Pure Film Movement

The Pure Film Movement (純映画劇運動 Jun'eigageki undō) was a trend in film criticism and filmmaking in 1910s and early 1920s Japan that advocated what were considered more modern and cinematic modes of filmmaking. Critics in such magazines as Kinema Record and Kinema Junpo complained that existing Japanese cinema was overly theatrical. They said it presented scenes from kabuki and shinpa theater as is, with little cinematic manipulation and without a screenplay written with cinema in mind. Women were even played by onnagata. Filmmakers were charged with shooting films with long takes and leaving the storytelling to the benshi in the theater instead of using devices such as close-ups and analytical editing to visually narrate a scene. The novelist Jun'ichiro Tanizaki was an important supporter of the movement.[1] Critics such as Norimasa Kaeriyama eventually became filmmakers to put their ideas of what cinema is into practice, with Kaeriyama directing The Glow of Life at the Tenkatsu Studio in 1918. This is often considered the first "pure film," but filmmakers such as Eizō Tanaka, influenced by shingeki theater, also made their own innovations in the late 1910s at studios like Nikkatsu.[2] The move towards "pure film" was aided by the appearance of new reformist studios such as Shochiku and Taikatsu around 1920. By the mid-1920s, Japanese cinema exhibited more of the cinematic techniques pure film advocates called for, and onnagata were replaced by actresses. The movement profoundly influenced the way films would be made and thought about for decades to come, but it was not a complete success: benshi would remain an integral part of the Japanese film experience into the 1930s.


  1. ^ See Lamarre and Bernardi.
  2. ^ Richie, p. 8.


  • Bernardi, Joanne (2001). Writing in Light: The Silent Scenario and the Japanese Pure Film Movement. Wayne State University Press. ISBN 0-8143-2926-8.
  • Gerow, Aaron (2010). Visions of Japanese Modernity: Articulations of Cinema, Nation, and Spectatorship, 1895–1925. University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-25456-5.
  • Lamarre, Thomas (2005). Shadows on the Screen: Tanizaki Junʾichirō on Cinema and "Oriental" Aesthetics. Center for Japanese Studies, University of Michigan. ISBN 1-929280-32-7.
  • Richie, Donald (1971). Japanese Cinema: Film Style and National Character. Doubleday. Available online at the Center for Japanese Studies, University of Michigan
Acid Western

Acid Western is a subgenre of the Western film that emerged in the 1960s and 1970s that combines the metaphorical ambitions of critically acclaimed Westerns, such as Shane and The Searchers, with the excesses of the Spaghetti Westerns and the outlook of the counterculture of the 1960s. Acid Westerns subvert many of the conventions of earlier Westerns to "conjure up a crazed version of autodestructive white America at its most solipsistic, hankering after its own lost origins".

Cinema of Japan

The cinema of Japan (日本映画, Nihon eiga, also known domestically as 邦画 hōga, "domestic cinema") has a history that spans more than 100 years. Japan has one of the oldest and largest film industries in the world; as of 2010, it was the fourth largest by number of feature films produced. In 2011 Japan produced 411 feature films that earned 54.9% of a box office total of US$2.338 billion. Movies have been produced in Japan since 1897, when the first foreign cameramen arrived.

In a Sight & Sound list of the best films produced in Asia, Japanese works made up eight of the top 12, with Tokyo Story (1953) ranked number one. Tokyo Story also topped the 2012 Sight & Sound directors' poll of The Top 50 Greatest Films of All Time, dethroning Citizen Kane, while Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai (1954) was voted the greatest foreign-language film of all time in BBC's 2018 poll of 209 critics in 43 countries. Japan has won the Academy Award for the Best Foreign Language Film four times, more than any other Asian country.

Jun'ichirō Tanizaki

Jun'ichirō Tanizaki (谷崎 潤一郎, Tanizaki Jun'ichirō, 24 July 1886 – 30 July 1965) was one of the major writers of modern Japanese literature, and perhaps the most popular Japanese novelist after Natsume Sōseki. Some of his works present a shocking world of sexuality and destructive erotic obsessions. Others, less sensational, subtly portray the dynamics of family life in the context of the rapid changes in 20th-century Japanese society. Frequently his stories are narrated in the context of a search for cultural identity in which constructions of "the West" and "Japanese tradition" are juxtaposed.

He was one of six authors on the final shortlist for the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1964, the year before his death.

Kinema Junpo

Kinema Junpo (キネマ旬報, Kinema Junpō), commonly called Kinejun (キネ旬), is Japan's oldest film magazine and began publication in July 1919. It was first published three times a month, using the Japanese Jun (旬) system of dividing months into three parts, but the postwar Kinema Junpō has been published twice a month.

The magazine was founded by a group of four students, including Saburō Tanaka, at the Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Technical High School at the time). In that first month, it was published three times on days with a "1" in them. These first three issues were printed on art paper and had four pages each. Kinejun initially specialized in covering foreign films, in part because its writers sided with the principles of the Pure Film Movement and strongly criticized Japanese cinema. It later expanded coverage to films released in Japan. While long emphasizing film criticism, it has also served as a trade journal, reporting on the film industry in Japan and announcing new films and trends.

After their building was destroyed in the Great Kantō earthquake in September 1923, the Kinejun offices were moved to the city of Ashiya in the Hanshin area of Japan, though the main offices are now back in Tokyo.

The Kinema Junpo awards began in 1926, and their 10 best list is considered iconic and prestigious.

Kinema Record

Kinema Record (キネマ・レコード, Kinema rekōdo) was a Japanese film magazine published during the 1910s that played an important role in the Pure Film Movement. In 1914, with no serious film magazines being published in Japan at the time, Norimasa Kaeriyama, Yoshiyuki Shigeno and other students interested in movies formed the Japan Cinematographist Association and began to publish the coterie magazine Film Record in October. They changed its name to Kinema Record in December. The monthly magazine contained a range of articles, from film reviews to how-to advice on making and selling movies, but it primarily came to represent calls for reforming a Japanese cinema that was considered too theatrical and uncinematic. A full reprint of the available issues was published in 1999 by Kokusho Kankōkai.Kinema Record released a total of 51 issues between 1913 and 1917, including the first four issues as Firumu rekōdo. In the last issue, Kinema Record announced in its "To the Trade" section that it had been brought out by the Kinograph Publishing Company. Kaeriyama was made president and editor in chief, but soon left and the publication ended. Its spirit was carried on by other journals like Katsudō no sekai and Kinema junpō.

List of apocalyptic films

This is a list of apocalyptic feature-length films. All films within this list feature either the end of the world, a prelude to such an end (such as a world taken over by a viral infection), and/or a post-apocalyptic setting.

Masao Inoue (actor)

Masao Inoue (井上正夫, Inoue Masao, 15 June 1881 – 7 February 1950) was a Japanese film and stage actor and film director who contributed to the development of film and stage art in Japan.

Meat pie Western

Meat pie Western, also known as Australian Western or kangaroo Western, is a broad genre of Western-style films or TV series set in the Australian outback or "the bush". Films about bushrangers (sometimes called bushranger films) are included in this genre. Some films categorised as meat-pie or Australian Westerns also fulfil the criteria for other genres, such as drama, revisionist Western, crime or thriller.

The term "meat pie Western" is a play on the term Spaghetti Western, used for Italian-made Westerns, relating in both cases to foods are regarded as national dishes.

Norimasa Kaeriyama

Norimasa Kaeriyama (帰山教正, Kaeriyama Norimasa) (1 March 1893 – 6 November 1964) was a pioneering Japanese film director and film theorist.

Opera film

An opera film is a recording of an opera on film.

Romanian New Wave

The Romanian New Wave (Romanian: Noul val românesc) is a genre of realist and often minimalist films made in Romania since the mid-aughts, starting with two award-winning shorts by two Romanian directors, namely Cristi Puiu's Cigarettes and Coffee, which won the Short Film Golden Bear at the 2004 Berlin International Film Festival, and Cătălin Mitulescu's Trafic, which won the Short Film Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival later that same year.


Shingeki (新劇, literally "New drama") was a leading form of theatre in Japan that was based on modern realism. Born in the 20th Century, it sought to be similar to modern Western theatre, putting on the works of the ancient Greek classics, William Shakespeare, Molière, Henrik Ibsen, Anton Chekov, Tennessee Williams, and so forth. As it appropriated Western realism, it also introduced women back onto the Japanese stage.


Shinpa (新派) (also rendered shimpa) is a form of theater in Japan, usually featuring melodramatic stories, contrasted with the more traditional kabuki style. It later spread to cinema also.

Souls on the Road

Souls on the Road (路上の霊魂, Rojō no Reikon) is a 1921 Japanese silent film directed by Minoru Murata. Film critic Mark Cousins wrote that it was "the first landmark film in Japanese history".

Taishō Katsuei

Taishō Katsuei (大正活映) was a Japanese film studio active in the early 1920s. Founded in April 1920 by Ryōzō Asano, the son of zaibatsu head Sōichirō Asano, it was mostly known as Taikatsu for short. Its origins can be traced back to Tōyō Film (also known as the "Sunrise Film Manufacturing Company"), a venture started in 1918 by Benjamin Brodsky and Thomas Kurihara, that Asano ended up supporting. With Kurihara as the main director and Jun'ichirō Tanizaki as the literary consultant, Taikatsu was one of two studios founded in 1920 (the other being Shōchiku Kinema) that publicly announced their intention to make "pure films" in line with the Pure Film Movement. It established an actors school and began production with Amateur Club, a film directed by Kurihara and scripted by Tanizaki that was strongly influenced by American cinema. Other important works include A Serpent's Lust, another Kurihara-Tanizaki collaboration based on the same story as Ugetsu by Kenji Mizoguchi. The Taikatsu studio was located in Yokohama, below the Bluff and the Foreigner's Cemetery (a memorial tablet currently marks the site). Taikatsu did not last long, since it did not have enough theaters to recoup the costs of production and of importing American films. Its production division was taken over by Shōchiku in 1922, even though the company lasted a few more years as an exhibition business. A number of important film figures emerged from Taikatsu, including the directors Tomu Uchida and Buntarō Futagawa and the actors Tokihiko Okada, Ureo Egawa and Atsushi Watanabe.

Tennenshoku Katsudō Shashin

Tennenshoku Katsudō Shashin (天然色活動写真) was a Japanese film studio active in the 1910s. The name translates as the "Natural Color Moving Picture Company," but it was known as Tenkatsu for short. The company was formed in 1914 by remnants of the Fukuhōdō studio that did not take part in the merger that formed Nikkatsu, particularly the entrepreneur Kisaburō Kobayashi, and was first aimed at exploiting the Kinemacolor color motion picture system in Japan. That system became too expensive, so the company soon settled on making regular films, becoming Nikkatsu's main rival in the 1910s. Although it was a decentralized company, one that was run by various bosses and allowed benshi to order the production of films, Tenkatsu played a part in the Pure Film Movement by allowing its employee Norimasa Kaeriyama to direct some of the first reformist works incorporating actresses and foreign film technique. It was also known for hiring Ōten Shimokawa to produce some of the first Japanese anime or animated films in Japan. It was eventually bought up by Kokkatsu in December 1919.

The Glow of Life

The Glow of Life (生の輝き, Sei no Kagayaki, also known as The Glory of Life) is a Japanese film directed by Norimasa Kaeriyama made in 1918 and released in 1919 by Tenkatsu. It is considered the first in a series of films aimed at reforming and modernizing Japanese cinema.

The Vigil (film)

The Vigil is a 1914 American short silent drama film directed by George Osborne and featuring Tsuru Aoki, Sessue Hayakawa, Thomas Kurihara and Mr. Yamato in prominent roles.

What Made Her Do It?

What Made Her Do It? (Nani ga kanojo o sô saseta ka (Japanese: 何が彼女をそうさせたか)) is a 1930 Japanese silent film directed by Shigeyoshi Suzuki, based on the Shingeki play. It was the top-grossing Japanese film of the silent era. Notable as an example of a so-called "tendency film" with strong anti-capitalist themes, the film inspired a riot in its showing in Tokyo's Asakusa district with media reports of riots in other cities.

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