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Japanese Cinema Hardcover – June 1, 2009

3.2 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Paul Duncan has seen lots of films and read lots of comics and books. He wanted to share his enthusiasm for these subjects so he published magazines about comics (Ark) and crime fiction (Crime Time) before launching a series of small film guides (Pocket Essentials). He has edited more than 40 film books for TASCHEN, and wrote Alfred Hitchcock and Stanley Kubrick in the Film Series. Stuart Galbraith IV is the author of seven books. He also makes DVD audio commentaries and liner note essays, writes a DVD column for the English edition of The Daily Yomiuri, and reviews DVDs at DVDTalk.com. He lives in Kyoto.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: TASCHEN America Llc; First Edition edition (June 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 3822831565
  • ISBN-13: 978-3822831564
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 1 x 11.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,673,862 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Aaron S. Berman on September 4, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Those who love Japanese movies also know how frustrating it can be trying to find wide-ranging books on the subject in English. With the single exception of Jasper Sharp and Tom Mes' "The Midnight Eye Guide to New Japanese Film" (one of the best film books I've ever come across in any genre, by the way), we've lacked a multi-genre compendium on the subject. Japanese film lovers ccould pick up separate books about Japanese Horror, early films, Godzilla-type monster movies, etc., all of varying degrees of quality.

Which is why I was so excited to see that Taschen was putting out a book touching upon most of Japanese cinema. I finally received my copy this week, and I was blown away. First off, it's packed with photos, many of them full page, rather than the business-card size pics and smaller that you usually find in film books today.

Movies and directors covered range from early (1920s-30s) all the way up through 21st century J-horror and beyond, hitting everything from Takeshi Kitano and anime flicks to the work of Miike and Tsukamoto.

Anyone who's picked up a Taschen book or two knows what to expect from this one: great photos. The author also does an admirable job of introducing readers to all the major trends in Japanese film from the last 50 years or so. While I've been reading about and watching Japanese movies for some 6 or 7 years now, I still came away from this book with a few titles jotted down for my DVD wish list.

My only complaint with "Japanese Cinema" is that I would have preferred something with twice the number of pages, similar to Taschen's "Cinema Now." But that's just me being greedy.
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Format: Hardcover
Well, simply said, I expected more. It is, indeed, packed full of photos which is what I would expect from a Taschen book but it just does not cover enough. It seems the author was trying to acquaint the reader with the lesson common genre's of japanese films (i.e. comedies, musicals) and less well known directors (Hideo Gosha, for one example) and he does but he skims over so much and it is such a quick read it did not seem worth the price. It is a coffee table book and you should not expect much more. At one point the author says that Roman Porno films are being disovered by "the younger generation of Japanese Film Scholars" which sounds slightly elitist. Even so, if you have an interest in japanese film, have exhausted other books on the subject or find yourself reading about the same films again and again, then this might help you discover a few you might not know of (and might never have access to). I do not quite understand the inclusion of the Filmography in the back (there are only 10 films.) or why the films that are there were chosen. There are better books out there. There are also much, much worse. The photos are great but not worth the price.
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Format: Hardcover
The aptly named reviewer "useless" advises people to "Stick to books by Donald Ritchie or Alan Silver if you want some real insight into Japanese film history." It's ironic that Donald Ritchie loves Galbraith's latest offering and described discusses the "valuable scholarship" by this "esteemed author." You can read the whole review at the Japan Times web site here: [...]

I agree with Ritchie. This is an informative and well illustrated overview of Japanese cinema that does not limit itself to only the usual directors and stars. It's well worth picking up a copy as it will make a great addition to any cinema buff's library.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Nice book on a topic of great interest to me, though minor for the subject.
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Format: Hardcover
If you have never seen or read anything, and I mean ANYTHING about Japanese film you might enjoy this rehash of the same generic information and generic photos. What a waste of paper and money. UGGHHHH. Stick to books by Donald Ritchie or Alan Silver if you want some real insight into Japanese film history. Like his name Gailbraith the fourth, most of what you will get in this book is fourth generation at least. I come to expect more of Taschen.UGGGGGhh for a second, third and fourth time.
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