chapter  17
13 Pages

Japanese fi lm and television

ByAaron Gerow

Although the motion pictures and television have sometimes been rivals in Japan, they share a complex history of shaping and being shaped by struggles over defi ning a new modern mass culture in a country that was itself experiencing confl icts over how to delineate the Japanese nation and its culture within capitalist technological modernity. Even the very defi nition of these media – their essence, meaning, and function – was the focus of debates. The question was not just how fi lm and television should represent – or construct – Japanese culture at a time of increasing Westernization and a rise in Japanese global power, but also how meaning was to operate in an age of mass cultural production and consumption. As Japanese authorities both worried about and attempted to manage these media and their viewers, foreign audiences appropriated them, and their asserted difference from norms in the West or the rest of Asia, for their own ends. This chapter outlines these confl icts chronologically, focusing particularly on cinema.