Kinema Club XVIII: Gender and Sexuality in Japanese Cinema—A Unique CFP

Saturday, September 8, 2018

September 8, 2018

Conference dates: February 22-24, 2019

Location: Yale University, New Haven, CT  USA

Submission deadline: September 30, 2018

Kinema Club XVIII, with the support of the Council on East Asian Studies, will take place at Yale University at the end of February 2019 (tentative dates February 22-24). The Kinema Club conferences on Japanese film and media have distinguished themselves over the years for their variety and inventiveness, ranging from workshops to full-fledged conferences, from themed symposia to sidebars of film festivals. This edition will be a new step even for Kinema Club, in that it will center on screening and discussing rare films, not on delivering papers.

The format, inspired by the conferences held by the European Studies Council at Yale, centers on the screening of 35mm prints of rarely seen films over a three-day period. After each film or set of films, a panel of 3-4 members will begin discussion not by reading prepared papers, but by each member offering comments strictly limited to 5-10 minutes. This leaves the majority of the time open for discussion among all the participants.

That means that we are not issuing a call for papers. Rather, we are asking for nominations on what films to show and who can serve on the panels. Kinema Club XVIII will be held with the cooperation of the National Film Archive of Japan (NFAJ), so all film prints will come from the NFAJ.

To help focus the discussion, the Yale organizing committee has decided the theme of KC XVIII will be “Gender and Sexuality in Japanese Cinema.” Japanese cinema has long been explored through its treatment of gender and sexuality, from the modern women of Mizoguchi to the masculine fantasies of yakuza films, from the obscured eroticism of roman porno to the beautiful fighting girls of anime. In selecting this theme, the organizing committee wishes to invite new perspectives on the visual construction of gender and sexuality in Japanese media by screening films rarely seen which scholars can position to intervene in ongoing conversations about gender and sexuality.

The organizing committee has also proposed two films to begin with:

  • Fukujuso 福寿草 (director: Kawate Jirō 川手二郎; Shinkō Kinema, 1935)
  • Hana chirinu 花ちりぬ (director: Ishida Tamizō 石田民三; Tōhō, 1938)

We are thus looking for nominations of 4-5 other films (or more, if some are shorts) that can work within the theme and are contained in the NFAJ collection. We are also asking for self-nominations to serve on the panels either of the above 2 films, or of a film that has been nominated (one can of course nominate a film and oneself to talk about it). Group nominations of 2-3 people are welcome, but the organizing committee reserves the right to add a panel member to further the discussion. The organizing committee will invite some scholars to add to the discussion and fill in slots.

In the spirit of the conference, we are looking for films that connect with the theme and which are rarely shown outside Japan. As one measure of the latter, we are looking for films that are not available on DVD or legal streaming services with English subtitles outside of Japan. All films shown must come from the collection of the NFAJ. You can check their catalog of feature length fiction film. Preferably they should have English subtitles (if you are unsure whether an NFAJ print has subtitles, the organizing committee can help confirm that), though we could try to create subtitles for a wanted film if there is the time and personnel. Note that not all prints in the NFAJ are in a state that allows for projection; some film nominations may be rejected for that reason.

KC XVIII is being supported by the Council on East Asian Studies. Within the budget, we can reimburse up to $500 for the travel and up to $300 for the hotel costs of up to 14 out-of-town participants. (If we go underbudget, or get additional funding, we can increase this amount, especially for participants from Asia and Europe.)

Given the negotiations necessary with the NFAJ and possible copyright holders of the films to be shown, the organizers hope to decide the films and panels by mid-October.

That means that the DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSIONS is September 30, 2018.

  • Film nominations should state the title of the film (and basic filmographic information for identification purposes), and a no more than 200-word reason for its inclusion.
  • Panel member nominations should include the name, affiliation, contact information, and a no more than 200-word summary of the points you wish to make about the film. In the case of group panel nominations, add a short reason for the group’s constitution in addition to the nominations for each individual.

Please submit nominations by e-mail to:

Yes, this is a unique “call for papers” but it is for a unique conference. We hope you can participate. If you just want to attend the conference, stay tuned for further information.

Aaron Gerow

Yale University