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Title: An Invitation to Travel The Marketing and Reception of Japanese Film in the West 1950-1975
Author: Ulfsdotter, Boel
ISNI:       0000 0001 3540 8266
Current Institution: University of Reading
Date of Award: 2008
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An Invitation to Travel- The Image of Japanese Film in the West 1950-1975 is a reception study which presents the events and efforts that characterize the reception of Japanese film in France, Great Britain and the United States, after World War Two. Chapter One presents the research questions informing this study and discusses the historically located Western cultural concepts involved such as the aesthetics of art 1 cinema, Japonisme, and the notion of'Japaneseness'. The argumentation as such is based on the presumption of a still prevailing Orientalist discourse at the time. The thesis discusses the Japanese film industry's need to devise a new strategy of doing export business with the West in relation to the changed postwar context in Chapter Two. The preparations on the part of the Japanese to distribute their films in the West through different modes of transnational publicity are in focus here, from introductory 'film weeks', to marketing vehicles such as UnUapan Film Quarterly, and the first Western books on Japanese film history. The thesis then proceeds to deal with the groundbreaking introduction of this first non-occidental national cinema from four different angles; exhibition (Chapter Three), critical reception (Chapter Four), publicity (Chapter Five) and canon formation (Chapter Six). Chapter Three looks into the history ofWestern exhibition ofJapanese film in the countries involved in this study and identifies divergent attitudes between institutional and commercial screenings. It also locates possible changes in exhibition policy over time. Chapter Four establishes the main players in the critical reception ofJapanese cinema in the West and examines national divergences in attitude towards this 'new' national cinema. In order to do so, it necessarily discusses the development of Western auteurism in the late 1950s, and its effect on the film periodicals in the countries involved. Chapter Five presents an alternative venue of research through the image of Japanese cinema induced by Western poster design. It explores Western responses based on concepts involving Japonisme and national stereotypes in both commercial (capitalistic) and non-commercial (communist) aesthetic contexts. Chapter Six explores the history of canon formation and the evaluation of Japanese film in the West. The thesis argues that the extant Western canon on Japanese film is inconclusive and that it could be exchanged, in part, for at least three other versions of the same national cinema, enough to make the current image of Western postwar Japanese film history seem utterly unsatisfactory. . The conclusion in Chapter Seven presents the outcome of the effects of exhibition, critical reception and publicity, as well as the trajectory of canon formation in the previous chapters. By looking back again at its components, this study indicates several areas that warrant further research in order to extend the existing Western conceptualization ofJapanese film history.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available