Finding Screenplays

Aaron Gerow gerowaaron at
Fri Aug 17 17:49:51 EDT 2007

This is something I post occasionally because the question often comes 

One of the good things about studying Japanese cinema as a foreigner 
(or not) is that a "scenario culture" has firmly developed in Japan. 
The screenplay was recognized from early on not only as an important 
part of film production, but also a legitimate form of expression on 
its own, so the publication of screenplays in magazines and books has 
been common since the 1920s. One of the major film magazines in Japan 
is still Shinario, which publishes 2-3 new scripts a month. Your first 
source for finding screenplays can thus be those publications.

Luckily, Tanikawa Yoshio put together an index to screenplays published 
in the major magazines, anthologies, and screenplay collections.

	Shinario bunken (Tokyo: Futosha, 1997)

This is an essential reference book that every serious scholar of 
Japanese film should have personally, as should any library that 
purports to deal with Japan.

The problem with Tanikawa is that he only tells you where to go (and 
only to the major sources, not the minor ones). You then have to find 
the scripts yourself. If your library has Shinario, KineJun, etc., 
Tanikawa will show you where to look. If not, you will have to deal 
with ILL or go to a library that has them. The system of bootleg 
scripts floating around the net has not developed for Japanese film.

I should add that institutions like the Waseda Engeki Hakubutsukan have 
major collections of unpublished screenplays that are accessible. 
Combining their index with Tanikawa's, you can find a lot at the Enpaku.

Aaron Gerow
Assistant Professor
Film Studies Program/East Asian Languages and Literatures
Yale University
53 Wall Street, Room 316
PO Box 208363
New Haven, CT 06520-8363
Phone: 1-203-432-7082
Fax: 1-203-432-6764
e-mail: aaron.gerow at

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