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.

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

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.

Drawn... Read more

Sleeping Man*

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.

Tora-san,... Read more

Emergency Call

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

Real Doctor Faces Harsh Realities (Emergency Call)

A husband who steals his dead wife’s body before it can be autopsied, a distraught mother who bites the ear off her newborn baby, and a yellow journalist who does a radio expose on the Japanese doctor for supposed discrimination against the Philippine people. Events like these that occur Omori Kazuki’s new film ... Read more

East Meets West

When the East Fails to Meet the West

Japanese film fans and filmmakers alike have shared a long-standing fascination with the American western, perhaps because of its affinities with one of Japan’s own home-grown genres, the samurai movie, which in many cases also sports a lone hero dueling with villains to restore order to a lawless situation.

Such similarities have made... Read more


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