Colorado Conference---catharsis/divorce/sex

kiseko minaguchi kiko
Mon Nov 6 23:25:10 EST 2000

I am not quite informed of the Nikkatsu porno's industry and cannot follow
Markus' s  question he raises about Hama's position as a feminist filmmaker,
I would like to ask for his help with clarifying what he exactly means by a
feminist filmmaker. How Is a female filmmaker different from feminist
filmmker? I understand there is a rich variety in the feminists whether in
plitics or in critics. My general assumption of it is that a feminist is
concerned about her and others' subjectivity in the politics where
patriarchy is more predominant than matriarchy. I often get stuck, thus,
when I deal with the issues of power balancing in matriarchy. If the
matriarchy is structured within patriarchy, we could argue feminism there,
but if not, what would happen  to "ooku " in Heian period and contemporary
"Takarazuka " which are women's hierarchical societies?
Minaguchi, Teikyo U.

-----Original Message-----
???o?l : Aaron Gerow <gerow at>
???? : KineJapan <KineJapan at>
???? : 2000?N11??6?? 16:43
???? : Re: Colorado Conference---catharsis/divorce/sex

>Markus asked,
>>My question, and this would be an interesting thing to discuss on
>>has to do with the way that discussions of the wonders of Nikkatsu Roman
>>Porno and pink eiga never---a word I take seriously---consider the
>>filmmaking in tandem with the reception context. When people point out
>>with the disintegration of the studio system, the pink film becomes the
>>training ground for moves into the mainstream (and the survival of
>>directors, technicians and cameramen who otherwise wouldn't be able to
>>in film), it makes sense to me. However, when discussions turn to the
>>progressive politics of the films, or their worthiness as art, what does
>>mean to ignore what's going on on ground level, in the theaters? How is
>>not a looping between the production and reception contexts, one big
>>self-love fest?
>Much of the problem is in an impressionist based film criticism dominant
>in Japan that only looks at one point of reception: the critic.
>Markus's question deserves more of a pursuit, but let me just add another
>issue to the problem: industry.  Even those who praise Roman Poruno or
>pink film as a valuable training ground rarely sit down and consider the
>industrial conditions for all this (beyond, as with regard to Nikkatsu,
>expressing a nostalgia about it being the last bastion of a program
>picture studio system).
>But when Zeze Takahisa came to my Meigaku class to talk, some of these
>issues did come up in relation to Hamano in our discussion afterwards.
>First, it should be pointed out that pink films are essentially produced
>on a subcontractor basis.  Essentially, the company gives the director
>about 3 million yen and expects him or her to deliver the film with that
>(I don't know the specifics about developing and other peripheral costs).
> Thus this is not a studio system where the studio makes up budget and
>then produces it in house (this is a major difference with Roman Poruno
>and again reminds us Roman Poruno and contemporary pink films are not the
>same); and there is no real producer system (it is almost an ironic
>epitome of the director system: I'm reminded of Shochiku's contract with
>Kinugasa Teinosuke in the 1920s for something similar in Japanese film
>history).  If the director ends up spending less than 3 million in making
>the film, he or she pockets that amount.  Zeze noted this in relation to
>a shift in his films from more group to more individual oriented
>narratives: the former were just too costly and it was he, not the
>studio, who was bearing the loss; the latter were just cheaper and thus
>the shift was partially a measure of financial necessity.
>Given this situation, one would imagine that pink directors would
>incorporate themselves, or create their own production companies, for
>various reasons (tax reasons, debt indemnity, etc.). But many like Zeze,
>who himself confesses a lack of business acumen, do not do that.  Hamano,
>however, has done that and thus reflects a different attitude towards
>production as well as different industrial conditions.  I don't think we
>need to buy into the stereotype of artists unconcerned with business, but
>at least in Zeze's mind, Hamano is a shewd business player who makes sure
>she is on good financial standing.  On the one hand, this can ensure the
>kind of industrial "freedom" she spoke of, but on the other, it clearly
>ties her in with the financial interests of the industry--i.e., to make
>films for mostly rural men to "jack off" to.  Perhaps her incorporated
>status can allow for a power to express her own vision, but do remember
>she is still only a subcontractor, not the contractor.  Her willingness
>to use different names for herself depending on the company (so that the
>same name does not emblazon the releases of competing pink film
>companies) was also cited by Zeze to exemplify her willingness to work
>with the companies.
>More research is needed before we can judge Hamano's industrial status,
>but I think it is also worth noting in terms of reception that Hamano has
>not been subject to resistance on the level of reception that I know of.
>Zeze and the Shitenno, however, were, as many rural theaters and their
>customers complained about their films--perhaps because they were not
>easy to "jack off" to.
>I think we need to think about these issues some more before accepting
>Hamano's self-depiction as a feminist filmmaker.
>Aaron Gerow
>Associate Professor
>International Student Center
>Yokohama National University
>79-1 Tokiwadai
>Hodogaya-ku, Yokohama 240-8501
>E-mail: gerow at
>Phone: 81-45-339-3170
>Fax: 81-45-339-3171

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