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.


Film as Critique Is a Real Fake

First a head is lopped off, then a scantily clad beauty gets sliced in two, and finally everything ends in a dance of blood and knives. It is de rigeur for a horror flick and clearly as fake as it can be. Did you ever meet someone who really thought Janet Leigh was stabbed to death in Psycho?

Horror films, however, maintain their long-... Read more

Night Without Angels

The Hellish Loneliness of Living in the Big City

Ever since its towering spires began to blot out the sky, the modern city has been metaphorically tied to hell. From Hell’s Kitchen in New York to the shadowy infernos of film noir, the city has come to represent in name and image the depths to which humanity can sink.

The title of Ryuichi Hiroki’s new film, Night... Read more

Shady Grove*

Another Ambiguous Aoyama Take on Youth Studies

It is commonplace to mourn the inability of contemporary youth to communicate. Lost in their virtual realities of video games and cellular phones, they seem unable to handle people of flesh and blood–other than perhaps through random violence. It is as if they cannot establish contact because they don’t even acknowledge the... Read more

Adrenaline Drive*

Laughing as the World Turns UPSIDE DOWN

When a nicely-dressed woman trips over a rock and tumbles down a steep slope in real life, you usually call for the paramedics, not stand there and laugh. Movie comedy, however, makes you do the opposite. That’s the sinister, almost sadistic side to humor that allows the better comedy directors to go beyond just the laughs to explore the... Read more


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

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


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