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.
Pia Film Festival Shows Off Japan's Independent Streak (Pia Film Festival 1996)
Judging just from the output of the major film companies, Japanese cinema is better off dead. Godzilla and Tora-san may have expired, but their studios are still breeding faded clones from their remaining genetic formulas.
If one looks at the independent scene, however, one encounters another world: a seething, vibrant creativity that threatens to melt the foundations of the movie...Read more
Punks Having Identity Crisis
Played by the likes of Tsuruta Koji, Takakura Ken or Sugawara Bunta, yakuza in movies are usually made-of-steel, superhuman macho heroes who coldly stare death in the face and fight for honor and gang tradition. If these heroes express emotion, it is within the confines of the melodrama of duty...Read more
One More Time, One More Chance
Woman in White Medicine for Troubled Soul
She appears out of nowhere, a white dress standing out in a dim, moonlit field. “Today’s high school girls are pretty strange,” remarks Rihito (Tsurumi Shingo), a character in Shinohara Tetsuo’s first feature film, One More Time, One More Chance. “But she isn...Read more
‘Black Jack’ Lacks Color
The year 1973 was difficult for Tezuka Osamu, the father of modern Japanese manga. Mushi Productions, the company he founded to pursue animation, his second love, and bring to life such hits as Astro Boy and Kimba the White Lion, went bankrupt that year.
The comic...Read more
Ready For Some Action (Nikkatsu and Aisuru)
The words “Nikkatsu is back” may not only result in a nostaligia trip for many an old film buff. Now that the company has reorganized after nearly going bankrupt in 1993, an event which symbolized the decline of the Japanese film industry, maybe there is also new hope on the horizon for this nation’s film production.
When Nikkatsu filed for corporate reorganization in July 1993...Read more
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
‘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