We have recently seen a growing number of works that aimed at a broader and renewed understanding of the new cinemas of the 1960's in Japan, with more complex accounts of the historical, geographical, and geopolitical trajectory of the Japanese New Wave. Ongoing investigations have largely ascribed its rise to Oshima Nagisa, the central figure in the publicity-driven phenomenon known as the “Shōchiku Nouvelle Vague” (Nūberu Bāgu). Amidst these new scholarly texts, there are still a series of theoretical and historical/historiographical questions that have remained under-explored: where did the Japanese New Wave come from, and what actually constituted it? How did the emergence of the new cinema intersect with larger media, social, and intellectual history? Did the cinematic medium have to be radicalized in order to become ‘new’? How was such ‘newness’ visualized, accousticized, and registered by other sensory cues in the cinema? How was the emergence of the new cinema in dialogue with institutions? Placing films in the contexts of the era’s media-scape, this course will delve into an analytical reconsideration of this rich period of Japanese cinema specifically from the perspective of the Japanese New Wave. While we will aim to capture the exhilaration of the Japanese New Wave by closely analyzing existing studies on some of its key makers and their works, special attention will be given to what has been left out of the category as it is conventionally understood, such as educational and industrial films.
All required readings are in English. Participants with reading ability in Japanese will be asked to take on additional readings in Japanese and present on them in class.