Conference Film Programme

Japanese Studies has been somewhat traditional in its idea of what constitutes academic research. But in recent decades, the scope of what is recognised has expanded markedly with greater acceptance of visual and digital methodologies and creative outputs. The BAJS 2018 Research Film Series presents a small selection of research presented through the medium of film in a reflection of our own field's gradual acceptance of changing research methods. Five films across four sessions at this year's BAJS present research through different styles. Eveline Buchheim and Yuki Sunada present Sunada's film Children's Tears, which explores the hidden story of children born in the Dutch East Indies of Eurasian mothers and Japanese fathers as children of the enemy. They'll be in discussion with Kanako Kuramitsu, a PhD student at Birmingham working on children born of Chinese mothers and Japanese fathers during WW2, who will also present one of her research subjects' stories through animation. Jamie Coates introduces his recent documentary Tokyo Pengyou, which teases apart structurally determinist representations of migrants in Japan by capturing the noise, heat, and affect of a lively group of young Chinese people in Tokyo. Sharon Kinsella and David Panos' 2015-16 work White Out (ホワイトアウト) is a film collaboration combining anthropology and art film to explore the nature of male reaction and sentiment on the cusp of transformation in contemporary Japan through the figure of the josoko. And finally, Jennifer Coates' ethnographic research with postwar cinema goers is presented through her film When Cinema was King, which explores the living memories of the ‘golden age’ of film culture in postwar Japan. The BAJS Research Film Series is a new innovation that we hope encourages more Japanese Studies scholars to explore innovative modes of research dissemination.

Tokyo Pengyou

Dir. Jamie Coates, 47 minutes

Tokyo Pengyou tells the story of a young Chinese musician in Japan and his struggle to find his place in the world. 27 year old Dongshi reflects on the role of friendship in creating music and business opportunities while cruising the nightlife of Tokyo’s unofficial Chinatown, Ikebukuro. Tokyo Pengyou explores themes of play, media, and sociality among migrants. In a heavily mediatized transnational Sino-Japanese context, Dongshi and his friends contend with pre-established Chinese migrant networks and spaces, trying to make money, gain prestige, and develop a sustainable life. The film was filmed, directed, and edited by Jamie Coates, and is his first film production to date. It is intended to tease apart structurally determinist representations of migrants in Japan by capturing the noise, heat, and affect of a lively group of young Chinese people in Tokyo.

When Cinema Was King

Dir. Jennifer Coates, 25 minutes

When Cinema Was King (娯楽の王様, 2017) traces the living memories of the ‘golden age’ of film culture in postwar Japan. This short documentary film explores the role of cinema in the everyday lives of the generation that grew up under occupation (1945-1952), investigating the impact of censored cinema on the political views of this now-elderly generation.

Children's Tears: Searching for Japanese Fathers

Dir. Yuki Sunada, 49 minutes

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pptn1vtFltE

This 49 min documentary unveils a hidden history starting in the Dutch East Indies under Japanese occupation during WW2. The protagonists were born of Eurasian mothers and Japanese fathers as children of the enemy. They moved to the Netherlands with their mothers while their fathers went back to Japan after the war. The absence of their fathers becomes a missing piece, and the ensuing search stretches across continents. One of the protagonists, Nippy Noya, is the percussionist in Massada. He discovers the secret of his musical gift, just as the other protagonists each experience their own emotional rebirth. The documentary  received a Gold Award in 2014 at IMA, Jakarta. In December 2017 it received the Mercurius Honorary Award for films that capture and express important elements of the spirit of Jungian psychology at the XXVII Noir in Festival in Como. The film has been screened on different occasions in small theatres in Japan, last year it also has been screened by NHK.

White Out (ホワイトアウト)

Dir. Sharon Kinsella, 55 minutes.

The beige urban fukei of Japan of the mid-2010s is seen laboring under the enthusiastic and benign gazes of teenage girls on screen over the city. This art x anthropology film focuses in on the micro-gestures and movements of unknown people and josoko and himote respondents taking gendered positions on the crisis. As the film unfolds a multiply-layered understanding emerges. There are signs that the girl is the new model citizen: enthusiastic and willing to win. Under the implicit instructions of the gendered environment young men are witnessed engaged in complex reactions: cross-dressing, de-masculinizing, competing, resenting and resisting.

 

Showtimes

The films will be shown on days two and three of the conference. See below for times for showing and Q&A.