Cover image for A hundred years of Japanese film : a concise history, with a selective guide to videos and DVDs
A hundred years of Japanese film : a concise history, with a selective guide to videos and DVDs
Richie, Donald, 1924-2013.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Tokyo ; New York : Kodansha International : Distributed in the U.S. by Kodansha America, 2001.
Physical Description:
311 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PN1993.5.J3 R47115 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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In A Hundred Years of Japanese Films, Richie offers an insider's look at the achievements of Japanese filmmakers. He begins in the late 1800s, when the industry took its inspiration from the traditional stories of Kabuki and Noh theater, and finishes in the present with the latest award-winning dramas showcased at Cannes.

In between, Richie explores the roots of Japan's contribution to world cinema. He discusses the careers of Japan's rising stars and celebrated directors, and also offers a fascinating view of the strategies and politics of the movie studios themselves.

A selective guide in the book's second part provides capsule reviews of the major Japanese films available in VHS and DVD formats, as well as those televised on standard and cable channels.

Author Notes

DONALD RICHIE is the author of over a dozen books on Japanese film and culture, including the films of Akira Kurosawa and Ozu. He coauthored a long-standing text, The Japanese Film (revised in 1982), with Joseph Anderson, and has written or edited a number of other publications, among them the English screenplays of The Seven Samurai and Rashomon.

PAUL SCHRADER, who contributed the foreword to this book, is an established Hollywood director, who broke into film with the screenplay for Martin Scorsese's Taxi Driver. He has directed various hit movies, including Affliction (with Nick Nolte, Sissy Spacek, James Coburn, Willem Dafoe), American Gigolo (with Richard Gere), Light of Day (with Michael J. Fox), and Cat People. Among his numerous screenplays are Ringing Out the Dead (with Nicolas Cage), The Mosquito Coast, and The Last Temptation of Christ.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Widely considered the leading Western authority on Japan, Richie has a particular affinity for the nation's films, as is evident on every page of this authoritative survey. He emphasizes the collaborative nature of film, which is particularly appropriate since in Japanese culture the collective usually trumps the individual, and shows how Japanese cinema largely eschewed realism and narrative until it fell under Western influence. The section on the silent era, when live narrators, benshi, described films' stories to audiences, is particularly revelatory, since 90 percent of pre-1945 Japanese films haven't survived. Richie comments insightfully on the acknowledged masters--Mizoguchi, Ozu, and Kurosawa--and also on other notable directors who are virtually unknown to even the most avid American cineasts. He finds less to praise about contemporary filmmakers, whose flashier, Westernized approach seems less to his liking. The impressive amount of information on films renowned and obscure and Richie's enthusiasm and critical acumen make this essential for film studies collections. Brief reviews of about 200 films, with notations on video availability, top things off nicely. --Gordon Flagg

Choice Review

A new book by Richie is always a welcome event, and he does not disappoint with this new history, even though the reader will have seen some of the material before in The Japanese Movie (CH, Jun'66). Unlike other critics from the occident, Richie writes with an insider's view of Japanese culture and is especially good on the origins and development of the industry and the art. Critic (The Films of Akira Kurosawa, CH, Apr'66; Ozu, 1974; etc.) and historian, he is excellent on the politics of wartime and occupied Japan. As the present title reveals, Richie's knowledge of Hollywood and world cinema makes him the perfect guide to little-known styles, directors, and studios of his adopted land. Postwar Japanese social realism finds its counterparts in the neorealism of Rossellini and de Sica. Richie can be funny--vide his description of the 1960s Godzilla craze: "From punishment-figure-from-the-past he turned friendly and finally took to defending his country (right or wrong) from not only foreign monsters but also the machinations of both the US and the USSR"--and refreshingly critical (on an alternative to Tarantino: "Another way is to drop hard-core cool and attempt to show something of the reality of being young in a disciplinary society"). All collections. S. Donovan St. Thomas University

Table of Contents

Paul Schrader
Forewordp. 7
Introductionp. 9
I A Concise History of Japanese Film
1 Beginnings and the Benship. 17
Film, Theater, and Actorsp. 22
Realism and Realityp. 25
Western Influencesp. 27
Shingeki and New Narrative Tacticsp. 29
The Gendaigekip. 32
2 Taisho Democracy and Shochikup. 43
The New Gendaigeki: Shimazu, Gosho, Shimizu, Ozu, and Narusep. 46
The New Jidaigeki: Itami, Inagaki, Ito, and Yamanaka Sadaop. 64
Nikkatsu and the Shimpa: Mizoguchi Kenjip. 77
Expressionism, Kinugasa Teinosuke, and the Leftist Filmp. 84
Criticism and Crackdown: World War IIp. 96
3 The Occupation of Japanp. 107
Postwar Developmentsp. 115
Ozu and Narusep. 119
Mizoguchi and the Period-Filmp. 129
New Means: Jun-bungaku, Comedy, and Social Issuesp. 134
4 The Advent of Television and the Film's Defenses: Suzuki, Nakahira, Kawashima, and Imamurap. 177
The Early Independents: Hani and Teshigaharap. 192
The "New Wave": Oshima, Yoshida, and Shinodap. 196
After the Wavep. 208
5 Making Audiencesp. 213
The New Independentsp. 216
Documentary and Animep. 243
Conclusionp. 253
II A Selective Guide to Videos and DVDs
Introductionp. 257
Listingsp. 259
Japanese Sources of Videos and DVDsp. 288
Japanese Historical Periodsp. 289
Notesp. 290
Glossaryp. 296
Bibliographyp. 299
Indexp. 302