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Having just booked a trip to Japan for this summer I’ve decided to use it as the perfect opportunity to watch the huge pile of Japanese movies I’ve been slinging into my cupboard for the past 10 years.
Japan’s culture has always been absolutely fascinating to me, particularly their cinematic output – or at least what we can get our hands on in the West. Many of the Japanese films I’ve seen are easily among the most eclectic I’ve seen when it comes to both style and subject matter, and it’s probably the only country where Yakuza, Ninjas, Robots, Monsters, Samurai and Martial Artists appear to be fairly ‘mainstream’ movies.
For the next 6 months I’ll be consuming and reviewing all of the major genres and themes that have defined Japanese cinema on the world stage: 1950s Samurai Epics, J-Horror of the 2000s, 80s/90s Sci-Fi & Cyberpunk, 4 decades of Yakuza flicks, Monster Movies and some of the most bizarre and unique one-off films the country has to offer. The viewing list is fairly big, but a list as varied as: Branded to Kill, Wild Zero, Zatochi, Babycart (Lone Wolf and Cub), Ghost in the Shell, Akira, Ichi the Killer, Seven Samurai, Tokyo Story, Tetsuo: Iron Man, Tokyo Gore Police, Tokyo Decadence, Lady Snowblood, Godzilla – to name but a few.
I’ll also take a look at how Japan (and East Asia) has been portrayed in Western movies over the years, which hasn’t always been positive; bringing to mind things like the fairly racist stereotypes like Mr Yunioshi from Breakfast at Tiffany’s (played by a caucasian – not uncommon), everyone as a Yakuza (Black Rain), student nerds (almost every high-school film), exotic and erotic females and so on. I can barely think of a single Japanese character in a major Hollywood film that wasn’t nerdy / socially inept / over-disciplined / tech savvy / submissive etc.
As always, I’m happy to take on any film suggestions providing I can get my hands on it easily enough. Also happy to team up with other bloggers, publish some guest reviews, collaborations etc – so please get in touch if you’re interested!
Cheers, and I hope you enjoy it.
Current reading: Battle Royale – 13 Assassins – Sukiyaki Western Django – Gozu – The Machine Girl – Survive Style 5+ – Tokyo Zombie – 20th Century Boys – Hana-Bi – Versus
Nice! Have you seen Grave of the Fireflies? I still haven’t because it’s supposed to be heart-wrenching but also very good!
What about Paprika? That would be a good one to watch if you want to watch Inception but if you want it far, far more complex. :)
Cheers dude. Grave of the Fireflies is now on my LoveFilm list, and got my BluRay of Paprika stacked up beside my telly :) Comparing ti to Inception though, setting the bar quite high, can’t wait to check it out.
Awesome! There’s so many great Japanese films, and it sounds like you’re gonna hit a whole mess of good ones. Can’t wait. And culminating in a trip to Japan sounds like an amazing 2013!
Totally, I noticed pretty much all of your recent posts have been japanese too! Can’t wait to head there in the summer.
Was going to get in touch about doing guest posts / review swaps / dual reviews etc if you were interested?
Yeah, I could do a guest review or something. I’ve had Sansho the Bailiff sitting around for roughly a year without watching it, so maybe this would be a good excuse to do that.
Have fun in Japan. It’s a crazy, awesome, fun place to visit.
Fish Story (2009) I’ll say no more :)
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Hadn’t heard of that one before, but it looks right up my street so it’s just been ordered. Thanks for the recommendation.