About Japanese culture, movies, literature and more
“[Battles proves to be] one of the most gripping and enthralling yakuza narratives ever made [and lets the spectator] enjoy the struggles [beyond any kind of heriosm] of the warring yakuza families of post-war Hiroshima”
If one hears or reads the name of Kinji Fukasaku (深作欣二, 1930–2003), one irresistibly associates it with yakuza eiga – even though he tried his hand at other genres like the jidai-geki genre and ended his career with grossly entertaining Battle Royal (2000). The association with yakuza-eiga is, of course, no surprise at all. When, in the seventies, the popularity of the Toei’s formulaic ninkyô eiga [chivalry eiga] started to decline, it was the realistic approach, an approach he already used in the sixties, of Battles withouthonour and humanity that pioneered the Jitsuroku eiga sub-genre[actual record films].
Even though Yosuke Fujita’s first film success dates from 1986, when he won the grand prize in the 8mm Torino Film festival with “Tora”, audiences had to wait till 2008 before he would release his first full-length feature film. During those “empty” years Fujita-san worked at the Otona keikaku, a comedy troupe founded by Suzuki Matsuo – another notable name originating from this troupe is Kankuro Kudo.
Next up in our trip through Japanese erotic photography is the female photographer Maki Miyashita (宮下 マキ), who was born in 1975 in Kagoshima, Kyushu. Even though she started studying film at the Kyoto college of Art, her interest shifted to photography while working a part-time job at a film processing lab in Kyoto. After graduation, she began working as a professional photographer besides pursuing her interest in documentary photography.
Very early in her career, 1997 to be precise, she conceived the idea of her award-winning Rooms and Underwear [部屋と下着] photography project. Continue reading →
In our previous article, we introduced Nihonjinron, a pseudo-scientific and political discourse concerned with corroborating the homogeneity and uniqueness of Japanese culture. This time, we shift our interest from this particular political discourse to explain some more theory about discourse, the Other, and culture.
“The light shines only there shows powerfully the difficulty as well as the power that is to be found in human relations and underlines, that, in fact, the light shines only there”
Despite having only directed four cinematographical products – Sakai-ke no shiawase (2006) being her first, and a segment in Quirky Guys and Gals(2011), The Light Shines Only There (2014), her third full-length feature, cemented Mipo O’s reputation as one of the most promising directors in Japan. Reason enough for Psycho-cinematography to review this narrative closely from a psychoanalytic perspective and see whether The Light Shines Only There (2014) truly deserves all the recognition it has received.
To set the tone of this series of articles straight away: the Japanese culture does not exist. Despite many ‘scientific’ attempts, all under the banner of nihonjinron, to describe and prove the uniqueness of Japanese culture and its people, there is no unique Japanese essence, passed on from time immemorial, that units each and every Japanese subject. The idea that there is something like such essence is no more than a fiction, an imaginary narrative construction. By categorizing the Japanese essence as a narrative construction, we imply that there is a constructing force behind this fiction, this nihonjinron.
In this first article, we want to introduce nihonjinron in general terms. In future articles we aim to get a deeper understanding of this nihonjinron, to explain the aspects of construction, and to underline the fictionality of any nationalism.