Japanese governmental agencies/film culture promotional policies
Jonathan M Hall
jmhall at uci.edu
Thu Sep 4 07:07:19 EDT 2008
The last thing I want to do is become an apologist for the absence of
a comprehensive, user-friendly film heritage and promotion policy in
Japan. Still, I think it will help us to be more precise in our
discussion, especially if the important issues that Mark Roberts
raises are to be pursued in an organized way.
For one, we need to distinguish the Japan Foundation's holdings from
those of a film archive. We'd do better to compare the National Film
Center in Kyobashi, rather than the Japan Foundation, with
institutions like the BFI. Instead, the Japan Foundation, which has
been incredibly supportive for particular projects organized and
enjoyed by listmembers and at other times silent at best, needs to be
understood for what it is: a branch of the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs. In this regard, we might compare its efforts to other
overseas promotional agencies. I can think, on the one hand, of
aggressive government-funded film=specific promotional projects such
as KOFIC, the Korean Film Council which recently opened its own
overseas office in Los Angeles. On the other, we have the example of
Taiwan's Economic and Cultural Offices--Although TECO had been
equipping its local offices with 16 mm collections of Taiwanese films
from the New Wave on, it seems that that program was cut in at least
some regions and local universities found themselves the recipients
of 16 mm taiwanese bounty--but the broader film-culture promotional
mission had ended.
Also, it's not quite fair to say that the Bunka-cho has been
completely MIA. Limited it may be, I can recall at least one project
in which the Bunka-cho has been proactive; it collaborated with Image
Forum to sponsor a number of Japanese film promotional projects in
Korea, screening materials from the period when Japanese cultural
imports were banned. I know there are more.
Thanks, though, to Mark for pushing us to engage this issue. I'd be
really interested in hearing what people want ... for whom are
services expected? scholars? programmers? general audiences? Each
demands a different kind of support.
I suspect many have noticed that Prime Minister Fukuda is stepping
down; it looks increasingly likely that Aso Taro will become the new
PM. With his reported fondness for manga, can we hope for more
general support of Japanese popular culture?
Jonathan M. Hall
Comparative Literature/ Film & Media Studies
University of California Irvine
Irvine CA 92697-2651 USA
On 3 Sep 2008, at 17:19, Mark D. Roberts wrote:
> On Sep 3, 2008, at 10:32 PM, Aaron Gerow wrote:
>> But many in the Japanese film industry these days are ignorant and
>> short-sighted, only looking at the money in front of their faces
>> and not thinking of long-term ways of building up their business.
>> It is quite frustrating dealing with such people who don't
>> understand their business or care much about movies.
> If the production companies have proven themselves to be
> intransigent, shouldn't the issue be taken to a higher level?
> Why, for example, does the Ministry of Culture claim to promote
> Japan as "a culture-oriented country", "the maintenance and
> establishment of cultural facilities", "international cultural
> exchange; designation of national treasures, important cultural
> properties", etc., and yet they seem to be completely MIA in this
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