Japanese Cinema and Otherness : Nationalism, Multiculturalism and the Problem of Japaneseness book cover
1st Edition

Japanese Cinema and Otherness
Nationalism, Multiculturalism and the Problem of Japaneseness


Mika Ko

ISBN 9780415689571
Published July 27, 2011 by Routledge
240 Pages 9 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Over the last 20 years, ethnic minority groups have been increasingly featured in Japanese Films. However, the way these groups are presented has not been a subject of investigation. This study examines the representation of so-called Others – foreigners, ethnic minorities, and Okinawans – in Japanese cinema. By combining textual and contextual analysis, this book analyses the narrative and visual style of films of contemporary Japanese cinema in relation to their social and historical context of production and reception.

Mika Ko considers the ways in which ‘multicultural’ sentiments have emerged in contemporary Japanese cinema. In this respect, Japanese films may be seen not simply to have ‘reflected’ more general trends within Japanese society but to have played an active role in constructing and communicating different versions of multiculturalism. In particular, the book is concerned with how representations of ‘otherness’ in contemporary Japanese cinema may be identified as reinforcing or subverting dominant discourses of ‘Japaneseness’. the author book also illuminates the ways in which Japanese films have engaged in the dramatisation and elaboration of ideas and attitudes surrounding contemporary Japanese nationalism and multiculturalism.

By locating contemporary Japanese cinema in a social and political context, Japanese Cinema and Otherness makes an original contribution to scholarship on Japanese film study but also to bridging the gap between Japanese studies and film studies.

Table of Contents

Part 1: Nationalism, Multiculturalism and the Problem of Japaneseness  1. Nationalism, Multiculturalism and the Problem of Japaneseness  2. ‘Cosmetic’ Multiculturalism and Contemporary Japanese Cinema  Part 2: Okinawa  3. Okinawa – Modern History and Issues of Identity  4. Representing Okinawa: Contesting Images in Japanese Cinema  Part 3: Zainichi  5. Zainichi – History, Identities, and Politics  6. Representing Zainichi: Victim, Clown, and Super-Cool Hero

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Mika Ko is a lecturer at the School of East-Asian Studies, University of Sheffield in England. Her research interests are in Japanese cinema and East-Asian cinema more generally.