Is it possible to talk about “transnational” when we talk about Japanese cinema? If it is, how? It is true that there are problems in the concept of national cinema. We all know by now that: 1) there has been an essentialist tendency in postwar film criticism and film studies that emphasizes the difference of “Japanese cinema” compared to Hollywood, and 2) “Japanese cinema” cannot be easily regarded as a national cinema in the sense that it reflects a putative national culture. But I must stress that criticizing the concept of national cinema is not equal to bringing in transnational cinema as an alternative. Instead of applying the notion of transnational as a panacean alternative to national cinema, I think it is more productive to discuss specific tensions between national and transnational in the history of Japanese cinema.
Transnational, national cinema, transcultural mimesis, trans-Asian cinema, translocal imagination.
(Daisuke Miyao is Professor and the Hajime Mori Chair in Japanese Language and Literature at the University of California, San Diego. Miyao is the author of Cinema Is a Cat: A Cat Lover’s Introduction to Film Studies (University of Hawai’i Press, 2019), The Aesthetics of Shadow: Lighting and Japanese Cinema (Duke University Press, 2013), and Sessue Hayakawa: Silent Cinema and Transnational Stardom (Duke University Press, 2007). He is also the editor of The Oxford Handbook of Japanese Cinema (2014) and the co-editor of Transnational Cinematography Studies (2017) with Lindsay Coleman and Roberto Schaefer. Miyao’s forthcoming book, Japonisme and the Birth of Cinema, is under contract with Duke University Press.)
How can we talk about ‘transnational’ when we talk about Japanese cinema?
In: Journal of Japanese and Korean Cinema 11,2 (2019), pp. 109-116.
[Special Section: New Approaches to Japanese Cinema]
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