Our Cinema, Our Selves: Understanding Postwar Japan Through Film

Third Thursday Lectures
Thursday 20 Dec 2018 | 6pm

Weston Room, Cathedral Hostry, Norwich NR1 4DH.

Dr Jennifer Coates
Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures

About the Talk

We might think of audiences as central to cinema. Yet Japanese film history tends to focus on directors, stars, studios, and scripts. In the 1940s and 1950s, the peak period of cinema attendance and film production in Japan, film critics regularly wrote about audiences, and studios ran studies to find out who was going to the cinema and why. However, this approach has fallen out of fashion in Japan today.

This lecture will show how we can use the British Cultural Studies methods developed to study UK cinema history in order to understand more about Japanese cinema audiences, and the role of cinema in Japanese everyday life. Focusing on the memories of the postwar cinema audience (1945-1975), this lecture presents a study of historic viewership experiences in the Kansai region of Western Japan, conducted using anthropological methods including interviews, questionnaire surveys, and participant observation. Using this kind of hybrid method, we can collect viewers’ memories of the peak period of film-going in Japan, and understand more about the feelings and emotions around the cinema, as well as the historical era itself. In this way, we can enrich industry-focused reception studies of Japanese viewership by considering the historical context of the period and the emotions of its audiences.

About the Speaker

Dr Jennifer Coates is a Senior Lecturer at Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures. Her research interests include gender, popular culture, audience, and memory studies. She is the author of Making Icons: Repetition and the Female Image in Japanese Cinema, 1945-1964 (Hong Kong University Press, 2016).

About the Third Thursday Lecture Series

The Third Thursday Lectures hosted by the Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures are on a range of topics related to the art and culture of Japan. Talks begin at 6pm (50-minute lecture followed by refreshments). Speakers are all specialists in their field and the talks are intended to be accessible to those with no prior knowledge of Japanese history.
Admission is free and all are welcome. Booking essential. To book your seat, please go to the booking form or email the Sainsbury Institute.

Image: Cinema audience, Osaka, 1953

Future Lectures

17 January 2019, 6pm
Avant-Garde Calligraphy between Postwar Japan, Europe and the United States *
Dr Eugenia Bogdanova-Kummer
Lecturer in Japanese Arts, Culture and Heritage, Sainsbury Institute
Book here
*Please note change of speaker and topic from original advertising

21 February 2019, 6pm
Mermaids and Snow Crystals in the Great Chain of Being
Dr Mateja Kovacic
British Academy Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Nissan Institute of Japanese Studies, University of Oxford
Book here

The Third Thursday Lecture series is funded by the Gatsby Charitable Foundation, the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation and Yakult.

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