Welcome to Kinema Club

Welcome to the website of Kinema Club, a long-standing, international but informal group devoted to the study of Japanese moving image media. Kinema Club was started precisely to share knowledge about Japanese cinema, so this site serves both to introduce our activities, such as the KineJapan mailing list and our conferences and workshops, as well promote information and thinking about films, research, bibliography, and education.


Unexpected Takeshi - as Expected

Changing one’s style from film to film may not necessarily be the sign of a cinematic master, but it certainly suggests an adventuresome soul.

When Kitano Takeshi (also known as Beat Takeshi) won the 1997 Venice Film Festival with Hana-... Read more

After Life*

Memories … of the Way We Were

How far back can you remember? For me, it’s hard to tell. Memories of my early childhood are such a mix of recollections, family photos, and stories that I can’t always tell which are the real memories and which are not. This question is probably even more difficult to answer for today’s children, videotaped from day one until... Read more

Let the Shadow Warrior Speak

History 592-002

Fall, 1998; T and Th, 8:30-10:00am

3435 Mason Hall

Hitomi Tonomura, tomitono@umich.edu

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Authors of the Japanese Cinema: Mizoguchi Kenji, Oshima Nagisa, Kitano Takeshi

Course Description

Each of these three filmmakers represents a new generation in the history of Japanese cinema: Mizoguchi Kenji, master of the mobile long take whose career spanned the two Golden Age of Japanese cinema; Oshima Nagisa, leader of the aesthetically and politically radical Japanese New Wave; and Kitano Takeshi, new standard bearer for personal filmmaking... Read more

Jesus in Nirvana*

Using Relics to Gain Modern Revelations

In the age of digital video and $100 million movie spectacles, 8mm film must seem to most like a relic of the past. Super 8mm film was what people used in the old days before video to record baby’s first birthday party or junior’s graduation. Kids aspiring to be the next Hitchcock may have experimented with their dad’s 8mm... Read more

For Yamamoto, Life Is by the Reel (Interview with Yamamoto Masashi)

Yamamoto Masashi, the director of Junk Food and such internationally acclaimed films as Carnival in the Night (“Yami no kanibary,” 1982) and Robinson’s Garden (“Robinson no niwa,” 1987), is still a student at the age of 42. And it is not just because he is... Read more

Junk Food*

Digesting the Junk of Tokyo

Street fashion is still in. Teens walk through Shibuya in Tokyo with baggy pants, knit caps, cornrows and so on, assuming the same style as the home boys in the ‘hood. It’s cool to look the outlaw, to present oneself as an outsider within Japanese society.

A film like Iwai Shunji’s... Read more

Mobsters' Confessions*

Distrust and disclosure

Japanese cinema of the 1980s was dominated by film adaptations of popular manga comic books. The affinity was natural given how deeply indebted manga is to the movies, but by the eighties, the comics were less feeding off of film than the other way around. In serious decline, Japanese cinema desperately latched onto its now more popular offspring for any ideas... Read more

Japanese Film Gets Respect in '97 (1997 in Review)

1997 was certainly a year to remember for the Japanese cinema. Imamura Shohei’s The Eel (“Unagi”) and Kitano Takeshi’s Hana-Bi captured grand prizes at two of the world’s top three film festivals (Cannes and Venice respectively) and Miyazaki Hayao’s ... Read more

Hana-Bi (Fireworks)*

Kitano’s Inner Lives Bloom in ‘Hana-Bi’

After winning the coveted Golden Lion at last year’s Venice Film Festival for his new film Hana-Bi, Kitano Takeshi boasted of his exploit to the sports papers in typical Beat Takeshi fashion: “I am the master!”

The statement was certainly the kind... Read more


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