Decentering Theory: Reconsidering the History of Japanese Film Theory 


Decentering Theory: Reconsidering the History of Japanese Film Theory. Issue 22 of the Review of Japanese Culture and Society (December 2010)

This is a special issue of the Review of Japanese Culture and Society that I guest edited. It is the first publication in a non-Japanese language dedicated to considering the rich and varied history of Japanese film theory. It presents both translations of some of the major works and scholarly analyses of those theorists and their historical contributions to film thought. A major theme throughout the issue is the unique problem of how to approach and define film theory in Japan.

Thinkers represented include Nakai Masakazu, Hasumi Shigehiko, Yoshida Kiju (Yoshishige), Imamura Taihei, Gonda Yasunosuke, Sato Tadao, Kitada Akihiro, and Nakamura Hideyuki, with works ranging in era from 1914 to 2011. They all focus on questions of the status of cinema and how to approach it, but other topics broached include animation, early cinema, mediation, spectatorship, documentary, meaning, and Ozu Yasujiro. A translation of one of Akutagawa Ryunosuke's "film scripts" is also included.

This is the first of a series of works I am producing on Japanese film theory.

Table of Contents:

Aaron Gerow, Introduction: The Theory Complex

Sato Tadao, Does Film Theory Exist in Japan?
(translated by Joanne Bernardi)

Gonda Yasunosuke, The Principles and Applications of the Moving Pictures (Excerpts)
(translated by Aaron Gerow)

Aaron Gerow, The Process of Theory: Reading Gonda Yasunosuke and Early Film Theory

Imamura Taihei, A Theory of the Animated Sound Film
(translated by Michael Baskett)

Imamura Taihei, A Theory of Film Documentary
(translated by Michael Baskett)

Irie Yoshiro, Approaching Imamura Taihei: Film Theory and Originality
(translated by Phil Kaffen)

Nakai Masakazu, Film Theory and the Crisis in Contemporary Aesthetics
(translated by Phil Kaffen)

Kitada Akihiro, An Assault on “Meaning”: On Nakai Masakazu’s Concept of “Mediation”
(translated by Alex Zahlten)

Yoshida Kiju, My Theory of Film: A Logic of Self-Negation
(translated by Patrick Noonan)

Patrick Noonan, The Alterity of Cinema: Subjectivity, Self-Negation, and Self-Realization in
Yoshida Kiju’s Film Criticism

Ryan Cook, Hasumi Shigehiko and Film Theory

Nakamura Hideyuki, Ozu, or On the Gesture
(translated by Kendall Heitzman)

Akutagawa Ryunosuke, Asakusa Park: A Certain Film Script
(translated by Kyoko Selden)

The Review of Japanese Culture and Society is published by Josai University in Japan. Single issues can only be purchased through Josai at a price of $20.00 (US). Click here for details. You can also access it on JSTOR here

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