For nearly 60 years until his death in 2020, Obayashi Nobuhiko continued to challenge and expand the many fields of moving image production he engaged in, from experimental films to commercials, from idol movies to anti-war digital cinema. While justly celebrated in Japan, Obayashi remained largely unknown abroad until Hausu, his 1977 commercial feature debut, was finally released on DVD in English-language markets in 2010 to cult success. Even then, no serious and critical engagement with his work has been published in book form either in Japan or abroad. 

Obayashi is worthy of such deep study not only because his own work, with its interrogations of cinema and modern Japanese history, of youth and gender, of genre and the possibilities of the moving image, is profoundly rich. It is also because, with a career of involvement in experimental film, TV commercials and movies, major studio productions, genre cinema, independent film, and digital cinema, Obayashi is an extremely fruitful avenue for exploring different but interrelated aspects of postwar Japan’s history and media ecology. Just as Obayashi used media to explore modern Japanese history, so we can use Obayashi to explore modern Japanese media.

We are preparing a proposal for an anthology on Obayashi Nobuhiko and are calling for proposals to contribute to this volume. Those selected will be invited to workshop their papers at a colloquium at Yale University in spring 2022 before final drafts are submitted. The book proposal will be submitted after contributions have been selected.

Given the great diversity of Obayashi’s work, we welcome proposals from a variety of perspectives, not limited to academics, though we have listed some possible topics:

  • Obayashi’s 8mm films
  • Film Independent and 1960s experimental cinema
  • Obayashi’s career in TV commercials
  • Obayashi and television (TV movies, etc.)
  • Kadokawa and idol films in the 1980s
  • The shojo and gender in Obayashi
  • Producer Obayashi Kyoko
  • Obayashi and film music
  • Obayashi and film acting
  • Digital filmmaking
  • Obayashi and film style
  • Study/analysis of a particular film
  • Obayashi and genre
  • Obayashi and modern Japanese history
  • Obayashi narrating film history
  • Obayashi’s war movies
  • Hiroshima and Obayashi
  • Post-311 filmmaking
  • Obayashi and locality: Onomichi and beyond
  • Literature and Obayashi films
  • Nakahara Chuya poetry in Obayashi films
  • Obayashi’s writings on cinema
  • Obayashi and American cinema
  • Obayashi fandom at home and abroad

Proposals will be selected both for their quality and for how well they help produce a book that represents the diversity of Obayashi’s cinematic endeavors. Potential authors are welcome to inquire beforehand about possible topics. The book will also contain some translations of Obayashi’s own writings.

Contributions to the refereed anthology will be approximately 6,000 to 8,000 words in length, referenced in Chicago style.

Proposals should be between 300 and 400 words, and accompanied by a short bio and contact information. Submit by e-mail to Aiko Masubuchi (aiko.masubuchi@gmail.com) and Aaron Gerow (aaron.gerow@yale.edu) by August 1, 2021.

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