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Film Studies: National Cinemas

This guide highlights selected resources for various national cinemas.

Introduction to Japanese cinema

Films were first shown in Japan in the late 1890s, with displays of the Edison Kinetoscope in 1896 and the Lumières’ Cinématographe in 1897. By the turn of the 20th century, local cameramen were shooting trick films (for example Shinin no sosei/Resurrection of a Corpse, 1898), scenes from Kabuki plays (Momijigari/Viewing Scarlet Maple Leaves, Tsunekichi Shibata, 1899)), and actualities. Japan’s first purpose-built cinema opened in 1903, and local production began in earnest in 1905 with the outbreak of the Russo-Japanese War. Three years later, the first film studio opened, and by 1912 the industry had expanded to the extent that four of the largest studios consolidated themselves into a trust, Nikkatsu. A distinctive feature of Japanese cinema culture in these years was the benshi, a lecturer who narrated and explained films to audiences during screenings.  ...

Kuhn, A., & Westwell, G. (2020). Japan, film in. In A Dictionary of Film Studies. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 16 May. 2021

Searching the online catalog

There may be several subject headings you can use to find resources in the online catalog. The most direct subject heading is listed below. The call number range is also included.

Introductory reading(s)

Selected book title(s)

Finding journal articles

Articles and other writings about Japanese film can be found in many publications. Our collection does not include any journal titles which look exclusively at Japanese film. You can use Film & Television Literature Index to find articles or use the search box at the top of the page.

Selected movie titles

Find more Japanese title films in the library's online catalog.

Keeping up with the journal literature

Want an easy way to keep up with the journal literature for a national or regional cinema? And you use a mobile device? You can install the BrowZine app and create a custom Bookshelf of your favorite journal titles. Then you will get the Table of Contents (ToCs) of your favorite journals automatically delivered to you when they become available. Once you have the ToC's you can download and read the articles you want.

You can get the app from the App Store or Google Play.

Don't own or use a mobile device? You can still use BrowZine! It's now available in a web version. You can get to it here. The web version works the same way as the app version. Find the journals you like, create a custom Bookshelf, get ToCs and read the articles you want.