Chapter 5: Decentring the Hollywood domination debate – Japan and South Korea

• Problematising the study of Japanese cinema

• Orientalism

• Japanese films in the contemporary UK market

• The contemporary fi lmed entertainment market in Japan

• Japan and its ‘classical’ cinema

• Manga and anime

Case study: 5.1: The Girl Who Leapt Through Time

• Cinema of South Korea

• The South Korean blockbuster

• The Korean Wave: Hallyu

• A mature cinema of variety?

• Summary: cinemas in opposition to Hollywood or going their own way?

This chapter aims to ‘decentre’ the role of Hollywood as the ‘only model’ for a successful commercial film industry. It takes the film industries of Japan and South Korea as different examples of developing a distinctive local industry and not just a straightforward imitation or conscious ‘resistance’ to Hollywood. In the case of Japanese cinema, the chapter refers to the development of a ‘Classical Japanese Cinema’ which lasted from the 1930s through to the 1960s – a studio system operating at roughly the same time as Hollywood Classical Cinema with its own genres and distinctive culture of film spectatorship. South Korea, in 2014 arguably the most dynamic local industry globally, is studied in terms of its emergence in the 1990s when the industry was modernised and transformed so that it began to attract large local audiences to a unique brand of Korean ‘blockbusters’.

The Japanese section also considers contemporary Japanese cinema and the ways in which its film exports tend to conform to Western ideas about the culture – with films that are ‘more Japanese’ getting less exposure outside the country. The four films in a mini case study are:

13 Assassins (Japan/UK 2010)

Norwegian Wood (Japan 2010)

Villain (Japan 2010)

Confessions (Japan 2010)

Other Japanese and Korean films discussed on this blog can be found via the following categories and tabs:

Japanese Cinema

Korean Cinema


films by (or associated with):

Kurosawa Akira

Ozu Yasujiro

Miyazaki Hayao

Kore-eda Hirokazu


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