Manga and Japanese cinema

Junko Tanaka jtanaka at
Mon Nov 24 02:05:52 EST 1997

I have been following the discussion on manga with enthusiasm. It's nice to
hear opinions on manga and anime because not much attention is paid to them
among the scholars in Japanese cinema. I also have a feeling (correct me if
I'm wrong) that manga and anime have not yet been really theorized so as to
be taught as a subject in college.

Kurosawa's fame is amazing worldwide, yet his position as the
representative of Japanese cinema may be taken over by anime soon, if it
hasn't already. Whenever I tell friends of my age (mid-20s, that is) who
are outside of the film studies circle that I study Japanese cinema, I get
the following response:
(in Japan) So you study Kurosawa? SEVEN SAMURAI?
BUT when I ask if they've seen the film, they say No. They only know the title.
(in the US) So you study Kurosawa? Have you seen YOJIMBO?
And then their conversation goes to AKIRA in a minute.

I often find Kurosawa's name and film titles just "float around" among the
general public. I myself never had an opportunity or motivation to see
Kurosawa films until I decided to major in film studies and went to a
Kurosawa "all-night" at an Asakusa theater only a few years ago.

So, my concern goes not to any one of us, who "give a damn," but to the
general and young public. I haven't read Chuo Koronsha's "The Films of
Akira Kurosawa," but by now, being a film studies student, it is hard for
me to imagine SEVEN SAMURAI in any other form than film. Manga has been
attacked for promoting "katsuji-banare" among kids, but it might even
provoke "eiga-banare" as well in the future when SEVEN SAMURAI is known
only in the form of manga? I guess my primary concern is similar to
Joseph's when he writes:

>What interests me in all this is the question of primacy and authority. What
>is the authoritative version of these artforms?  And how does that change as
>different generations become introduced to them through different media?

Aaron, and others who have read the manga version of SEVEN SAMURAI, I'd be
interested to hear how you've found it. It must be quite amusing itself,
but would it possibly have some readers want to see Kurosawa's work?

Thank you,
Junko Tanaka

PS: I remember reading an article drawing similarities between Ozu films
and manga (in EIGAGAKU, if my memory serves). Since Kurosawa's works are
full of live-action and Ozu's far from it, it's interesting that films by
both directors have manga-like or manga-tizable qualities.

More information about the KineJapan mailing list