End of the Semester

Only finals week remains at Yale, so we are nearing the end of the semester. It has been a very busy term for me - thus the lack of posts here - but productive. I finished all the proofs for the Page of Madness book, which should be coming out in January; I did a final rewrite of the Taisho film culture book for the University of California Press; and I am going over the proofs now for the Reference Guide to Japanese Film Studies that Markus Nornes and I are doing, which hopefully should be out in February.  I proofed my article on Miike Takashi for the Canadian Journal of Film Studies, and delivered an early version of a paper on Otokotachi no Yamato, trauma, and postwar (not just wartime) memory.

At Yale we did not have a whole bunch of events, but the Ozu retro was a moderate success. We had a good audience for Yale (it's hard to get big crowds here), but one night was a bust because we were going up against the Palen-Biden debate. You betcha Joe Sixpack is better than Ryu Chishu! (I don't think so.) We concluded with a nice roundtable talk after the screening of Good Morning with Michael Baskett of Kansas (who earlier in the day gave a great talk on Nagata Masaichi and Cold War ideology in the postwar Japanese film industry's export strategy), and Richard Suchenski and Ryan Cook of Yale. A lot of the audience stayed for that and we had a good discussion on the political dimension of Ozu's work. 

The Ozu retro was an occasion to encounter a couple of good old faces. Our first showing featured Tokkan Kozo (1929), so I showed on video some comic clips of Aoki Tomio in Shinozaki Makoto's Not Forgotten from 2002. The audience really enjoyed seeing comic boy genius, known as Tokkan Kozo in his youth, still showing his stuff into his late seventies. (Aoki appeared in small roles in a lot of Nikkatsu films after the war, so much so that some cinephiles had a "Spot Aoki Tomio" games. The war subplot in Not Forgotten was based in part on Aoki's own war experience.) We also showed The Lady and the Beard and thus got chance to see Okada Tokihiko, the matinee idol - with good comic sense as is evident in that film - who unfortunately died at age 30, which his daughter Okada Mariko was only a year old. We then got to see Okada Mariko, the great actress and wife of Yoshida Yoshishige (I have had the pleasure of dining with the two of them), in the later Ozu films Late Autumn and An Autumn Afternoon

Next semester we have a big conference called "East Asia in Motion" at the end of February and I have gigs at a number of locations. I'll also be teaching new courses in the Western and in Japanese film historiography, so it will be a busy term. 

We'll see if I can maintain this blog!

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