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.


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

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

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

Cure*

A ‘Cure’ for Repression

Mamiya (Hagiwara Masato), the serial killer in Kurosawa Kiyoshi’s brilliantly chilling Cure, keeps asking the same simple question of everyone he meets: “Who are you?”

They give him their usual answers–school... Read more

An Obsession

A Stolen Gun Links Murder and Love

In only the year and a half since exploding on to the feature film scene with his shocking portrait of alienated youth, Helpless (1996), the prolific Aoyama Shinji has already turned out three more movies,... Read more

To Love

Spiritual Aims and Worldly Choices

Launched to commemorate Nikkatsu’s return to production after surviving bankruptcy proceedings, To Love recalls elements of the rich tradition of Japan’s longest running film company (since 1912, to be exact).

Not only do we enjoy seeing the faces of such old Nikkatsu stars as... Read more

Postman Blues*

‘Postman’ Rings with High Action

“Does your heart ever thump with excitement like it did when you were a kid?” The yakuza Noguchi (Horibe Keisuke) poses this question to his childhood friend Sawaki (Tsutsumi Shin’ichi) at the beginning of Postman Blues, but it could equally be directed at the audience... Read more

2 Duo*

The Bitter Reality of Japanese Youth

Why can’t we call a fiction film a documentary? Both genres use the same film stock, chemically recording real people engaging in real actions before the camera. What difference does it make that it’s “only acting” in fiction? Don’t we all act to some degree in our everyday lives?

These questions seemed to confront... Read more

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