determinism, in the manner of Jean Louis Baudry or Jean Louis Comolli who saw the monocular lens of the movie camera as the key to understanding the history and impact of film. It is now more common to see the effects of cinema as almost continuous with the general structure of modern environments, and as intertwined with other media and technological devices.

The eight chapters in Part 3 examine the materiality of Japanese cinema, scrutinize cinema’s relationship to other media, and identify the specific practices of film production and reception. In Chapter 13, Hidenori Okada an archivist at the National Film Center of the National Museum of Modern Art in Tokyo, reveals the history of film in Japan, the essential material of filmmaking before the digital era. In 2012, there are only two countries that still produce raw film for motion pictures: the United States and Japan. Production of raw film for motion pictures needs extremely sophisticated technology so that it is not surprising to see such a situation of oligopoly. However, Okada asks, why Japan, in addition to the United States? In order to answer this question, Okada goes back to the period when the first nitrate film was produced in Japan and examines the complicated relationship between the raw-film industry and the filmmaking industry. Okada depicts the fluid environment around Japanese cinema of the 1930s in detail from a materialist and technological viewpoint.

In Chapter 14, responding to Rick Altman’s work on film sound, musicologist Shuhei Hosokawa explores how the practices of sound making and filmmaking were historically intertwined. In the early period of filmmaking, according to Hosokawa, a brass band, a sonic symbol for Western civilization, played on the street in front of the theater uninterruptedly (“ballyhoo”) to call attention to the passersby and to arouse a certain mood in the theater. With the development of the art of benshi, synchronized (in diverse senses) sound making was regarded as an efficient and artful device for the perception of the audience. Yet during the 1910s, Hosokawa argues, the sound practice became gradually fixed with the formalization and industrialization of spectacle.

In Chapter 15, focusing on Yamada Yoji’s 2002 film, Twilight Samurai (Tasogare Seibei), Ichiro Yamamoto, a producer at Shochiku, one of the major film companies in Japan, describes the actual practices of production, distribution, and exhibition of films in contemporary Japan. The current statuses of major film studios, major directors, actual filmmaking practices (scripts, location shootings, postproductions), distribution network, and domestic and international film festivals, among others are meticulously analyzed based on the firsthand experience of the author.

In Chapter 16, Ayako Saito, examines symptomatic discourses of the body valorized in the postwar popular cultural imagination, including literature, stage performance, and cinema. She discusses the contradictory representation of liberated women on screen as one of the most illuminating visual icons of the reformed postwar Japan, including Kinoshita Keisuke’s 1951 Karumen kokyo ni kaeru (Carmen Comes Home) and 1952’s Karumen junjo su (Carmen Falls in Love), as well as some other films by Suzuki Seijun, (p. 8) demonstrating that the female body as privileged signifier of postwar liberation and defeat continues to haunt the cinematic imagination and memory in the years to come.

The connection between the materiality of cinema and memory in the postwar popular cultural imagination is further explored in Chapter 17. Mitsuyo Wada-Marciano addresses how Matsumoto Toshio’s documentary film, Nishijin (1961), encapsulated memories of the postoccupation period in Japan. As historian John W. Dower revealed, Wada-Marciano claims, the Japanese people remarkably embraced their defeat along with the United States’ support (1999). But, according to Wada-Marciano, further questions remain: whether the Japanese were so accepting, in a unilateral sense, of the new alignment of power, and how they managed the recovering process as cultural subjects. She argues that the postwar period’s culture was constituted by a diverse population, shaped by differences in locale and class, especially in the postoccupation period (1952–1960), when the United States had officially ceded control and the Japanese government was desperately seeking a way forward. Viewed in that context, Wada-Marciano argues, Nishijin’s depiction of a craftsmen’s forced life in the traditional textile trade of Kyoto, Japan, discloses the multiplicity of the Japanese as well as offering an instance to contemplate the role of cinema as the most popular culture at that time. She concludes that the film encapsulates various peoples’ multiple memories of cultural center and locale, tradition and modernity, art and craft, and the Japanese and the West. Such memories reveal the dialogue of multiple subjects.

In Chapter 18, examining Matsumoto Toshio’s work as well, Miryam Sas shifts gears to the intermedial practices of cinema. Her chapter traces the development of intermedia art in Japan from early proto-intermedial work by Matsumoto, Yamaguchi Katsuhiro, and Jikken kobo (Experimental Workshop) in the 1950s through the rise of intermedia with the exhibition From Space to Environment in 1966, experiments in multiprojection, and expanded cinema in the late 1960s, and the transnational event known as “CROSS TALK Intermedia” in 1969. In an era of rapid technological and media change, Sas argues, intermedia art attempts to contend with the situation of the subject’s failure in the face of larger systems and structures beyond any individual’s grasp. Sas’s chapter reveals that art works and theoretical writings by Tono Yoshiaki, collaborations with sound engineer Okuyama Junosuke, and elements of infrastructure “behind the scenes” take on a key role in understanding intermedia artists’ response to the overwhelming environment of images and information in 1960s Japan.

In Chapter 19, Carlos Rojas examines the intermedial, or even transmedial, perspective that Nakata Hideo’s 1998 film Ringu presents. Together with the broader genre of J-Horror within which the film is positioned, Rojas argues, Ringu both thematizes and exemplifies a phenomenon of cultural contagion. Like the film’s haunted videotape (which kills its viewers unless they help the tape reproduce by making a copy of it), Ringu is very much a product of its own infectious self-reproduction. Suzuki Koji’s original 1991 novel has inspired a wide range of adaptations, sequels, sequels of adaptations, and adaptations of sequels in media ranging from literature to radio, television, film, manga, and even video games. A key element in the original novel, and one that recurs either explicitly or implicitly in all of its adaptations and sequels, is that of the virus, and (p. 9) this article uses the figure of the virus as its entry point into an analysis of Nakata’s film and the broader cultural context within which it is embedded.

The close attention to the intermedial expansion of cinematic practices by Sas and Rojas is the central theme of the closing chapter of this volume by Alexander Zahlten. In Chapter 20, Zahlten traces the media mix system in Japan by focusing primarily on examples from anime and manga. For this, he utilizes a metaphoric approach to analyze the effects of underlying and structuring metaphors such as single and multiple worlds or liquidity. Taking theories on the media mix from Japan into account, he, on the one hand, connects them to specific practices and discourses in law, policy, economy, and consumption that the media mix is tied to. On the other hand, Zahlten examines how these practices and discourses are related to certain textual strategies that become increasingly prominent in media mix texts. Finally, he proposes that the media mix encourages a potentially problematic perception of history and possible futures.

Notes:

(1) . Mitsuhiro Yoshimoto and Abé Mark Nornes, “Kinema Club Workshop: Japanese Cinema Studies in the Rear View Mirror: Re-Viewing the Discipline” (1999). http://pears.lib.ohio-state.edu/Markus/workshop/wconclusion.html. This book has preserved Japanese name order, which places the family name first (e.g., Tanaka Hiroyuki), except for the authors of the chapters of this book and famous persons and scholars who are commonly referred to by their given names first (e.g., Mitsuhiro Yoshimoto). In principle, this book does not use macrons for Japanese transliterated texts, except when authors think it would be more appropriate to use them.

(2) . Aaron Gerow, “Recent Film Policy and the Fate of Film Criticism in Japan” (July 11, 2006). http://www.midnighteye.com/features/recent-film-policy.shtml

(3) . There have been only a few single-volume account of Japanese cinema and its history in English language: the works of Donald Richie and Joseph L. Anderson in the 1950s–1960s (The Japanese Film: Art and Industry, 1959, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1982, to begin with) and Noël Burch in the 1970s (To the Distant Observer: Form and Meaning in the Japanese Cinema, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1979) are still regarded as the essentials. Even though there have been large numbers of scholarly works, critical essays, and substantial reviews on Japanese cinema, they focus on more specific and specialized topics, areas, and personnel. As for a single-volume account of Japanese cinema, only Isolde Standish’s A New History of Japanese Cinema: A Century of Narrative Cinema, New York: Continuum, 2006 has been added recently to the small list. Even though there are other recently published survey-type monographs and anthologies, including Reframing Japanese Cinema: Authorship, Genre, History, edited by Arthur Nolletti, Jr. and David Desser, Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1992; Word and Image in Japanese Cinema, edited by Dennis Washburn and Carole Cavanaugh, Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2001; Japanese Cinema: Texts and Contexts, edited by Alastair Phillips and Julian Stringer, London and New York: Routledge, 2007; and Keiko I. McDonald’s Reading a Japanese Film: Cinema in Contex, Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2006, they tend to be compilations of essays that focus on analyses of individual texts, whether canonical ones or not, even though this volume does not intend to downplay the singularity of the film but explore how the film text itself could be located in the network of global film culture historically, theoretically, and practically.

(4) . Aaron Gerow, Visions of Japanese Modernity: Articulations of Cinema Nation, and Spectatorship, 1895–1925 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2010), 13.

(5) . Ibid., 14.