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Japanese film production during the punk era: independence, intermediality and mediascapes

Player, M. ORCID: (2021) Japanese film production during the punk era: independence, intermediality and mediascapes. PhD thesis, University of Reading

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To link to this item DOI: 10.48683/1926.00109805


This thesis applies an intermedial reading to the work of four Japanese ‘self-made’ (jishu) filmmakers who emerged during the punk era of the 1970s and 1980s: Ishii Sōgo, Yamamoto Masashi, Tsukamoto Shin’ya and Fukui Shōzin. Having come of age during the ‘apathetic’ (shirake) years that followed the implosion of Japan’s highly politicised ‘student movement’ (gakusei undō) in 1972, these ‘punk generation’ filmmakers selffunded, self-produced and self-exhibited short and feature-length narrative cinematic works as a means of personal—rather than political—expression, using accessible ‘home movie’ formats such as Super-8. Their activities resonated with Japan’s emerging punk scene, whose ethos was that ‘anyone can do it’, resulting in numerous collaborations during the impoverished production and makeshift exhibition strategies of their self-made films. As a result, ‘punk generation’ film practice became an original intermedial bricolage, including various forms of do-it-yourself (DIY) spectacle, that drew the attention of the film industry and led to career opportunities. Drawing on theories of intermediality that investigate interconnectedness and conceptual fusions between different media, this thesis examines the ways the selected filmmakers Ishii, Yamamoto, Tsukamoto and Fukui incorporated punk and non-cinematic arts and media in their works. The thesis argues that these filmmakers did so to compensate for their financial, technical and experiential shortcomings in the first instance. But these resulting intermedial aesthetics also strongly reflected the evolving socioeconomic situation of ‘self-made’ filmmaking and the punk scene, as both DIY media expressions were subsequently absorbed by Japan’s diversifying and increasingly commercial mediascape throughout the 1980s. This thesis is the first to use intermediality to provide a history of Japan’s punk generation, from its euphoric high at the start of the 1980s to the growing dysphoria brought about by the emergence of Japan’s late-80s ‘bubble economy’ (baburu keiki).

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Supervisor:Nagib, L. and Purse, L.
Thesis/Report Department:Department of Film, Theatre & Television
Identification Number/DOI:
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Arts and Communication Design > Film, Theatre & Television
ID Code:109805


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