the eerie silence on KineJapan is maddening!

Don Brown ryuganji at
Fri Mar 18 01:25:08 EDT 2011


The person who made the remark (at least have the guts to say his name) made
it on his personal Twitter account, not on a shared forum such as Kinejapan.
If you have a problem with it, why not take it up with him directly, instead
of cowardly posting your opinions here?

With all due respect,

Don Brown

2011/3/18 Frederick Veith <notreconciled at>

> With all due respect to the person who made this remark on one of
> those Twitter accounts, and recognition of the difficulty of
> communicating nuanced positions in 140 characters, comments like "When
> expats who fled slowly come back do we get eternal ball-busting
> rights?" are no more constructive than fear-mongering in the American
> media. There are a lot of legitimate points that can be made about
> panic and reasoned analysis of the potential and actual risks, but the
> last thing anyone struggling to make such determinations for
> themselves in the face of incomplete and contradictory information
> needs is self-righteous condescension. I'm completely secure in my
> decision to exercise caution with regard to my two year old daughter
> who is much more vulnerable at much lower levels of exposure than I
> am, and who doesn't need to suffer the hardship of potential shortages
> or other infrastructural problems that might arise if and when the
> situation deteriorates. Maybe I'm making too much of an offhand
> remark, but I think it's important to be respectful in the face of a
> very difficult situation of other people's reasoned choices about how
> to look after their own welfare and those they love. Let's try to keep
> in mind Akihito's entreaty that we all treat each other with
> compassion.
> On Fri, Mar 18, 2011 at 12:55 PM, Martin Vieillot <eigagogo at>
> wrote:
> > for info, you have informative Twitter accounts from some well-informed
> KineJapaner's based in Japan:
> >!/jgtokyo
> >!/matteoboscarol
> >!/ryuganji
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > ----- Mail Original -----
> > De: ReelDrew at
> > À: KineJapan at
> > Envoyé: Vendredi 18 Mars 2011 04h26:02 GMT +01:00 Amsterdam / Berlin /
> Berne / Rome / Stockholm / Vienne
> > Objet: 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
> >
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