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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures : Asian Studies

Undergraduate Course: Contemporary Japanese Cinema (ASST10131)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Literatures, Languages and Cultures CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course explores contemporary Japanese film in the context of socio-political change since the bursting of the 1980s economic bubble.

Course description This course will explore Japanese films made in the context of socio-political change since the bursting of the 1980s economic bubble.

Attention will be paid to locating cinema within the debate on the many social issues to have emerged since 1989, including but not limited to: Japanese national identity, gender politics. migration and multiculturalism, economic restructuring, tradition and aesthetics, consumption and the virtual, minorities and youth culture.

Therefore, as well as developing a critical appreciation of Japanese cinema, we will use film to examine more general issues facing Japanese contemporary society. As such, students will be expected to draw upon the wide literature in English on both Japanese cinema and contemporary Japanese society, and demonstrate this knowledge through discussion, debate, presentations and written work.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites It is RECOMMENDED that students have passed Japanese Language Programme and Study Abroad 3 (Single) (ASST10069) OR Japanese Language Programme and Study Abroad 3 (Combined) (ASST10070) OR Japanese Year Abroad 3 (Single) (ASST10127) OR Japanese Year Abroad 3 (Combined) (ASST10129) OR Japanese Year Abroad (Single) (ASST10147)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Identify key themes in modern Japanese cinema
  2. Interpret Japanese film within its social and historical context
  3. Apply basic film theory and methodology to construct readings of Japanese films
  4. Construct 'pecha-kucha' style presentations
  5. Write extended film criticism
Reading List
Abe, C. 2004. Beat Takeshi Vs. Takeshi Kitano, New York: Kaya Press.

Arai, A. G. 2000. 'The Wild Child of 1990s Japan', The South Atlantic Quarterly, Vol. 99 (4): 841- 863.

Balmain, C. 2008. Introduction to Japanese Horror Film, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Barrett, G. 1989. Archetypes in Japanese Film: the socio-political and religious significance of the principal heroes and heroines, Selinsgrove, PA: Susquehanna University Press.

Best, S. 1991. Postmodern Theory: critical interrogations, Basingstoke: Macmillan.

Bolton, C., Csicsery-Ronay, I. and Tatsumi, T. eds. 2007. Robot Ghosts and Wired Dreams: Japanese Science Fiction from Origins to Anime, London: University of Minnesota Press.

Broderick, M. 1996. Hibakusha Cinema: Hiroshima, Nagasaki and the Nuclear Image in Japan, London: Kegan Paul International.

Brown, S. T. ed. 2006. Cinema Anime: Critical Engagements with Japanese Animation, New York: Palgrave MacMillan.

Cazadyn, E. 2003. The Flash of Capital: Film and Geopolitics in Japan, Durham: Duke University Press.

Craig, T. J. ed. Ed. 2000. Japan Pop!: Instide the World of Japanese Popular Culture, New York: M.E. Sharpe.

Chris D. 2005. Outlaw Masters of Japanese Film, London: IB Tauris.

Davis, D. 1996. Picturing Japaneseness: monumental style, national identity, Japanese film, New York: Columbia University Press.

Desser,D. 1988. Eros plus Massacre: an introduction to Japanese New Wave cinema, Bloomington and Indianapolis Indiana University Press.

Eagleton, T. 2003. After Theory, London: Allen Lane, the Penguin Press.

Eagleton, T. 1997. The Illusions of Postmodernism, Oxford: Blackwell.

Giddens, A. 1991. Modernity and Self Identity, Cambridge: Polity Press.

Giddens, A. 1990. The Consequences of Modernity, Cambridge: Polity Press.

Featherstone, M. 1991. Consumer culture and postmodernism, London: SAGE Publications.

Iida, Y. 2000. 'Between the Technique of Living an Endless Routine and the Madness of Absolute Degree Zero: Japanese Identity and the Crisis of Modernity in the 1990s', positions, Vol. 8 (2): pp.

Iles, T. 2008. The Crisis of Identity in Contemporary Japanese Film: personal, cultural, national, Leiden: Brill.

Iles, T. 2007. 'Families, fathers, film: Changing images from Japanese Cinema'. [Online]. Accessed 9th March 2011 from:

Iles, T. 2005. 'The Problem of Identity in Contemporary Japanese Horror Films', ejcjs, Discussion Paper 4. [Online]. Accessed 9th March 2011 from:

Ivy, M. 1995. Discourses of the Vanishing: Modernity Phantasm Japan, Chicago: Chicago University Press.

Jameson, F. 1991. Postmodernism, or, the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism, London: Verso. (An extract can be found here:

Ko, M. 2009. Japanese Cinema and Otherness: Nationalism, Multiculturalism and the Problem of Japanessness, London: Routledge.

Ko, M. 2004. 'The Break-up of the national body: cosmetic multiculturalism and films of Miike Takashi,' New Cinemas, Vol. 2(1): 29 ¿ 39.

McDonald, K. 2006. Reading a Japanese Film: Cinema in Context, Honolulu: University of Hawai¿i Press.

McGuigan, J. 2006. Modernity and Postmodern Culture, 2nd Edition, Maidenhead: Open University Press.

MacWilliams, M. ed. 2008. Japanese Visual Culture: explorations in the world of manga and anime, New York: M.E. Sharpe.

Mes, T. and Sharp, J. 2004. The Midnight Eye Guide to New Japanese Film, Berkeley, CA: Stone Bridge Press.

Mes. T. 2003. Agitator: The Cinema of Takashi Miike, London: FAB Press.

Miyoshi, M. and Harootunian, H. D. eds. 1989. Postmodernism and Japan, Durham: Duke University Press.

McRoy, J. 2008. Nightmare Japan: contemporary Japanese Horror Film, Amsterdam: Rodopi.

Napier, S. J. 2005. Anime from Akira to Howl's Moving Castle: Experiencing Contemporary Japanese Animation, New York: Palgrave MacMillan.

Napier, S. J. 1993. 'Panic Sites: The Japanese Imagination of Disaster from Godzilla to Akira', Journal of Japanese Studies, Vol. 19 (2): 327 ¿ 351.

Nelson, J. K. 2000. Enduring Identities: The Guise of Shinto in Contemporary Japan, Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press.

Nornes, A. M. and Gerow, A. 2009. Research Guide to Japanese Film Studies, Center for Japanese Studies, University of Michigan.

Nygren, S. 2007. Time Frames: Japanese Cinema and the Unfolding of History, London: Minnesota Press.

Philips, A. and Stringer, J. eds. 2007. Japanese Cinema: Texts and Contexts, London: Routledge.

Rose, G. 2001. Visual Methodologies: an introduction to the interpretation of visual materials, London: SAGE Publications.

Richie, D. 1971. Japanese Cinema: Film Style and National Character, New York: Anchor Books.

Richie, D. 2005. A Hundred Years of Japanese Film, London: Kodansha International.

Shilling, M. 1999. Contemporary Japanese Film, New York: Weatherhill.

Shuk-Ting Yau, K. 'Imagining Others: A Study of the "Asia" Presented in Japanese Cinema', in D. M. Nault, ed. Development in Asia: interdisciplinary, post-neoliberal and transnational perspectives, Boca Raton: BrownWalker Press.

Smith, A. 2000. 'Images of the Nation: Cinema, Art and National Identity,' in M. Hjort and S. MacKenzie, eds. Cinema and Nation, London: Routledge.

Sontag, S. 193. 'Against Interpretation', in A Susan Sontag Reader, New York: Vintage Books.

Standish, I. 2006. A New History of Japanese Cinema, London: Continuum.

Standish, I. 2000. Myth and Masculinity in the Japanese Cinema: towards a political reading of the 'Tragic Hero', Richmond: Routledge/Curzon.

Standish, I. 1998. 'Akira: Postmodernism and Resistance', in D.P. Martinez, ed. The Worlds of Japanese Popular Culture: Gender Shifting Boundaries and Global Change, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Vlastos, S. 1998. 'Tradition: Past/Present Culture and Modern Japanese History', in S. Vlastos, ed. Mirror of Modernity: Invented Traditions of Modern Japan, Berkeley: University of California Press.

Useful websites:

Midnight Eye:
Japanese Directors:
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Analytical skills
Essay writing
Presentation skills
Group work and debate
Special Arrangements The student numbers for this course are capped at 25 (UG and PG combined). Priority will be given to intending Japanese honours students, students on the MSc Japanese Society and Culture and students from Film Studies.
Study Abroad None
KeywordsAS Cont Jap Cin,Japan Cinema Contemporary Theory
Course organiserDr Christopher Perkins
Tel: (0131 6)50 4174
Course secretaryMiss Charlotte McLean
Tel: (0131 6)50 4114
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