a japanese film of sixties

Aaron Gerow gerowaaron at sbcglobal.net
Wed Aug 4 10:17:54 EDT 2004


Thank you so much for the vivid account. You really make those days 
come alive. I think I can imagine the horse cart traveling around 
advertising Zatoichi.

It is interesting that you attribute the influx of Japanese film to the 
post-Rashomon boom. That is usually considered an art-house phenomenon, 
but it is fascinating to think of its affects on even a place like 
rural Java. One possible way of thinking about this is the role of 
Daiei, and particularly Nagata Masaichi, in such cinematic trade. While 
films like Sansho Dayu were made in part with Western audiences in 
mind, Nagata enthusiastically eyed the Asian market and wrote numerous 
essays on the profits to be obtained there. Your mention of Rashomon 
and Zatoichi--both Daiei product--make me wonder whether many of the 
movies you see were not Daiei films, entering Java in part because of 
Daiei's active efforts to enter the Asian market. That would also 
explain in part why Japanese films disappeared in the 1970s, after 
Daiei went bankrupt. If you saw Godzilla, clearly other studios' films 
were being imported as well, but I wonder if you saw Daimajin or 
Gamera? Maybe some of the Daiei ghost and goblin films? Nikkatsu also 
did well in the Asian market, so I wonder if the youth films you saw 
were Nikkatsu films?

With much discussion today about contemporary Japanese popular culture 
in Asia, it is clear more hard historical research needs to be done 
about earlier examples like this, and about such institutions like 
Daiei and Nagata.

Aaron Gerow
KineJapan owner

Assistant Professor
Film Studies Program/East Asian Languages and Literatures
Yale University

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