Graduate Seminar in Japanese Cinema and Visual Culture

Takuya Tsunoda

In this course, we will examine a series of key writings on cinema and visual culture in Japan from the 1910s to the late 1960s. Major topics will include: 

  1. Cinema and its technology/technics (sound, color, and film form) 
  2. Cinema and its intersection with politics and aesthetics (Marxism and the Proletarian Film Movement, cinematic realism, colonialism, Third Worldism, and Japanese New Wave) 
  3. The articulations of cinema in broader intellectual, technological, socio-cultural, and institutional discourse (film education, documentary, and bunka eiga) 

In an attempt to explore the transitional position of cinema and media culture in Japanese cultural history, the course also critically approaches contact points between cinema, theater (especially shingeki), literature, photography, and television. All mandatory readings each week will be primary sources in Japanese, and additional scholarly and/or theoretical writings in English will also be assigned or provided for reference.