How to Research Japanese Cinema

Did you ever want to study Japanese cinema but didn't know where to start? Or got started but soon got lost in the confusing maze of materials? Or want to find a film or a book or some important document at a library or archive but didn't know where to go? Or want to find out about a movie but were confused by conflicting information in databases? Or start acquiring your own library of basic texts? Or find out more about the state of Japanese film studies and its future?

This may sound like an old-fashioned sales pitch, but if you answered yes to any of these, hopefully we have the book for you: Research Guide to Japanese Film Studies. Over the decades we've spent studying Japanese cinema, Abé Mark Nornes and I have been accumulating lists of important books, archives, databases, etc., and evaluating them for ourselves and our students. Now we've put all that together in book form to create a reference work that we hope can help most anyone interested in finding out more about Japanese cinema. In includes a guide to archives and libraries around the world with Japan-related materials, an extensive and annotated bibliography of fundamental reference works mostly in English and Japanese, guides to film distributors and used book and video stores, an introduction to online resources, and answers to frequently asked questions about how to work with Japanese film (such as finding films or stills or scripts, creating staff and cast info, getting contact or box office info, using Japanese names, etc.). Five indexes help users not only navigate the book, but also in many cases locate which book or archive to access for a particular research topic. We also hope Research Guide to Japanese Film Studies can help individuals and libraries start building their own reference collection, as well as scholars think more about the history of Japanese film studies and its future. It's a broadly designed book directed at a wide audience and usable for many needs. We even throw in a few fun travel tips for those going to Japan!

We put this work out first because we are painfully aware that the study of Japanese film has not enjoyed much official support inside and outside of academia or Japan, and therefore the materials and resources other fields take for granted are not available for those of us interested in Japanese movies. There is a lot out there, but it is located in a confusing maze that many cannot navigate easily. Another reason is that we firmly believe Japanese film studies is growing as a discipline, but it is being hampered by this paucity of reference materials or by scholars who don't yet know how to take advantage of what is available. We hope this book can help bolster the field as well as move it in the best directions.

One of the difficult things in creating this book was making selections. There are many great books out there on Japanese film on specific topics, but to help the field as a whole, we decided to focus on basic works and institutions that can help a range of scholars doing a variety of topics. Under that criteria, some of our favorites did not get included. We apologize for that, but hope others can create bibliographies on more specific topics, like the Andrew brothers' great bibliography on Mizoguchi Kenji. 

This is a work in progress. New books and websites appear every day. We hope to keep track of these - and of any mistakes we made in this book - and publish subsequent editions in the future. We'd appreciate your help along the way: feel free to send us suggestions, additions, or even corrections if you have them. We can't guarantee to include all of them, but anything that can help keep this project accurate and up-to-date would be appreciated.

Purchase through Amazon  or through the Center for Japanese Studies

Here is the Table of Contents:



Used book and video stores

Annotated bibliography for bibliographic studies

     Bunken-shi/bibliographic studies

     Articles on the history of film criticism

     Anthologies of film criticism and koza

     Indexes and bibliographies

     Film yearbooks and almanacs

     Encyclopedias and dictionaries


     Biographical dictionaries


     Script collections and collected works of directors


     Photos, posters, programs

     Film periodicals

     General histories

     Guides to archives

     Local histories

     Studio and production company histories

Online and digital resources

     General databases




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