Fall 2014 Course Open – FAMST187JC / FAMST232JC: Japanese Cinema

Instructor: Professor Naoki Yamamoto

Meeting Time: M 5:00-7:50; W 6:00-7:50

Location: SSMS 2013

Course Description:

Since Kurosawa Akira’s Rashomon won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival in 1951, Japanese cinema has remained one of the most influential national cinemas in world film history. With its unique creativity and productivity, it has served not only as a great inspiration for filmmakers from all over the world but also as the subject of heated debates among scholars in the US and Europe since the inception of film studies in the 1960s. By critically reviewing the ways in which a generation of Western scholars have embraced—or rather, fabricated—the “uniqueness” of Japanese cinema, this course will clarify what kind of cultural and geopolitical tensions were at play in the formative period of film studies as an academic discipline. Topics covered in this seminar include: the Orientalist gaze of the West on Japanese culture; Japanese cinema’s deviations from classical Hollywood norms; the Japanese New Wave; political filmmaking in the late 1960s; distinctive genres (horror, yakuza, anime); and Japanese cinema in the age of globalization. Throughout the course, participants are expected to attain critical skills and knowledge to contextualize our daily consumption of cultures of the “Other.”