Features

September 15, 2014

Kick Out the Jams! – Nikkatsu’s Stray Cat Rock Series

picture: Kick Out the Jams! – Nikkatsu’s Stray Cat Rock Series

When Japanese cinema went wild, it was time for new heroes and 'New Action'. A look at the Meiko Kaji-starring series that ushered in an era.

July 7, 2014

Intergalactic Tokusatsu: Charting the Japanese Space Opera, Part 2

picture: Intergalactic Tokusatsu: Charting the Japanese Space Opera, Part 2

The second chapter in our odyssey brings messages from space and greetings from Jupiter, while taking a detour into the realm of anime.

May 8, 2014

The Sun Also Rises: Miyazaki, Oshima and the Politics of History

picture: The Sun Also Rises: Miyazaki, Oshima and the Politics of History

Inside the box office politics of an increasingly conservative Japanese cinema. Or: why Nagisa Oshima still matters in the era of Hayao Miyazaki and The Eternal Zero.

March 21, 2014

Intergalactic Tokusatsu: Charting The Japanese Space Opera, Part 1

picture: Intergalactic Tokusatsu: Charting The Japanese Space Opera, Part 1

Distant galaxies and hostile worlds, interplanetary disaster and mighty monsters: the first in a two-part odyssey into the Japanese space opera.

February 22, 2014

The V-Cinema Notebook, Part 1

picture: The V-Cinema Notebook, Part 1

Tom Mes commences a journey through one of the most important developments in recent Japanese film.

January 10, 2014

Midnight Eye’s Best (and Worst) of 2013

picture: Midnight Eye’s Best (and Worst) of 2013

While the Japanese film industry turns increasingly 'insular', what do the writers at Midnight Eye make of the releases of 2013?

December 2, 2013

Hideo Gosha Part 2: The Will To Live

picture: Hideo Gosha Part 2: The Will To Live

Part 2 traces Hideo Gosha's career into the 1980s and "female oriented" hits like Yakuza Wives and Tokyo Bordello.

November 3, 2013

Come On Feel the Noise: Sounds and Images of Uncertainty in Japanese Cinema

picture: Come On Feel the Noise: Sounds and Images of Uncertainty in Japanese Cinema

Mapping the sounds of several generations of Japanese cinema, from punk rebellion to contemporary confusion.

September 23, 2013

Hideo Gosha: The Manly Way

picture: Hideo Gosha: The Manly Way

The first installment in Robin Gatto's two-part exploration of the life and films of an overlooked master of the samurai film.

July 3, 2013

Nippon Connection 2013

picture: Nippon Connection 2013

New venue, familiar atmosphere: the prime annual venue for Japanese films in Europe returns for its 13th edition.

May 31, 2013

The Lone Wolf Legacy, Part 3 – The Endless Road

picture: The Lone Wolf Legacy, Part 3 – The Endless Road

The final chapter in our series on the further wanderings of an assassin and his son.

May 20, 2013

Udine Far East Film Festival 2013

picture: Udine Far East Film Festival 2013

Roger Macy comments on the Japanese selection at Europe's main venue for Asian mainstream film.

April 24, 2013

Re-Agitator: A Decade of Writing on Takashi Miike

picture: Re-Agitator: A Decade of Writing on Takashi Miike

Introducing the new book by Tom Mes, the companion piece to his influential and acclaimed tome, Agitator.

Return to Yubari

picture: Return to Yubari

The snowy town and its fantastic film festival retain their magic, as well as a fascinating line-up of films that includes some real discoveries.

March 6, 2013

Remembering Donald Richie (1924 – 2013)

picture: Remembering Donald Richie (1924 – 2013)

The makers of Midnight Eye pay tribute to the Western world's foremost authority on Japanese film.

January 22, 2013

Nagisa Oshima, Something Like A Ceremony

picture: Nagisa Oshima, Something Like A Ceremony

R.I.P. Nagisa Oshima, 1932 - 2013

January 14, 2013

Midnight Eye’s Best (and Worst) of 2012

picture: Midnight Eye’s Best (and Worst) of 2012

The makers of Midnight Eye present their choices in cinematic highs and lows from the year 2012.

November 5, 2012

The Lone Wolf Legacy, Part 2 – Shogun Assassin, the Bastard Cub

picture: The Lone Wolf Legacy, Part 2 – Shogun Assassin, the Bastard Cub

Part 2 in Tom Mes's series on the ongoing wanderings of Lone Wolf and Cub, post-Baby Cart.

October 24, 2012

Remembering Koji Wakamatsu (1 April 1936 – 17 October 2012)

picture: Remembering Koji Wakamatsu (1 April 1936 – 17 October 2012)

Jasper Sharp laments the passing of a unique figure in world cinema.

October 6, 2012

Okinawa Movie Festival 2012

picture: Okinawa Movie Festival 2012

Jeff Hammond reports from a recent addition to the Japanese festival scene.

September 3, 2012

The Lone Wolf Legacy, Part 1 – Baby Cart in Purgatory, or: Lone Wolf on TV

picture: The Lone Wolf Legacy, Part 1 – Baby Cart in Purgatory, or: Lone Wolf on TV

The first installment in Tom Mes's three-part trek in the footsteps of Lone Wolf and Cub, post-Baby Cart.

Historical Dictionary of Japanese Cinema

picture: Historical Dictionary of Japanese Cinema

An exclusive spotlight on Jasper Sharp's brand new, indispensable reference work.

January 1, 2012

Midnight Eye’s Best (and Worst) of 2011

picture: Midnight Eye’s Best (and Worst) of 2011

Tom Mes and Jasper Sharp weigh in with their pros and cons of the year 2011.

September 1, 2011

Japanese Independent Cinema Travels to Toronto: The 3rd Shinsedai Cinema Festival

picture: Japanese Independent Cinema Travels to Toronto: The 3rd Shinsedai Cinema Festival

Marc Saint-Cyr reports from the 2011 edition of Canada's showcase for the vital Japanese indie scene.

May 13, 2011

Post-Human Nightmares – The World of Japanese Cyberpunk Cinema

picture: Post-Human Nightmares – The World of Japanese Cyberpunk Cinema

From Sogo Ishii to Yoshihiro Nishimura, by way of Akira and Tetsuo - cyberpunk remains a vital genre in Japanese film. An in-depth exploration by Mark Player.

March 14, 2011

The Independent Spirit of CALF and the Rise of Alternative Anime

picture: The Independent Spirit of CALF and the Rise of Alternative Anime

The past decade has seen the rise of a new generation of independent animators in Japan. Catherine Munroe Hotes explores the lay of the land.

January 20, 2011

Midnight Eye’s Best (and Worst) of 2010

picture: Midnight Eye’s Best (and Worst) of 2010

The makers of Midnight Eye reveal their favourites and dislikes in Japanese cinema of the year 2010.

The Best of 2010 – Poll Results

picture: The Best of 2010 – Poll Results

You, the Midnight Eye readers, have spoken... These Japanese films are your favourites of the year 2010.

September 30, 2010

Criminal Dance: The Early Films of Butoh Master Tatsumi Hijikata

picture: Criminal Dance: The Early Films of Butoh Master Tatsumi Hijikata

Chris MaGee chronicles the cinematic legacy of butoh dance pioneer Tatsumi Hijikata, who worked with Donald Richie, Takahiko Iimura and Teruo Ishii among others.

June 1, 2010

Yasuzo Masumura: Passion and Excess

picture: Yasuzo Masumura: Passion and Excess

Tom Mes dissects the twisted works of Yasuzo Masumura, director of The Blind Beast, Red Angel and Giants and Toys, and a key influences on Japan's new wave.

March 29, 2010

Midnight Eye’s Best of the Decade

picture: Midnight Eye’s Best of the Decade

The makers of Midnight Eye bring you their best ten Japanese films from the first decade of the 21st century.

The Best of the Decade – Poll Results

picture: The Best of the Decade – Poll Results

Midnight Eye readers choose their favourite Japanese film of the decade.

January 25, 2010

Midnight Eye’s Best (and Worst) of 2009

picture: Midnight Eye’s Best (and Worst) of 2009

Our contributors give you their likes and dislikes of the past year in Japanese film.

The Best of 2009 – Poll Results

picture: The Best of 2009 – Poll Results

The votes are in! And the winner is...

November 10, 2009

Nobuhiko Obayashi, Vagabond of Time

picture: Nobuhiko Obayashi, Vagabond of Time

In Japan, he is the director of such perennial favorites as House and The Girl Who Leapt Through Time. In the rest of the world, he is all but unknown. Join us in discovering the unique world of a stylish, fascinating, versatile filmmaker. By Paul Roquet.

August 25, 2009

A History of Sex Education Films in Japan Part 3: The Seiten Films

picture: A History of Sex Education Films in Japan Part 3: The Seiten Films

Roland Domenig delivers the third chapter in his in-depth history of the Japanese sex education film.

July 13, 2009

Yubari Hangs Steadily On

picture: Yubari Hangs Steadily On

In its second year after rising from its ashes, the Yubari International Fantastic Film Festival confirms its importance in discovering new talent. Includes an interview with director Tsuki Inoue. By Eija Niskanen

February 5, 2009

The Best of 2008 – Poll Results

picture: The Best of 2008 – Poll Results

The votes are in! And the winner is...

February 2, 2009

Midnight Eye’s Best (and Worst) of 2008

picture: Midnight Eye’s Best (and Worst) of 2008

The new year wouldn't be the new year without the traditional best and worst lists from our contributors.

December 15, 2008

Jun Ichikawa – An Appreciation

picture: Jun Ichikawa – An Appreciation

Mark Schilling pays tribute to director Jun Ichikawa, director of Tony Takitani, Tokyo Marigold and many others, who died September 19, 2008.

August 22, 2008

Behind the Pink Curtain

picture: Behind the Pink Curtain

An in-depth and exclusive spotlight on Behind the Pink Curtain, the groundbreaking book by Jasper Sharp.

June 17, 2008

Go! Go! Yubari

picture: Go! Go! Yubari

Tom Mes sends a postcard from the resurrection of one of Asia's finest festivals, the Yubari International Fantastic Film Festival.

May 17, 2008

Tomoyasu Murata and Company

picture: Tomoyasu Murata and Company

A profile of one of Japan's most original animators, with a complete filmography. By Catherine Munroe Hotes.

January 18, 2008

The Best of 2007 – Poll Results

picture: The Best of 2007 – Poll Results

The votes are in! And the winner is...

Midnight Eye’s Best (and Worst) of 2007

picture: Midnight Eye’s Best (and Worst) of 2007

It's that time again. We put our heads together to bring you our favourite and and not-so-favourite Japanese films of the past year.

May 14, 2007

Eiichi Kudo’s Guerrilla Filmmaking

picture: Eiichi Kudo’s Guerrilla Filmmaking

Robin Gatto shines a much needed light on an obscure master of the chanbara film, Eiichi Kudo, director of The Great Killing and the original 13 Assassins.

March 22, 2007

A History of Sex Education Films in Japan Part 2: The Post-War Years and the Basukon Eiga

picture: A History of Sex Education Films in Japan Part 2: The Post-War Years and the Basukon Eiga

Roland Domenig continues his trek through the obscure history of the Japanese sex education film, in part 2 of this ongoing series.

February 11, 2007

Mikio Naruse – A Modern Classic

picture: Mikio Naruse – A Modern Classic

Eija Niskanen provides the perfect introduction to the work of this great creator of modest but extremely resonant films.

January 16, 2007

The Best of 2006 – Poll Results

picture: The Best of 2006 – Poll Results

The readers have spoken. Your favourite Japanese film of 2006 is...

Midnight Eye’s Best (and Worst) of 2006

picture: Midnight Eye’s Best (and Worst) of 2006

The makers of Midnight Eye get together to give your their traditional year-end lists.

December 29, 2006

Company Matsuo and the World of Japanese Adult Video

picture: Company Matsuo and the World of Japanese Adult Video

An in-depth look at the world of the japanese porn industry, guided by one of its most prolific practicioners, Company Matsuo, the master of hamedori. By Johannes Schönherr.

December 1, 2006

A History of Sex Education Films in Japan Part 1: The Pre-War Years

picture: A History of Sex Education Films in Japan Part 1: The Pre-War Years

Special guest Roland Domenig illuminates another dark corner of Japanese film history, in the first of a four-part series.

October 13, 2006

Pia Film Festival 2006

picture: Pia Film Festival 2006

Eija Niskanen reports from Tokyo's annual platform for new filmmakers and finds that this crucial festival remains as pioneering as ever.

September 29, 2006

Tiger! Tiger! Burning Bright – R.I.P. Tetsuro Tamba, 1922 – 2006

picture: Tiger! Tiger! Burning Bright – R.I.P. Tetsuro Tamba, 1922 – 2006

Ubiquitous yet unique - "Japan's Super Actor" remembered.

September 13, 2006

Nippon Connection’s Anti-Canon

picture: Nippon Connection’s Anti-Canon

Special guest Abé Mark Nornes discusses the importance and significance of Frankfurt's delightful Nippon Connection festival, and what it says about our changing views on Japanese film.

July 11, 2006

Recent Film Policy and the Fate of Film Criticism in Japan

picture: Recent Film Policy and the Fate of Film Criticism in Japan

The Japanese government's attempts to support film may have some adverse effects, as special guest Aaron Gerow observes.

June 8, 2006

Hollywood Japan File

picture: Hollywood Japan File

A hard look at the more obscure recesses of the rich history of foreign films about Japan, packing in low budget film noir, Ed Wood-penned monster movies and Bollywood musicals. By Matt Kaufman.

May 3, 2006

Six Degrees of Kiefer Sutherland: The World of Anime Voice Acting

picture: Six Degrees of Kiefer Sutherland: The World of Anime Voice Acting

Anime authority Jonathan Clements kicks off our series of special guest features, with an odyssey through the weird world of anime voice acting.

March 7, 2006

The Best of 2005 – Poll Results

picture: The Best of 2005 – Poll Results

Midnight Eye readers choose their favourite Japanese film of 2005.

January 22, 2006

Midnight Eye’s Best (and Worst) of 2005

picture: Midnight Eye’s Best (and Worst) of 2005

The Midnight Eye folks present their lists of a year's worth of highs and lows.

December 22, 2005

The Death of J-Horror?

picture: The Death of J-Horror?

It has a rich past and an active present, but what about the future? A descent into the dark waters of Japanese horror film history, by Nicholas Rucka.

Strange Tales of Nobuo Nakagawa

picture: Strange Tales of Nobuo Nakagawa

Jason Gray and Tom Mes explore the length and breadth of the works by Japan's master of the macabre.

November 22, 2005

Light from the Rising Sun: Treasures of Japanese Silent Cinema at Pordenone

picture: Light from the Rising Sun: Treasures of Japanese Silent Cinema at Pordenone

Alexander Jacoby delves into the silent past of Japan's oldest film studio and uncovers rare gems by the likes of Ozu, Shimizu, Naruse and Ito.

October 24, 2005

Remembering Kenji Misumi

picture: Remembering Kenji Misumi

A salute to one of the genre's late masters, as remembered by those who worked with him. By Robin Gatto and Tom Mes.

September 21, 2005

The Pia Film Festival and Jishu Eiga

picture: The Pia Film Festival and Jishu Eiga

A look at the impact and legacy of the PIA Film Festival and Japan's thriving 'jishu eiga' indie scene. By Jasper Sharp.

August 25, 2005

Underground Cinema and the Art Theatre Guild

picture: Underground Cinema and the Art Theatre Guild

A deeper look at the close symbiotic relationship between New Wave bastion ATG and Tokyo's cinematic underground of the 1960s. By Go Hirasawa.

June 15, 2005

Iron Man: The Cinema of Shinya Tsukamoto

picture: Iron Man: The Cinema of Shinya Tsukamoto

An exclusive and in-depth spotlight on the book Iron Man: The Cinema of Shinya Tsukamoto by Tom Mes.

May 11, 2005

The Rise and Fall of Rokuro Mochizuki

picture: The Rise and Fall of Rokuro Mochizuki

Join us as we dive headlong into the sordid world of one of the major Japanese filmmakers of the past decade, who is only just starting to get his due in the West. By Tom Mes.

April 12, 2005

A Tribute to Kihachi Okamoto

picture: A Tribute to Kihachi Okamoto

Midnight Eye salutes the multi-faceted talents of director Kihachi Okamoto - of Sword of Doom, Human Bullet and Red Lion fame - who passed away at the age of 81.

March 6, 2005

The Best of 2004 – Poll Results

picture: The Best of 2004 – Poll Results

Midnight Eye readers' favourite Japanese film of 2004 is...

February 28, 2005

Tomu Uchida at Tokyo FILMeX 2004

picture: Tomu Uchida at Tokyo FILMeX 2004

Jasper Sharp, Jason Gray and Tom Mes attended the Tokyo FILMeX festival's groundbreaking retrospective of the fascinating works of Tomu Uchida.

January 28, 2005

Midnight Eye’s Best (and Worst) of 2004

picture: Midnight Eye’s Best (and Worst) of 2004

Our editors and contributors choose their annual likes and dislikes from a year's worth of Japanese films.

November 29, 2004

Japanese Anime and the Animated Cartoon

picture: Japanese Anime and the Animated Cartoon

Anime boom? Globalisation of Japanese pop culture? Anime has been around us for a long, long time. And not just in the vicinity of Tokyo, Michael Arnold argues.

The Midnight Eye Guide to New Japanese Film

picture: The Midnight Eye Guide to New Japanese Film

An exclusive spotlight on the book The Midnight Eye Guide to New Japanese Film by Tom Mes and Jasper Sharp.

November 1, 2004

Pioneers of Japanese Animation at PIFan – Part 2

picture: Pioneers of Japanese Animation at PIFan – Part 2

Part 2 of Jasper Sharp's odyssey into the early days of Japanese animation.

September 23, 2004

Pioneers of Japanese Animation at PIFan – Part 1

picture: Pioneers of Japanese Animation at PIFan – Part 1

When anime was in its infancy, a handful of men made an indelible mark on the genre. Jasper Sharp investigates.

August 4, 2004

Yusaku Matsuda: Lost Rebel

picture: Yusaku Matsuda: Lost Rebel

In praise of the life and career of one Japan's best-loved movie stars, who remains a virtual unknown abroad: Yusaku Matsuda. By Tom Mes.

June 28, 2004

The Anticipation of Freedom: Art Theatre Guild and Japanese Independent Cinema

picture: The Anticipation of Freedom: Art Theatre Guild and Japanese Independent Cinema

Roland Domenig's in-depth look at the history of the production house whose name is synonymous with the Japanese New Wave.

May 17, 2004

A Salute to Tomio Aoki

picture: A Salute to Tomio Aoki

Midnight Eye pays tribute to an actor whose career spanned the length of Japanese film history.

April 15, 2004

Hiroshi Shimizu – Silent Master of the Japanese Ethos

picture: Hiroshi Shimizu – Silent Master of the Japanese Ethos

One of the most overlooked giants of Japanese cinema gets his due with this encompassing look at some of his early classics. By William M. Drew.

March 10, 2004

Samurai Cinema 101

picture: Samurai Cinema 101

Brush up your knowledge of samurai films with our introduction to Japanese cinema's most enduring genre. By Nicholas Rucka.

The Best of 2003 – Poll Results

picture: The Best of 2003 – Poll Results

Midnight Eye readers select their favourite Japanese films of 2003.

February 16, 2004

Midnight Eye’s Best (and Worst) of 2003

picture: Midnight Eye’s Best (and Worst) of 2003

We at Midnight Eye reveal our favourite and not so favourite Japanese films of 2003.

December 8, 2003

The World of Yasujiro Ozu

picture: The World of Yasujiro Ozu

Midnight Eye celebrates the centenary of "the most Japanese of directors".

November 5, 2003

Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival 2003 Report

picture: Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival 2003 Report

Jasper Sharp writes in from one of the world's most respected documentary film festivals and discovers the real cutting edge of Japanese cinema.

September 20, 2003

Out of This World – Set Report

picture: Out of This World – Set Report

On set with director Junji Sakamoto for a recreation of post-war Japan that stars Peter Mullan, Joe Odagiri and Sho Aikawa. By Jason Gray.

August 4, 2003

PIFan 2003 Report

picture: PIFan 2003 Report

The inside scoop on one of Asia's fastest-growing and most interesting film festivals: the Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival. By Jasper Sharp.

July 1, 2003

Agitator: The Cinema of Takashi Miike

picture: Agitator: The Cinema of Takashi Miike

An exclusive spotlight on the book Agitator: The Cinema of Takashi Miike by Tom Mes.

May 12, 2003

Beyond Anime: A Brief Guide to Experimental Japanese Animation

picture: Beyond Anime: A Brief Guide to Experimental Japanese Animation

A huge world of stunning Japanese animation exists beyond what we know as anime. Jasper Sharp uncovers some true gems.

February 17, 2003

The Best of 2002 – Poll Results

picture: The Best of 2002 – Poll Results

Midnight Eye readers' favourite Japanese films of 2002.

January 22, 2003

In Memoriam Kinji Fukasaku (1930 – 2003)

picture: In Memoriam Kinji Fukasaku (1930 – 2003)

Our humble tribute to one of Japanese cinema's true greats.

Midnight Eye’s Best (and Worst) of 2002

picture: Midnight Eye’s Best (and Worst) of 2002

Midnight Eye's lists of the best, and worst, in Japanese cinema of 2002.

July 16, 2002

Forgotten Fragments: An Introduction to Japanese Silent Cinema

picture: Forgotten Fragments: An Introduction to Japanese Silent Cinema

Benshi narrator Midori Sawato leads us on our second foray into the world of silent cinema. By Jasper Sharp and Michael Arnold.

March 7, 2002

A Page of Madness

picture: A Page of Madness

Jasper Sharp looks at a silent classic that remains startling and fresh today.

February 28, 2002

The Best of 2001 – Poll Results

picture: The Best of 2001 – Poll Results

Midnight Eye readers choose their favourite Japanese films of 2001.

January 23, 2002

Midnight Eye’s Best (and Worst) of 2001

picture: Midnight Eye’s Best (and Worst) of 2001

Tom Mes and Jasper Sharp reveal their favourite Japanese films of 2001.

July 24, 2001

The Concert Films of Sogo Ishii

picture: The Concert Films of Sogo Ishii

The early 80s punk scene, as captured on camera by one Sogo Ishii. By Tom Mes.

May 29, 2001

The Film School of Tokyo

picture: The Film School of Tokyo

Tom Mes visits the training ground of Japan's future filmmakers.

March 10, 2001

Tetsuji Takechi: Erotic Nightmares

picture: Tetsuji Takechi: Erotic Nightmares

Though his legacy as the godfather of pink film remains, Tetsuji Takechi's career is shrouded in mystery. Jasper Sharp unravels the enigma.