Buddhism and KineJun database (E+J)

Aaron Gerow gerow
Thu Jul 8 01:27:03 EDT 1999

Trying to think of more films for Birgit's inquiry (and coming up with 
_Shaka_, another Daiei/Nagata produced big-budget spectacular), I did a 
free-word search on the Kinema Junpo Database for Japanese films using 
the word "bukkyo."  This turned up 21 films that had that word in their 
plot summaries or other data catagories (which doesn't necessarily mean 
the film itself contains that much about Buddhism).  The Miyazawa Kenji 
biopics are a good thing to look at. 

??????DESIRE,THE STRANGEST ON EARTH????????????????

I do recall someone (maybe Stephen) asking earlier what the database is 
like, so I thought I'd give people my opinion.  Basically, it's a useful 
tool, but they could have done a lot more with it.  It only includes 
postwar Japanese film (1945-1997), mostly using the "shokai" text from 
KineJun (in Japanese, of course).  Each film entry offers six basic 
categories of information beyond studio, year, and length: staff/cast; 
kaisetsu; summmary; video info; map; memo (you add your own); still 
pictures; music; awards.  The vast majority of entries only have data for 
the first three categories.  There is no hypertextuality for names in the 
cast/staff section, only for films listed in the kaisetsu section (which 
are limited to previous films of the director, screenwriter, etc.), 
though you can highlight a name, press the search button, and come up 
with a list with that name in it (basically a free-word search without 
having to retype the name).  You can print out your results.  One 
annoying thing is that for earlier films only the number of reels is 
listed for the length.

Searching can be done by title, name (where you specify which job), 
combinations of titles and names, and free-word.  A search with multiple 
hits produces a window with just the titles (sometimes dates); you click 
on the title to get the entry window.  If you click on several titles, 
each is given its own window so that you can work between them.

In a separate section, called the "Cinema Collection," there is a 
historical chronology for 1945-1997 (which is too limited), lists of top 
BO films (ten for each year 1950-1997); stills (basically a list of the 
311 entries with stills); music (the 10 entries with music); My Best Ten 
(best ten lists from such critics as Yamane Sadao and Kawarabata 
Yasushi); and film prizes (the KineJun Best Ten; Mainichi Concours; Japan 
Academy Awards; Blue Ribbon; etc.).

There is more to the database, but that's the essentials.  If anyone else 
has used it, they can give their own opinions.

Aaron Gerow
Yokohama National University
KineJapan list owner
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