the eerie silence on KineJapan is maddening!

faith faithbach at
Fri Mar 18 06:32:53 EDT 2011

MJ, don't apologize, your postings on k-j are always level-headed & informative.
yes, i think it would be nice to meet next week.  perhaps you would like to come to kyoto instead?  there are several very special temple gardens where i go for healing, maybe it would be good for you to sit in one.  it's so lovely & quiet here, and there are monks collecting money on the street for the EQ, so you could bring lots of thousand-yen notes for all their baskets.  
i am still up ("up" is perhaps too strong a word... "functional"?) for the museum, but after having looked at where it is, a bit worried about taking the JR out there. the JR schedule between here & there is severely screwed up at the best of times, and who knows what effects the shinkansen, etc, will be having on it.  is there another way for me to go, via hankyu?
anyhow, let's meet.  i confess i finally lost it today and had a long weep about Mr Hiratsuka, so it would be good to do something reasonably normal with another human being.  we could meet halfway in osaka, if you like, and trawl thru' Ogino cinemabooks then have a meal?  nice mexican restaurant i know in that area.  gee whiz, we can't do stuff like this while we're working, a shame not to do it now!  (smiley face here under normal circumstances.)  
think about it.  it would be nice to see you.  only day next week that's difficult for me is thursday 24th, all others open at the moment.  depending on circumstances, as you say...

--- On Fri, 2011/3/18, Maria Jose Gonzalez <tkarsavina at> wrote:

Well put,I only added my frivolous NFC reference to create a buffer in what I perceived was going to be a barrage of angry stuff about foreigners leaving or staying.I so wish there was something I could do to help the victims...All I can do is show how things are from another perspective and give more information about Japan.I am surprised-or maybe not- at how little people really know about this country.Do you think meeting next week would be a good idea?
Depending on how things develop,of course.

Maria Jose

--- On Fri, 18/3/11, faith <faithbach at> wrote:

From: faith <faithbach at>
Subject: Re: the eerie silence on KineJapan is maddening!
To: KineJapan at
Date: Friday, 18 March, 2011, 6:55 PM

Ayako, you do NOT have to apologize for your posting!!  Most of the people I know in Japan outside the immediate danger zone, myself included, have trouble getting out of their chairs to make themselves a cup of tea, let alone concern themselves with NFC.  We walk into walls and leave the TV-remote in the refrigerator.  I have been told these are symptoms of severe depression. What have we got to be depressed about?, those of you abroad might ask.  Try looking at the front page of today's Daily Yomiuri, whereon Mr Y Hiratsuka, 66, sits weeping in the snow in Miyagi over the frozen corpses of his wife and mother.  (His son has not been found.)  The SDF is too short-handed to remove any corpses, so Mr Hiratsuka leaves his shelter every morning to pray over them where they lie.  Certainly we all agree that cultural heritage is a high priority. But those of us living on this island have a few other things, at the moment, to do with our time, as Prof Berry
 has so articulately pointed out.  When we are not doing these things, we are wandering around wondering where we left the remote.  So I'm afraid Mr Drew's erudite posting about his personal committment to Japanese cinema will have to wait until my concentration improves to the point that I can fully appreciate reading it.  It may be some time.
FB, Kyoto    
--- On Fri, 2011/3/18, frannyandzoey at <frannyandzoey at> wrote:

Immediately after I sent my previous post, I regretted. For I realized that it could be simply read as a "humanist" plea.  I didn't mean it, I shouldn't have posted it in the first place. I would appreciate if you could please ignore my sentimental posting.


> -----元のメッセージ-----
> 差出人: "shota ogawa" <shota.ogawa at>
> 受取人: "KineJapan at" <KineJapan at>
> 日付: 11/03/18 15:38
> 件名: Re: the eerie silence on KineJapan is maddening!
> Sometimes, it is difficult to respond so spontaneously. The more implicated you are in the situation in Japan, it's difficult to translate the feelings into critical writing. Remember how long it took for leftist Americans to be able to start writing about 9/11 without feeling like you're risking your 
> posiition, or alienating the masses. If Kine-Japan has been silent, I'd take that as a sign of just how much "implicated" people feel in the crisis. Perhpas it is now time to use our critical faculty to start challenging the worrying trend of "ethiccal" totalitarianism (perhaps it is enough to mention the cruelty of turning the inhumane work condition of the Tepco workers into humanist "heroic" stories), but 
> I'd say it is a political choice to determine the right time to launch this.a confused thought, no doubt, but I needed to posit this anti-intellectual response.shota2011/3/18  <frannyandzoey at>
> I just wanted to say that things are really horrifying and devastating in the northern regions which are affected directly by the earthquake and tsunami, but in Tokyo things are basically fine and normal given the present impeding circumstances. �Of course, one can make oneself panicked by fearing about a possible nuclear power plant disaster like Chernobyl, or another big earthquake but most Japanese are calmly watching the situation, praying for the people working hard in directly dealing with the situation, those who themselves or their families are affected by the earthquake. Many foreigners who live in Tokyo have fled from Tokyo to safer areas, which is totally understandable, but makes me feel a little distant.
> I don't think the NFC and its archive have been damaged by the quake. I checked the website and they're going to be closed till the 18th due to electricity shortage, not the damage, I think. Their buildings are rather newly built after the big fire in the 1980s, so they are supposed to be well equipped and prepared to hold the tremor of Japanese scale 5, if not magnitude 9.0.
> It took me a week to actually take a look at this mailing list. It's just the way it is when one is experiencing a disaster like this, and I am not even affected, unlike those who have to live in the shelters with shortage of food, heat in the snowy cold weather, fear of radiation disaster, on top of everything, let alone having instantly deprived of their homes and loved ones... All they have is nothing but debts or mortgage of a house or a tractor that no longer exists or whatever they lost. �But still many of them appreciate concerns and thoughts from people all over the world.
> Yes, we could definitely use a little compassion and generosity.
> Ayako Saito
> Tokyo
> > -----元のメッセージ-----
> > 差出人: "ReelDrew at" <ReelDrew at>
> > 受取人: "KineJapan at" <KineJapan at>
> > 日付: 11/03/18 12:26
> > 件名: the eerie silence on KineJapan is maddening!
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > �
> > I have been a member of KineJapan for the last ten years. I joined
> > originally out of a need to obtain translations of the intertitles of Japanese
> > silents on VHS in my collection. I am very grateful to those members on
> > KineJapan who aided me and made it possible for me to, among other things, write
> > an article on Hiroshi Shimizu that is published on Midnight Eye.
> > �
> > Since then, I have regularly received almost daily the messages that have
> > been posted here. In all honesty, a large number--perhaps the majority, in
> > fact--have been of limited interest to me inasmuch as they tend to deal with
> > contemporary Japanese films. Consistent with my enthusiasm for films in other
> > countries, including my own, produced in�earlier decades, it is my interest
> > in the Japanese cinema of the past, especially the films of the 1920s and 1930s,
> > that has been of consuming interest to me. Nevertheless, from time to time
> > issues involving those golden years do come up here.
> > �
> > However, whether or not the topic has been of particular interest to me, I
> > have always valued the fact that KineJapan has always been there, an
> > extremely�valuable resource to be consulted when needed. Never before since
> > I've been here did this group shut down. Certainly, it was very active right
> > through the events of 9/11 as were other film discussion groups in which I
> > participated.
> > �
> > Since the tragic events that began a week ago, though, this place has
> > suddenly turned into a ghost town. Aside from a very limited amount of posts
> > specifically on the topic of the tsunami, there has been absolutely nothing
> > here. No one has even bothered to post how things are going on in Tokyo, while
> > all sorts of wild, apocalyptic rumors circulate unchecked in the US that Tokyo
> > is about to become irradiated, that it�may be�doomed. I believe a few
> > welcome posts here from knowledgeable people in the Japanese capital might help
> > to clarify the situation and perhaps alleviate some of these fears.
> > �
> > I have had a consuming obsession with early Japanese cinema for the last 36
> > years. In trying to interest people in the West in this topic and to recognize
> > the value of Japanese films from those years, I have long had to confront an
> > enormous amount of indifference and insensitivity to these achievements by too
> > many in America and elsewhere in the outside world. It has taken so long to
> > bring attention to these films here. Indeed, it was only this January that the
> > premier venue for classic cinema in the United States, Turner Classic Movies,
> > after being on the air for 17 years, finally presented three Japanese
> > silents--Ozu's famous masterpieces, "Tokyo Chorus," "I Was Born, But. . .," and
> > "Passing Fancy." So it is only very recently that this neglected period of
> > Japanese film is just starting to receive some recognition here.
> > �
> > Given this obession of mine, I would very much like to know how the
> > archives and other collections of Japanese cinema are coping with the current
> > crisis in Tokyo. Are they able to function normally in their work of
> > preservation considering the power blackouts etc.? If there really should be an
> > evacuation of the capital, has there been discussion of removing films and other
> > cultural treasures from Tokyo to Kyoto, a much safer city and which I personally
> > feel should be restored to the position of Japan's capital?
> > �
> > As to whether now is the proper time to discuss the preservation of culture
> > in view of the terrible loss of life and the continuing threat, I believe that,
> > far from being at odds or incompatible, the preservation of human life and
> > humanity's cultural heritage are inseparable. The heroic people of Egypt have
> > shown all of us the way recently in this area. During a time of turmoil in which
> > a corrupt, discredited dictatorship was attempting to hang on to power by
> > employing ruthless methods against the protestors, demonstrators courageously
> > appeared to form human chains around the Library in Alexandria and the Egyptian
> > Museum in Cairo to protect these treasures of our history. I would hope that,
> > should it ever�become necessary, a similar sense of cultural responsibility
> > will be demonstrated in other countries, including Japan. The heritage of Japan,
> > including its film history, is the common property not just of one country but
> > indeed, the legacy of all the people of the earth.
> > �
> > In all those non-Western countries that the West chose to lump together as
> > "Oriental," for much of the 20th century the four most significant in terms of
> > creating outstanding cinemas in the first half of the last century were Japan,
> > China, India, and Egypt. This preeminence in the new art of film was emblematic
> > of these nations' continuing cultural leadership in the modern world. In terms
> > of documenting and preserving the national film heritage, however, Egypt under
> > the Mubarak regime was scandalous. The Egyptian film archive was by far the
> > worst run in the entire world, mismanaged by members of Mubarak's family. So
> > neglected was the state of the archive that it was a common sight to see rats
> > crawling out of cans of film in the vaults. The situation with the Egyptian
> > archive was thus symptomatic of the larger ills afflicting the society under the
> > corrupt regime that ruled Egypt for thirty years. Needless to say, with the
> > present rebirth of Egypt through revolution there is a far greater hope that the
> > glories of Egyptian cinema from its bright beginnings in the silent era to
> > the�achievements of later decades will be at last properly preserved.
> > �
> > While the infrastructure of Japan including its archives can hardly compare
> > to�its counterparts in Egypt in the Mubarak years, there has nevertheless
> > been a steady decline in Japan in the two decades since the economic bubble
> > burst in the early 1990s.�Egypt is now�trying to recover from a social
> > disaster, Japan from a natural one exacerbated, it seems, by a variant of the
> > same corruption and cronyism that�long afflicted Egypt. I think Japan, like
> > Egypt, will need to transform itself anew, but as with Egypt, that
> > transformation must be solidly based on the preservation and dissemination of
> > past achievements including�a glorious legacy of early cinema.
> > Consequently,�in addition to my general concern at the eerie silence that
> > has suddenly taken over KineJapan, as though all its members have been struck
> > dumb, I would in particular like to know how the film archives and other
> > institutions consecrated to�cinema history in Japan are faring during the
> > present crisis.
> > �
> > William M. Drew�
> > �
> >
> -- ----------------------------------------Shota OgawaPh.D. StudentGraduate Program in Visual and Cultural Studies424 Morey HallUniversity of Rochester
> Rochester, NY 14627Eastman-eiga (Japanese)OnFilm Project (English)----------------------------------------

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