Japanese New Wave

The Japanese New Wave (ヌーベルバーグ Nūberu bāgu) is a group of loosely-connected Japanese filmmakers during the late 1950s and into the 1970s. Although they did not make up a coherent movement, these artists shared a rejection of traditions and conventions of classical Japanese cinema in favor of more challenging works, both thematically and formally. Coming to the fore in a time of national social change and unrest, the films made in this wave dealt with taboo subject matter, including sexual violence, radicalism, youth culture and deliquency, Korean discrimination, and the aftermath of World War II. They also adopted more unorthodox and experimental approaches to composition, editing and narrative.

The trend borrows its name from the French Nouvelle vague, a concurrent movement that similarly scrapped the established traditions of their national cinema. Unlike the French counterpart, Japanese New Wave originated within the film studio establishment in an attempt to invigorate local cinema (which was being undermined by television productions) with new ideas from young directors. Failing to thrive within the studio system, these filmmakers eventually formed independent production companies. Most notably, Art Theatre Guild significantly boosted the movement by producing and distributing several of the most renowned New Wave titles.

Japanese New Wave
Years activeEarly 1950s – 1970s
Major figuresShohei Imamura, Nagisa Oshima, Hiroshi Teshigahara, Masahiro Shinoda, Seijun Suzuki, Susumu Hani, Koreyoshi Kurahara, Yasuzo Masumura, Yoshishige Yoshida, Shūji Terayama


David Desser in his Eros plus Massacre places the marginal comment:

Superficial comparisons between the Japanese New Wave cinema and the French New Wave, typically to imply greater integrity to the latter, have served the cultural cliché that the Japanese are merely great imitators, that they do nothing original. (...) To see the Japanese New Wave as an imitation of the French New Wave (an impossibility since they arose simultaneously) fails to see the Japanese context out of which the movement arose. (...) While the Japanese New Wave did draw benefits from the French New Wave, mainly in the form of a handy journalistic label which could be applied to it (the "nūberu bāgu" from the Japanese pronunciation of the French term), it nevertheless possesses a high degree of integrity and specificity.[1]

Unlike the French nouvelle vague, the Japanese movement initially began within the studios, albeit with young and previously little-known filmmakers. The term was first coined within the studios (and in the media) as a Japanese version of the French New Wave movement.[2] Nonetheless, the Japanese New Wave filmmakers drew from some of the same international influences that inspired their French colleagues, and as the term stuck, the seemingly artificial movement surrounding it began to rapidly develop into a critical and increasingly independent film movement.

One distinction in the French movement was its roots with the journal Cahiers du cinéma; as many future filmmakers began their careers as critics and cinema deconstructionists, it would become apparent that new kinds of film theory (most prominently, auteur theory) were emerging with them.

The Japanese movement developed at roughly the same time (with several important 1950s precursor films), but arose as more of a movement devoted to questioning, analyzing, critiquing and (at times) upsetting social conventions.

One Japanese filmmaker who did emerge from a background akin to his French colleagues was Nagisa Oshima, who had been a leftist activist and an analytical film critic before being hired by a studio. Oshima's earliest films (1959–60) could be seen as direct outgrowths of opinions voiced in his earlier published analysis.[3] Cruel Story of Youth, Oshima's landmark second film (one of four he directed in 1959 and 1960) saw an international release very immediately in the wake of Jean-Luc Godard's Breathless and François Truffaut's The 400 Blows.

Directors and themes

Key names

Directors initially associated with the Japanese New Wave included Susumu Hani, Hiroshi Teshigahara, Koreyoshi Kurahara, Yasuzo Masumura, Masahiro Shinoda, Nagisa Oshima, Yoshishige Yoshida, Shōhei Imamura and Terayama Shūji. Certain other filmmakers who had already launched careers – Seijun Suzuki, Kō Nakahira, Masaki Kobayashi, and Kaneto Shindo also came to be occasionally associated with the movement.[4]

Working separately, they explored a number of ideas previously not often seen in more traditional Japanese cinema: social outcasts as protagonists (including criminals or delinquents), uninhibited sexuality,[5] changing roles of women in society, racism and the position of ethnic minorities in Japan,[6] and the critique of (or deconstruction of) social structures and assumptions.[7] Protagonists like Tome from Imamura's The Insect Woman (1963) or the adolescent delinquents of Oshima's Cruel Story of Youth (1960) represented rebellion, but also gave domestic and international audiences a glimpse into lives that would otherwise likely escape cinematic attention.[8]

Susumu Hani

Unlike other Japanese New Wave filmmakers, Susumu Hani directed his works almost entirely outside of the major studios. Hani moved into feature filmmaking from an earlier career in documentary film, and favored non-actors and improvisation when possible. The documentaries Hani had made during the 1950s (1954's Children in the Classroom, and 1956's Children Who Draw) had introduced a style of cinema verite documentary to Japan, and were of great interest to other filmmakers.[9]

Hani's 1961 feature debut, Bad Boys was based upon the actual experiences of the disaffected youth seen in a reformatory; Hani felt that casting the same youth as actors would lend his film authenticity, blurring the lines between fiction and documentary in the process.[10]

Hani would go on to complete several other features through the 1960s – among them the Antonioni-like She and He (1963), Song of Bwana Toshi (1965), which dramatizes a spiritually and psychologically-themed journey to East Africa undertaken by a Japanese engineer facing family difficulties, and Nanami, The Inferno of First Love (1968). Hani, who was one of few true independents within the movement (and was – for this reason – one of its real cornerstones) would later retreat from feature filmmaking, primarily out of disillusionment:

I do not admire people, though I admire many persons. But I don't like what society does to persons. It perverts them. Yet, I don't want to attack society. I am not that kind of person. What I would like to do is ignore it. Or better, show something else. This is what I have done in my pictures, including the animal ones[11]

Many of Hani's subsequent nature films were shot in Africa, an area he first explored in the Song of Bwana Toshi. Though fiction, the feature film presaged Hani's later professional moves, and – in its theme of a man's attempt to "find himself", it stands as one of the more personally revelatory examples of Japanese New Wave filmmaking, revealing the direct human ambitions situated underneath the styles closer to the movement's surface.

Shōhei Imamura

Alongside Nagisa Oshima, Shōhei Imamura became one of the more famous of the Japanese New Wave filmmakers. Imamura's work was less overtly political than Oshima or several filmmakers who emerged later in the 1960s. Nevertheless, Imamura in many ways became a standard-bearer for the Japanese New Wave: through his very last feature (Warm Water Under a Red Bridge, 2001), Imamura never lost interest in his trademark characters and settings.

Imamura had once been an assistant of Yasujirō Ozu, and had – in his youth – developed an antipathy towards Ozu's (and Kenji Mizoguchi's) finely crafted aestheticism, finding it to be a bit too tailored to approved senses of "Japanese" film.[12] Imamura's preference was for people whose lives were messier and for settings less lovely: amateur pornographers, barmaids, an elderly one-time prostitute, murderers, unemployed salarymen, an obsessive-compulsive doctor, and a lecherous, alcoholic monk were a few of his many protagonists.

Imamura stated this on a number of occasions:

If my films are messy, it is probably because I don't like too perfect a cinema. The audience must not admire the technical aspects of my filmmaking, as they would a computer or the laws of physics.[13]

Imamura continued:

I love all the characters in my films, even the loutish and frivolous ones. I want every one of my shots to express this love. I'm interested in people, strong, greedy, humorous, deceitful people who are very human in their qualities and their failings.[14]

In integrating such a social view into a creative stance, Imamura – in an oblique fashion – does reflect the humanist formalism of earlier filmmakers – Ozu, and Kurosawa (whose Drunken Angel he cited as a primary inspiration),[12] even when the episodic construction seems more akin to the global (and Japanese) New Wave.

Thus, where Oshima would seem to strive for a radical break between old and new in Japanese cinema, figures like Imamura (and Seijun Suzuki) instead took older ideologies (and older, little-explored tangents), and helped create a Japanese New Wave that instead stood as an inevitable evolution in a dynamic cinema.

Nagisa Oshima

Nagisa Oshima was among the most prolific Japanese New Wave filmmakers, and – by virtue of having had several internationally successful films (notably 1960's Cruel Story of Youth, 1976's In the Realm of the Senses and 1983's Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence), became one of the most famous filmmakers associated with the movement.

Certain films – in particular Oshima's Cruel Story of Youth, Night and Fog in Japan (1960), and his later Death by Hanging (1968) – did generate enormous controversy (Night and Fog in Japan was pulled from theatres one week into its release), they also provoked debate, or – in some instances – became unexpected commercial successes.[15] Violence at Noon (1966) received a nomination for the Silver Bear at the Berlin Film Festival.

Oshima's structural and political restlessness and willingness to disrupt cinematic formulas drew comparisons to Jean-Luc Godard – the two filmmakers emerged globally almost simultaneously, both were interested in altering the form and processes of cinema, both came from backgrounds as critics, both challenged definitions of cinema as entertainment by inserting their own political perspectives into their work. Oshima elaborated upon the comparison:

I don't agree specifically with any of his positions, but I agree with his general attitude in confronting political themes seriously in film.[16]

Oshima varied his style dramatically to serve the needs of specific films – long takes in Night and Fog in Japan (1960), a blizzard of quick jump cuts in Violence at Noon (1966), nearly neo-realistic in Boy (Shonen, 1969), or a raw exploration of American b-movie sensibilities in Cruel Story of Youth. Again and again, Oshima introduced a critical stance that would transgress social norms by exploring why certain dysfunctions are tolerated – witness the familial dysfunctions of Boy and 1971's The Ceremony or the examinations of racism in Death by Hanging and Three Resurrected Drunkards (both 1968), and why some are not, at least openly – the entanglements of sex, power and violence explicitly depicted in In the Realm of the Senses (1976), or gay undercurrents located within samurai culture (a well-documented subject in publications, but not in film) in 1999's otherwise atypically serene Taboo (Gohatto).[17]

Seijun Suzuki

Seijun Suzuki's connections with the Japanese New Wave were more by association than by any actual endorsement of the term. Suzuki had begun his career as a mainstream director of low-budget genre films like Underworld Beauty and Kanto Wanderer for Nikkatsu studios.

As noted by Japanese film critic Tadao Sato, Suzuki also represented a certain tradition in Japanese film: energizing normally conventional or even traditional styles with discreet infusions of unorthodox irreverence. In Sato's assessment, Suzuki's precursors in some ways were Sadao Yamanaka and Mansaku Itami, whose unconventional humor reinvented period film during the 1930s.[18]

Suzuki's stature as an influence upon the New Wave was cemented with two developments: the desire to enliven the formulaic screenplays he was given by Nikkatsu (a deliberately overripe pop-art stylishness introduced in 1963's Youth of the Beast and Kanto Wanderer, both key, transitional films for Suzuki), and his 1968 dismissal from Nikkatsu.[19]

In the wake of Kanto Wanderer, Suzuki's developing sense of style grew ever more surreal:

What is standing there isn't really there. It's just something reflected in our eyes. When it is demolished, the consciousness that it is, or was, first begins to form.[19]

This made clear Suzuki's anarchic approach to cinema, which coincided nicely with other developments during the 1960s. 1965's Tattooed Life took Yakuza formulas to comic-book extremes, with a deliberate and unreal heightening of melodrama and wildly anti-realistic violence, played for humor or for style (using strobe effects and glass floors to break down perspective expectations during one notable scene). Beginning with this film, and continuing through Fighting Elegy and Tokyo Drifter (both from 1966) an accelerating move away from narrative, and towards greater spontaneity, enhanced with occasional Brechtian touches, became evident in Suzuki's work, though such elements were used in ways quite different from other filmmakers of the New Wave.

This hit a pinnacle with 1967's Branded to Kill, an elliptical, fragmented dive into allegory, satire and stylishness, built around a yakuza with a boiled rice fetish. The film was regarded as "incomprehensible" by Nikkatsu, who sacked him (he didn't complete another feature for 9 years), but the largely non-narrative film plays like a compendium of global New Wave styles, absent the politics in most ways, though Suzuki's irreverence towards social convention is very clear, and the film's cult status grew at home and (ultimately) internationally.

Hiroshi Teshigahara

Other filmmakers – notably Hiroshi Teshigahara – favored more experimental or allegorical terrain. Alongside Hani, Teshigahara worked as an independent (excepting The Man Without a Map), apart from the studio system entirely.[20]

Teshigahara – who was the son of a famed ikebana master (Sofu Teshigahara), began his career with a number of avant-garde shorts, including Hokusai (1953), Ikebana (1956), Inochi (1958), Tokyo 1958 and José Torres (part 1) (1959); he had studied art at the Tokyo Art Institute.[21] He launched his feature career a few years later, frequently collaborating with avant-garde novelist Kōbō Abe, making a name for himself with the self-financed[22] independent Pitfall (1962), which he described as a "documentary fantasy",[21] and subsequently winning the jury prize at the 1964 Cannes Film Festival for Woman in the Dunes.

Both films, along with the subsequent The Face of Another (1966) and The Man Without a Map (1968) were co-scripted with Abe; in all four the search for self-definition in personal identity and for one's purpose in life is the driving theme, albeit related in allegorical fashion.[22] In 1971, Teshigahara completed an additional feature, Summer Soldiers, which was scripted by John Nathan (translator for Yukio Mishima and Kenzaburō Ōe), and focused on two American soldiers AWOL from the Vietnam War, and their attempt to hide in Japan.

Teshigahara would later retreat from filmmaking; after the retirement and death of his father he would take over his father's school, eventually becoming grandmaster.[20] After completing Summer Soldiers in 1971, Teshigahara would not make another film for 12 years, re-emerging with a minimalistic documentary about architect Antonio Gaudí.

Creative legacy

The Japanese New Wave began to come apart (as it did in France) by the early 1970s; in the face of a collapsing studio system, major directors retreated into documentary work (Hani and – for a while – Imamura), other artistic pursuits (Teshigahara, who practiced sculpture and became grand master of an Ikebana school),[20] or into international co-productions (Oshima).

In the face of such difficulties, a few of the key figures of the Japanese New Wave were still able to make notable films – Oshima's 1976 film In the Realm of the Senses became internationally famous in its blend of historical drama and aspects of pornography (drawn from an actual historical incident), and – after a return to filmmaking Teshigahara won acclaim for his experimentalistic documentary Antonio Gaudí (1984) and the features Rikyu (1989) and Princess Goh (1992). Shōhei Imamura eventually became one of only four filmmakers to win the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival for multiple films – The Ballad of Narayama (1983), and The Eel (1997).

Key films associated with the Japanese New Wave

(directors listed alphabetically within the year)



  • Children Who Draw, Susumu Hani (documentary)
  • Punishment Room, Kon Ichikawa
  • Crazed Fruit, Kō Nakahira
  • Suzaki Paradise, Kawashima Yuzo




  • The Assignation, Kō Nakahira
  • A Town of Love and Hope, Nagisa Oshima








  • The Song of Bwana Toshi, Susumu Hani
  • Sea of Youth, Shinsuke Ogawa (documentary)
  • With Beauty and Sorrow, Masahiro Shinoda
  • A Story Written with Water, Yoshishige Yoshida


  • Bride of the Andes, Susumu Hani
  • The Pornographers: An Introduction to Anthropology, Shōhei Imamura
  • Violence at Noon, Nagisa Oshima
  • Fighting Elegy, Seijun Suzuki
  • Tokyo Drifter, Seijun Suzuki
  • The Face of Another, Hiroshi Teshigahara


  • A Man Vanishes, Shōhei Imamura
  • The Oppressed Students, Shinsuke Ogawa (documentary)
  • Manual of Ninja Arts, Nagisa Oshima
  • A Treatise on Japanese Bawdy Song, Nagisa Oshima
  • Branded to Kill, Seijun Suzuki







  • Summer Sister, Nagisa Oshima



  • Matsu the Untamed Comes Home, Shōhei Imamura (documentary)
  • Pastoral, Shuji Terayama


See also



  1. ^ Desser, p. 4
  2. ^ Sato, p. 213-215 and Richie, p. 196
  3. ^ Sato (p. 213) & Oshima (Cinema Censorship and the State: The Writings of Nagisa Oshima, 1993, M.I.T. Press)
  4. ^ Sato, p. 208-239
  5. ^ Sato, p.231-234
  6. ^ Mellen, p. 419-426
  7. ^ Suzuki, quoted by Sato, p. 224
  8. ^ Richie, p. 168-188
  9. ^ Richie, p. 249
  10. ^ Richie p. 192-193, and Mellen p. 344-347
  11. ^ Hani, in conversation with Richie, from Japan Journals, p. 412-413
  12. ^ a b Richie, p. 186
  13. ^ Richie, p. 189, quoting from Shōhei Imamura: Traditions and Influences, in Japanese Kings of the B's, 1991
  14. ^ Richie, p. 190, quoting from Shōhei Imamura: Traditions and Influences, in Japanese Kings of the B's, 1991
  15. ^ Mellen p. 415-420, and Sato p. 213-221
  16. ^ Richie p. 197, quoting Joan Mellen's Voices From The Japanese Cinema
  17. ^ Leupp, Gary. Male Colors: The Construction of Homosexuality in Tokugawa Japan, 1997 (University of California Press)
  18. ^ Sato, p. 222
  19. ^ a b Sato, p. 224
  20. ^ a b c Richie, from Japan Journals, p. 194
  21. ^ a b Svensson, p. 99
  22. ^ a b Richie, p. 195

Works cited

  • Desser, David (1988). Eros Plus Massacre: An Introduction to The Japanese New Wave Cinema. Indiana University Press, Bloomington. ISBN 0-253-20469-0.
  • Mellen, Joan (1976). The Waves At Genji's Door: Japan Through Its Cinema. Pantheon, New York. ISBN 0-394-49799-6.
  • Oshima, Nagisa and Annette Michelson (1993). Cinema, Censorship, and the State: The Writings of Nagisa Oshima. MIT Press, Boston. ISBN 0-262-65039-8.
  • Richie, Donald (2005). A Hundred Years of Japanese Film: A Concise History, with a Selective Guide to DVDs and Videos. Kodansha America, New York and Tokyo. ISBN 4-7700-2995-0.
  • Richie, Donald (2004). Japan Journals 1947-2004. Stone Bridge, Berkeley. ISBN 1-880656-97-3.
  • Sato, Tadao (1982). Currents In Japanese Cinema. Kodansha America, New York and Tokyo. ISBN 0-87011-815-3.
  • Svensson, Arne (1971). Japan (Screen Series). Barnes, New York. ISBN 0-498-07654-7.

External links

Art Theatre Guild

Art Theatre Guild (ATG) was a film production company in Japan that started in 1961 and ran through to the mid-1980s, releasing mostly Japanese New Wave films. ATG began as an independent agency which distributed foreign films in Japan. With the decline of the major Japanese film studios in the 1960s, an "art house" cinema group formed around ATG and the company moved into distributing Japanese works rejected by the major studios. By 1967 ATG was assisting with production costs for a number of new Japanese films. Some of the early films released by ATG include Shōhei Imamura's A Man Vanishes (1967), Nagisa Oshima's Diary Of A Shinjuku Thief (1968) and Death by Hanging (1968), Toshio Matsumoto's masterpiece Funeral Parade of Roses (1969), and Akio Jissoji's Mujo (1970).

Bad Boys (1961 film)

Bad Boys (不良少年, Furyō shōnen) is a Japanese film directed by Susumu Hani in 1961 about juvenile delinquents. Since Hani had a background in documentary, he shot Bad Boys, his first feature-length fiction film, in a documentary style, using "nonprofessional actors, black and white, hand-held cinematography, and location shooting." It was voted the best film of 1961 in the poll of film critics by Kinema Junpo and has been considered one of the films to launch the Japanese New Wave. Hani was given the Directors Guild of Japan New Directors Award for directing the film, and Toru Takemitsu was given the Mainichi Film Award for best film score for his work on Bad Boys and Mozu.

Cascade (band)

Cascade (stylized as CASCADE) is a Japanese visual kei rock band, with a sound not typical of others in the movement, in that it is strongly influenced by new wave music. The band formed in 1993 and disbanded in August 2002, but six years later the band reunited and released a new album in 2009, Vivo.

Dr. Akagi

Dr. Akagi, known in Japan as Kanzō-sensei (カンゾー先生, literally "Dr. Liver"), is a 1998 Japanese Comedy-drama film by director Shohei Imamura. Imamura is much more highly regarded in his home country and Europe as a key figure in the Japanese New Wave, and is little known in the West. Imamura undertook making Akira Kurosawa's final script, and is the only director from Japan to win two Palme d'Or awards. Yosuke Yamashita was awarded "Best Film Score" for Dr. Akagi at the 1999 Mainichi Film Concours.

Frank Chickens

Frank Chickens are a Japanese musical group based in London, who have performed songs mainly in English from 1982.They were nominated for the 1984 Edinburgh Comedy Award for their performance at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. In the same year, their single "Blue Canary" was number 42 in BBC DJ John Peel's Festive Fifty, a poll of his listeners' favourite tracks of the year. The band recorded 28 songs over five sessions for Peel between 1983 and 1989.In 1989 they hosted a television chat show on Channel 4 entitled Kazuko's Karaoke Klub.One of the founders of the group, Kazuko Hohki performs as a theatre artist and performance artist. She also sang with the group Kahondo Style who released 'My Heart’s In Motion' (1985) and 'Green Tea and Crocodiles' (1987). She is married to record producer Grant Showbiz.

In 2010 the group won the Foster's Edinburgh Comedy God Award, after the public responded to an e-mail sent in anger by comedian Stewart Lee to the organisers of the award.

Funeral Parade of Roses

Funeral Parade of Roses (薔薇の葬列, Bara no Sōretsu) is a 1969 Japanese drama film directed and written by Toshio Matsumoto, loosely adapted from Oedipus Rex and set in the underground gay counterculture of 1960s Tokyo. It stars Peter as the protagonist, a young "gay boy", and features Osamu Ogasawara, Yoshio Tsuchiya and Emiko Azuma.

The film was released by ATG (Art Theatre Guild) on 13 September 1969 in Japan; however, it did not receive a United States release until 29 October 1970. Matsumoto's previous film For My Crushed Right Eye contains some of the same footage and could almost be interpreted as a trailer for Funeral Parade, although a true trailer was also made.

An important work of the Japanese New Wave, the film combines elements of arthouse, documentary and experimental cinema.

In June 2017, it received a 4K restoration and limited theatrical re-release.


Gokudō (極道) is a name for cheaply produced (often direct to video) Yakuza movies. The genre often is known for its themes of sex and violence.

Takashi Miike is one director who rose through the world of Gokudō to become an internationally known sensation.


Ippu-Do (一風堂) was a Japanese synthpop trio of the early 1980s led by singer/songwriter Masami Tsuchiya.

Masahiro Shinoda

Masahiro Shinoda (篠田 正浩, Shinoda Masahiro, born March 9, 1931) is a Japanese film director, originally associated with the Shochiku Studio, who came to prominence as part of the Japanese New Wave in the 1960s.

Masami Tsuchiya

Masami Tsuchiya (土屋 昌巳, Tsuchiya Masami) is a Japanese singer-songwriter and musician, coming to prominence in the late 1970s as the lead vocalist and guitarist in the group Ippu-Do. His subsequent output includes solo work and collaborations. Tsuchiya has worked with artists as diverse as English new wave rockers Japan and Bill Nelson, Japanese electronica composer Ryuichi Sakamoto, Duran Duran side-project Arcadia, and Japanese rock band Buck-Tick.

In March 2008, Tsuchiya formed the rock band Vitamin-Q along with Kazuhiko Kato, Gota Yashiki, Rei Ohara and Anza. However, after Kato's suicide on October 17, 2009, the fate of the group is uncertain.

In June 2010, following news of former collaborator Mick Karn's (former Japan bassist) cancer diagnosis, Tsuchiya reunited with former bandmates Gota Yashiki, Vivian Hsu, and Masahide Sakuma (of Japanese new wave group Plastics) and recorded two songs for a proposed September 2010 release to raise funds for Karn and his family. The musicians had recorded together as The d.e.p. in the early 2000s, releasing the album "Shinkei Stop" in 2001.

Melon (band)

Melon was a group formed by former The Plastics members Toshio Nakanishi and Chica Sato. When The Plastics broke up in 1982, Toshio went to New York City and formed Melon with friends Percy Jones of Brand X, Dougie Bowne of The Lounge Lizards, and Bernie Worrell of Funkadelic and Chica Sato, former vocalist of The Plastics, trying to merge funk with Japanese and became known as a quirky, exotic, pop band. Chica’s appearances in Toshi’s projects since Melon have dwindled, but Toshio continues collaborating music acts, changing sounds and names: Tycoon Tosh, Group of Gods, Love T.K.O., Major Force and Skylab being some of the most often used.


P-Model (also typset as P-MODEL and P. Model) was a Japanese electronic rock band started in 1979 by frontman Susumu Hirasawa. The band has experienced many lineup revisions over the years but Hirasawa was always at the helm of operations. P-Model officially disbanded in 2000, although many of its members continue to release solo albums and collaborate with each other on different projects.

Hirasawa has since released work under the name "Kaku P-Model", effectively a solo revival of the band.

Plastics (band)

Plastics, or The Plastics, were a short-lived Japanese new wave music group prominent in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Their music was a major influence on Japanese pop music and their songs have been covered by many bands, most notably Polysics, Pizzicato Five, and Stereo Total.

Perhaps their greatest exposure came from their appearance on the late night comedy show SCTV on NBC performing "Top Secret Man". In September 2007, Rolling Stone Japan rated their debut album Welcome Plastics at No. 19 on their list of the "100 Greatest Japanese Rock Albums of All Time".Stereo Total's cover of their song "I Love You, Oh No" (Stereo Total changed the title slightly, to "I Love You Ono") was used in television commercials for Sony Ericsson in Europe around 2006 and by Dell Computers in the USA in 2009.


Polysics (ポリシックス, Porishikkusu, typeset POLYSICS) is a Japanese new wave and rock band from Tokyo, who dubs its unique style as "technicolor pogo punk". It was named after a brand of synthesizer, the Korg Polysix. The band started in 1997, but got their big break in 1998 at a concert in Tokyo. They create high energy music, fusing conventional guitar music with synthesized and computer generated sound to create a unique mixture of punk and synthpop heavily inspired by the American bands Devo and The Tubes, as well as Japanese bands such as P-Model and Yellow Magic Orchestra. Their song lyrics often consist of Japanese, English, or gibberish. The band has been noted for their extremely energetic live performances and their wild gimmicky outfits, notably their straight-bar sunglasses and trademark orange boiler suits stamped with a simple "P".


Psy・S [sáiz] (サイズ) (often written as "Psy-S" or "Psy S" in English due to the lack of the Japanese dot "・" on most Western keyboards) was a Japanese progressive pop/rock band, formed in 1983 by Masaya Matsuura alongside female vocal powerhouse Chaka (a pseudonym used by Mami Yasunori). After Japanese hits and successes throughout the late 1980s and early 1990s, they disbanded in 1996.

The musical style of Psy・S was an experimental mixture of electronic synthesizers, highly accomplished electric guitar riffs, and haunting, piercing vocals.

Psy・S is perhaps best known in the West for their significant role in the soundtrack of the cult anime title To-Y (adapted from Atsushi Kamijo's popular 1980s manga). Frontman Masaya Matsuura went on to create several video games for the Sony PlayStation.


Shazna (stylized as SHAZNA) is a Japanese visual kei rock band originally active from 1993 to 2000. Originally having a strong goth/alternative influence, the band's sound greatly shifted to a more new wave direction by 1996. At their peak, they were considered one of "the big four of visual kei" alongside La'cryma Christi, Fanatic Crisis and Malice Mizer. Their 1998 major label debut album Gold Sun and Silver Moon reached the number two position on the Oricon chart, sold over a million copies and was named "Rock Album of the Year" at the Japan Gold Disc Awards. In 2006, Shazna reunited, though after releasing an album and a single they disbanded once again in 2009. In 2017, Shazna officially reunited again for their 20th anniversary.

Shohei Imamura

Shohei Imamura (今村 昌平, Imamura Shōhei, 15 September 1926 – 30 May 2006) was a Japanese film director. A key figure in the Japanese New Wave, who continued working into the 21st century, Imamura is the only director from Japan to win two Palme d'Or awards.

Shun (band)

Shun (旬, later known as Syun) was a Japanese experimental sampling unit created by Susumu Hirasawa. The group was active from 1983 to 1987, although it was never officially ended, and was revived by Hirasawa in 1994 to 1996.

Susumu Hani

Susumu Hani (羽仁 進, Hani Susumu, born 10 October 1928) is a Japanese film director, and one of the most prominent representatives of the 1960s Japanese New Wave. Born in Tokyo, he has directed both documentaries and feature films.

He won the Directors Guild of Japan New Directors Award for his first fiction film, Bad Boys, in 1961. His 1962 film Mitasareta seikatsu was entered into the 12th Berlin International Film Festival. His 1963 documentary film Children Hand in Hand was entered into the 4th Moscow International Film Festival winning him a Special Diploma.One of his most famous films is Nanami: The Inferno of First Love (初恋・地獄篇 - Hatsukoi Jigokuhen, 1968), which Hani co-scripted with Terayama Shūji.

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