Japanese Cinema (PG)

Key information

Start date
End date
Term 2
Module code
FHEQ Level
Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures

Module overview

The module is designed to offer a critical overview of Japanese cinema, and its progression from the beginning to the present day. It will be looking at how actors and directors are involved in the industry.

Objectives and learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student will be able to:

  • Demonstrate a clear and critical knowledge about the discourses present in Japanese cinema.
  • Demonstrate a knowledge about Japanese directors and actors.
  • Demonstrate ability to critically analyse key concepts of cinema: genre, national cinema, narrative cinema using the Japanese context as a model.
  • Apply the theoretical concepts from the core texts to Japanese cinema in an articulate and critical manner.
  • Express and defend positions about cinema both orally and in writing.
  • Develop their own particular research interests independently.


  • Total taught hours: 20 hours. 1 hour of lecture and 1 hour of seminar per week for 10 weeks.
  • Independent study: 130 hours
  • Total hours for module: 150 hours

Scope and syllabus

The syllabus will include a focus on directors and actors active in Japan and topics prevalent in the wider East Asian region. It will similarly introduce some of the core texts and films in relation to Japanese cinema.

Method of assessment

  • Reaction paper (900 words) 25%
  • Essay (2500 words) 75%

Suggested reading

Core Reading

  • Richie, Donald A Hundred Years of Japanese Film.
  • Standish, Isolde A New History of Japanese Cinema: a Century of Narrative Film.
  • Standish, Isolde, Myth and Masculinity in the Japanese Cinema: Towards a Political Reading of the Tragic Hero.
  • Phillips, Alastair & Julian Stringer (eds) Japanese Cinema: Texts and Contexts.
  • Cazdyn, Eric The Flash of Capital: Film and Geopolitics in Japan.
  • Washburn, Dennis & Carole Cavanaugh (eds) Word and Image in Japanese Cinema.
  • Kwok Wah Lau, Jenny (ed) Multiple Modernities: Cinema and Popular Media in Transcultural East Asia.
  • Iwabuchi, Koichi Recentering Globalization: Popular Culture and Japanese Transnationalism.
  • Iwabuchi, Koichi, (ed) Feeling Asian Modernities.
  • Martinez, D.P (ed) The Worlds of Japanese Popular Culture: Gender, Shifting Boundaries and Global Culture.
  • Goodwin, James Akira Kurosawa and Intertexual Cinema.

Additional Reading

  • Galbraith, Stuart The Emperor and the Wolf: the Lives and Films of Akira Kurosawa and Toshiro Mifune.
  • Prince, Stephen The Warrior’s Camera: The Cinema of Akira Kurosawa.
  • Yoshimoto, Mitsuhiro Kurosawa: Film Studies and Japanese Cinema.
  • Mes, Tom Agitator: The Cinema of Takashi Miike.
  • McRoy, Jay (ed) Japanese Horror Cinema.
  • Redmond, Sean (ed) Liquid Metal: the Science Fiction Film Reader.
  • Shin, Chi-Yun & Julian Stringer New Korean Cinema.
  • Napier, Susan J. Anime: From Akira to Howl’s Moving Castle.
  • Bolton, Christopher & Istvan Csicsery-Ronay Jr., Takayuki Tatsumi (eds) Robot Ghosts and Wired Dreams: Japanese Science Fiction from Origins to Anime.
  • Brown, Steven Cinema Anime: Critical Engagements with Japanese Animation.
  • Darzen, Patrick Anime Explosion: The What? Why? And Wow! Of Japanese Animation.
  • Poitras, Gilles The Anime Companion: What’s Japanese in Japanese Animation?
  • Ezra, Elizabeth & Terry Rowden (eds) Transnational Cinema: the Film Reader.
  • Hjort, Mette & Scott MacKenzie (eds) Cinema and Nation.
  • Miller, Toby & Nitin Govil, John McMurria, Richard Maxwell, Ting Wang Global Hollywood 2.
  • Acland, Charles. R Screen Traffic: Movies, Multiplexes, and Global Culture.
  • Goldsmith, Ben & Tom O’Regan The Film Studio: Film Production in the Global Economy.
  • Austin, Thomas Hollywood, Hype and Audiences: Selling and Watching Popular Film in the 1990s.
  • Abercrombie, Nicholas & Brian Longhurst Audiences.


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules.