Japanese Cinema Goes Global: Cosmopolitan Subjectivity and the Transnationalization of the Culture Industry

Tezuka, Yoshiharu. 2008. Japanese Cinema Goes Global: Cosmopolitan Subjectivity and the Transnationalization of the Culture Industry. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

This thesis investigates the Japanese film industry's interactions with the West and Asia, the development of transnational filmmaking practices, and the transition of discursive regimes through which different types of cosmopolitan subjectivities are produced. It draws upon Ulrich Deck's concept of "banal cosmopolitanization" (2006) - which inextricably enmeshes the everyday lives of individuals across the industrialized societies within the global market economy.

As has often been pointed out, modem Japanese national identity since the 19th century has been constructed from a geopolitical condition of being both a "centre" and a "periphery", in the sense that it has always seen itself as the centre of East Asia, while being peripheral to the flow of Western global processes. Contrary to the common belief that defeat in the war sixty years ago radically changed the Japanese social structure and value system, this sense of national identity and of Japan being "different from the West but above Asia" was left intact if not ideologically encouraged by the American Occupation policy through the preservation of many pre-war institutions (cf., Dower 1999; Sakai 2006). In a world that was to become dominated by a hierarchical logic of "the West and the rest" established against the backdrop of the Cold War, Japan and its culture effectively found itself in a privileged but ambiguous position as part of but not part of the `West', something which was solidified by the international success of Japanese national cinema in the 1950s. But all this was to change with the process of globalization in the late 1980s and 1990s.

The main goal of this thesis is to analyse the ways in which globalization brought about a historic rupture in a national filmmaking community and discover the significance of this process. It shows how economic globalization undermined the material and discursive conditions that had sustained the form of national identity that had resulted from the process described above and gave rise to forms of cosmopolitan subjectivity which reveal a very different way of thinking about both Japan's position in the world and the sense of identification that younger filmmakers have towards it. This is illustrated through extensive interviews conducted with many filmmakers and producers in the Japanese filmmaking community.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

Identification Number (DOI):



Film; Japan; transnational; global; national identity; cosmopolitan subjectivity

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Media, Communications and Cultural Studies



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Date Deposited:

24 Jun 2020 11:05

Last Modified:

08 Aug 2023 15:04



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