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.

DANGAN Runner*

Running for Their Lives

World cinema has rarely seen such a trio of losers as on display in DANGAN Runner. The wimpy Yasuda (Tetsuo’s Tomoro Taguchi) tries to prove his manhood by holding up a bank after his girlfriend jilts him, only to... Read more

Atlanta Boogie

‘Boogie’ Beyond Control

Popularized at the turn of the 19th century as a means of training young bodies for the service of the state, the undokai or athletic meet has become a symbol of Japanese schools, companies and local communities–a delightful way to compete and work up a sweat while simultaneously strengthening the body politic.

The affluent residents of... Read more


Television Out of Focus

Recent cases of TV trickery are disturbingly numerous. TBS showed an interview with lawyer Sakamoto Tsutsumi to the deadly Aum Supreme Truth, purportedly to get good footage of the Aum Kamikuishiki compound. Even the elite NHK faked footage in a documentary on the Himalayas to heighten its impact.

One wonders if televisual culture does not habitually... Read more

Asian Class Gets Eclectic (TIFF '96 The Best of Asian Films)

It is testimony to the rise of Asian cinema on the world scene that sections like The Best of Asian Films at the 1996 Tokyo International Film Festival no longer need to play the role of exclusively spotlighting the neglected cinemas of the East.

With this year’s International Competition and the Young Cinema Competition already featuring a number of powerful works from China,... Read more

A Class to Remember II

Here’s a ‘Class’ That Deserves to Be Skipped

Tora-san is dead and with him, one would think, an era. But don’t pay your last respects just yet.

Even if the popular “Otoko wa tsurai yo” series will end with the unfortunate death of Tora’s talented performer, Atsumi Kiyoshi, the world embodied in... Read more

And the Beat Goes On (TIFF '96 Kitano Takeshi Symposium)

Kitano Takeshi must be scared.

Forced to sit on stage for three hours in a sweltering movie theater packed to the gills with young admirers, the man better known as Beat Takeshi was subjected last Friday night to endless praise and admiration by film critics, a university professor, and even a Cannes-winning film director... Read more


It’s ‘Billiken’ to the Rescue

Put a coin in the donation box, rub the soles of his feet, and make a wish. Billiken the god of fortune will make us all happy.

Billiken who? The eponymous star of Sakamoto Junji’s comedy, Billiken... Read more

Tokyo Film Fete Unearths Japanese Classics (TIFF '96 Nippon Cinema Classics)

Stop any Japanese youth on the street and ask him when was the last time he saw a Japanese movie, and he’ll probably utter, “I dunno.” To many of Japan’s youth, Japanese film is dasai, woefully uncool for a generation that only seems to flock to the latest Hollywood blockbuster or arty European flick.

Having seen few Japanese movies, however, they are sadly ignorant... Read more

Kids Return*

Beat’s Bold ‘Return’

When Beat Takeshi’s motor scooter skidded into a telephone pole in 1995, leaving the popular comedian near death, the wideshows may have been concerned about the fate of the myriad of TV shows he hosted. But we in the film business wondered if this one hope of the Japanese film industry would ever return.

As the director of such... Read more

Gama-Getto no hana

Remembering Okinawa

What kind of reckoning of the war is being made amidst all the furor over the American military bases in Okinawa, arising fifty years after the United States invaded Okinawa at the end of World War II? Looking at the media coverage, it seems that everyone is a victim of an injustice perpetrated by two villains: America and the Japanese government.

This tale... Read more


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