Call for Papers: Kinema Club Conference on Film and Moving Images from Japan

Kinema Club XV
at Nippon Connection Film Festival in Frankfurt, Germany

Film and Moving Images From Japan NOW – 
Film in the New Media Ecology

Dates: June 5 & 6 
Goethe University Frankfurt / Nippon Connection Film Festival
Deadline for submissions: March 15, 2015

We welcome submissions for the 15th Kinema Club Conference on Film and Moving Images from Japan!

This edition of Kinema Club will be held in conjunction with the Nippon Connection Film Festival, the largest festival for Japanese film, and in cooperation with the Goethe University Frankfurt. Take the opportunity to see over 100 hundred films from Japan and engage with the attending dozens of filmmakers.

This Kinema Club will focus on current film and moving images from Japan. The critical and academic attention paid to current film from Japan has receded since the late 1990s, even as domestic film regained the greater part of the box office in Japan. Meanwhile the environment for film production and distribution has changed dramatically.

In comparison with previous times things may look dark: Arthouse-type theaters such as minitheaters and meigaza are closing by the dozens. Film production in Japan is divided between TV-financed blockbusters and low- to no-budget films, with little middle ground in between. On a global level, Korean drama and cinema have eclipsed the popularity of contemporary Japanese film. But does this perspective really hold?

What kind of approaches do film and other forms of moving images from Japan need today? Do media mix and a transformed media ecology demand new conceptual frameworks and new methodologies? Does it open us up to new periodizations? What are the stakes in thinking about current film and moving images from Japan?

But also more concretely: What kind of films are being made today, what (and how) do they mean? What are the significant works of today, what is it that makes them significant?

We welcome both individual and panel submissions. Generally papers should broadly address at least one of two different themes:

  1. The state of film from Japan today
  2. The state of research on film from Japan today


The conference will be held on June 5 & 6 at the Goethe University Frankfurt

Keynote panel:

A keynote panel will discuss issues concerning current film and moving images from Japan.


Mitsuyo Wada-Marciano (Carleton University), Hikari Hori (Columbia University), Phil Kaffen (New York University), Yuka Kanno (Doshisha University), Alexander Zahlten (Harvard University)

Nippon Connection Film Festival Perks:

Panel participants will have access to a limited number of free tickets for screenings. The festival will assist in setting up interviews with the filmmakers attending Nippon Connection.

Watch films from a selection of over 100 current films from all corners of the Japanese film industry.

Mingle with the dozens of filmmakers from Japan attending the festival.

Attend this year’s retrospective of Somai Shinji films, held in conjunction with the German Film Museum.


Please send abstracts of up to 200 words or any questions to:

Panel submissions should consist of a panel abstract and the respective paper proposals – all of these around 100 words.

Deadline for submissions is March 15, 2015


What is Kinema Club? 

Kinema Club is an informal community of scholars, artists, and fans interested in Japanese moving image media established in the early 1990s. A group that Initially formed for informally swapping Xeroxes of tables of content from Japanese film journals eventually established a newsgroup called KineJapan, which instantly grew to 50 names. KineJapan now has over 600 participants from every part of the world.

From this description you might gather than Kinema Club is more an idea than a group. The idea is that Kinema Club provides a rubric within which anything is possible. No one owns it. Anyone can take it and do something creative with it. We have no dues (and no budget or bank account). No system of introductions. No office. It is amorphous, even anarchic, but it has definitely played an important role in networking all the scholars, programmers and fans interested in Japanese cinema.

One of the most important activities has been our workshops and conferences. At the end of the 1990s, the study of Japanese cinema was undergoing some interesting transformations. Most notably, it was becoming increasingly interdisciplinary. To confront these changes head-on, an intimate workshop was held at the University of Michigan in 1999. One thing became immediately evident: although there were many students and professors studying Japanese film and television, no one really knew each other. KineJapan already had over 200 members at that point, but few people had met face to face. So subsequent workshops and conferences were held in Hawai’i (2003), NYU (2004), McGill (2004), Tokyo (2005), NYU (2005), Yale (2006), Frankfurt (2007), Harvard (2009), Hawai’i (2010), Vienna (2011), Yale (2013), Harvard (2014) and Meiji University (2014). The programs for many of these conferences are on the archives section of the Kinema Club website.


What is Nippon Connection?

Nippon Connection is the largest festival of film from Japan in the world. It was founded in 2000 and launched as an annual festival in 2002 and is organized entirely by volunteers. In 2014 it showed over 100 films with over 80 guests from Japan in attendance.

Different from many other festivals the main objective of Nippon Connection is not to show one type of film, but to showcase the best, most interesting, and most relevant from the entire range of contemporary film production in Japan. Nippon Connection therefore shows a great variety of film forms – blockbusters and indy films, experimental film, documentary film, art animation and anime, Pink Film and V-Cinema. Additionally it organizes a retrospective in cooperation with the German Film Museum in Frankfurt.

With its focus on the most exciting and important streams in film from Japan today the festival attracts around 16.000 attendees. Hundreds of filmmakers, producers, scriptwriters, actors and distributors have attended the festival in the past, among them Yamashita Nobuhiro, Hiroki Ryuichi, Momoi Kaori, Tsutsumi Yukihiko, Tanada Yuki, Wakamatsu Koji, Imaoka Shinji, Asato Mari, Arai Haruhiko, Ishibashi Yoshimasa, Miura Daisuke, Mukai Kosuke, Kumakiri Kazuyoshi, Yamamura Koji, Kamanaka Hitomi, Matsue Tetsuaki, and many others.



About Paula

Paula lives in the vortex of graduate life. She studies medieval Japanese history.
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