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.
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
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
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
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
Beyond the Fringes (Image Forum Festival 1996)
It used to be that experimental film lived on the fringes, confined to the margins because it was both uncomfortable and unpalatable to the mainstream. MTV seems to have changed all that. When combined with Madonna or Nirvana, avant-garde imagery is now mass multimedia art, invading the core of even major Hollywood productions like ...Read more
Tokiwa: The Manga Apartment*
Drawn to a Legend
Any red-blooded fan of manga, or Japanese comics, has to have heard of the Tokiwaso. In the minuscule rooms of that rickety wooden apartment house in Tokyo’s Toshima Ward once dwelled some of the greats of postwar manga history, like Tezuka Osamu, Ishinomori Shotaro, Akatsuka Fujio, and the Fujio Fujiko combo.
Oguri’s Deep Sleeper
Oguri Kohei’s Sting of Death (“Shi no toge,” 1991), a masterfully dark portrait of a philandering novelist and his wife he unwittingly drives insane, concludes with the couple slowly preparing themselves for the sleep therapy...Read more
Otoko wa tsurai yo: Torajiro, kurenai no hana
Tora’s Lost World
Just as the rather odd signs of Christmas, at least in Japan–such as Santa appearing the department stores and carols filling the air–peak, two other markers of the season assault Japanese movie screens: Godzilla and Tora-san.
This year, Godzilla is dead, but Tora-san will seemingly live on forever as a Japanese institution.
Manila Calling for Medic
They used to make a lot of American movies like Emergency Call. The samaritan male First World professional heads off to less civilized regions of the world to help the natives and learn about their culture, often with the assistance of a beautiful local girl.
Often due to the necessity to avoid miscegenation, the plots were more...Read more