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Eiga Kagaku Kenkyu and Film Studies in Japan


When it comes to old magazines, Japan is still a reprint (fukkokuban) culture. The North American libraries I used from grad school mostly had microfilms or microfiches of old journals, but Japan didn’t really get on the microfilm bandwagon, at least in a broad, commercial fashion. Old periodicals were made available to lots of institutions by reprinting them. With some reprints even reproducing the original colors, they were far better to look at than microfilms but they tended to be quite expensive. Still, it was thanks to such reprints that more libraries now have copies of prewar film magazines such as Kinema junpo, Kinema Record, Kokusai eiga shinbun, or Nihon eiga. The only reprints I had been involved in before were reprints of old film books, such as the Nihon eigaron gensetsu taikei series (Yumani Shobo), for which I contributed commentaries on Gonda Yasunosuke or the Film Law. 

Whenever I go to the annual Association for Asian Studies conference, I make a point of visiting the publishers’ booths, in part to find out what reprints have been recently published. Most of the reps of the Japanese publishers know me, so in our conversations, I am occasionally asked what should be reprinted next. Given my current research on Japanese film theory, I often suggest some of the prewar film theory or film studies journals. 

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