living national film treasures ?

Roland Domenig roland.domenig
Thu Jun 26 05:29:26 EDT 2008

Jonathan, not exactly an answer to your question, but it might interest you that in one of today's articles on  the website about Nakadai Tatsuya's visit to New York he is refered to as "actor of the national treasure league"  (kokuho-kyu haiyu).


Von: owner-KineJapan at [owner-KineJapan at] im Auftrag von Jonathan M. Hall [jmhall at]
Gesendet: Dienstag, 24. Juni 2008 04:36
An: KineJapan
Betreff: living national film treasures ?

Dear KineJapanners.

Earlier in the year, I had the good fortune again to attend a katsuben performance by Sawato Midori in Monzen-nakacho, Tokyo.  The main feature was von Stronheim's Foolish Wives. After the performance, the crowd surged up against Sawato-san and one man exclaimed excitedly that Sawato should be covered by the Washington Convention (... presumedly because she is an endangered species.)   This suggestion made me think of Ningen kokuho, or the Japanese system of Living National Treasures.  Leaving aside the question of whether Sawato is a living national treasure  (I personally think she is ...), I began to  wonder  if there ever was a movement to include more contemporary arts within the category of National Treasures and  nominate a Japanese director for the honor of Ningen Kokuho.  I suspect Kurosawa would have been the most likely candidate, given the late recognition of film arts and his longevity.  As we know, he was not so nominated, but I wonder if anyone is aware of an effort to broaden the categories ...


Jonathan M. Hall
Japanese Film, Media, and Modern Literature

Visiting Assistant Professor (Spring 2008)
East Asian Languages & Cultures
UC Berkeley

Assistant Professor, Comparative Literature / Film & Media Studies
320 Humanities Instructional Building
UC Irvine, Irvine CA 92697-2651 USA
office: 1-949-824-9778
fax: 1-949-824-1992

Co-Chair, Caucus Coordinating Committee, Society for Cinema and Media Studies
Co-Chair, Queer Caucus, Society for Cinema and Media Studies

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