Japanese Cinema from Multiple Perspectives

            We invite you to a globally decentralized virtual live symposium on Japanese Cinema to mark the publication of The Japanese Cinema Book (BFI Publishing, 2020) and Routledge Handbook of Japanese Cinema (Routledge, 2020). In six thematically organized workshops featuring a total of twenty-seven speakers from multiple continents, we provide a timely and expansive discussion of the dynamic field of Japanese cinema today with a view to raising productive and critical questions on the field's future.

            To embrace the translocality that we understand to be at the heart of the field, all talks will be available in English and Japanese via simultaneous interpretation. The timetable itself is experimental, with our attempt to make the event globally accessible in as many time zones as feasibly possible: all six sessions will take place "live" from 5th to 7th March, although they will be experienced in different times of the day depending on the location. Finally, a concurrent student-curated virtual film series will offer a nonverbal counterpoint to the talks. The films will be available to stream from 1st to 13th March.

            The Japanese Cinema Book presents a set of new perspectives on Japanese film, ranging from renowned directors to neglected popular genres such as the film musical and encompassing topics such as ecology, spectatorship, home-movies, colonial history and relations with Hollywood and Europe. The Routledge Handbook of Japanese Cinema charts a longue durée history of moving images from pre-cinema to post-cinema media, recasting traditional questions of authorship, genre, and industry in the broad conceptual frameworks of gender, archival studies, media theory, and neoliberalism. In the thematically regrouped sessions of this symposium, authors from both volumes will each take ten minutes to briefly introduce their chapters and raise questions to facilitate and provoke further debate and exploration for the joint Q&A that follow. Many of the sessions feature graduate student presenters who will bring fresh voices from outside the two books.

            As cinema as a whole extends from the site-specific experience of the movie theater (and cine clubs, campus screenings, and home viewings) toward the non-site-specific cinematic experience of digital platforms and devices, the point of discussing Japanese cinema appears to be less in placing it within the correct framework than in rediscovering it within various new constellations as part of an expansive media environment. The COVID-19 pandemic furthermore urges us to reconsider how screen media may manage crisis, alter world views, and travel in changing global formations (Keidl and Melarned 2020; Parks and Walker 2020; Zimmermann 2020). It is our hope that this symposium will serve as an occasion for everyone who is interested in Japanese cinema and screen culture in general to find innovative ideas and critical visions as we witness and take part in the ongoing re-assembling of the world.

Venue: Online

Time: see the timetable referring to the time in Japan, Europe and North America respectively

Language: English-Japanese Simultaneous Interpretation