Historical Dictionary of Japanese Cinema

3 September 2012
picture: Historical Dictionary of Japanese Cinema

Historical Dictionary of Japanese Cinema, the new book by Jasper Sharp

The cinema of Japan predates that of Russia, China, and India, and it has been able to sustain itself without outside assistance for over a century. Japanese cinema’s long history of production and considerable output has seen films made in a variety of genres, including melodramas, romances, gangster movies, samurai movies, musicals, horror films, and monster films. It has also produced some of the most famous names in the history of cinema: Akira Kurosawa, Hayao Miyazaki, Beat Takeshi, Toshiro Mifune, Godzilla, The Ring, Akira, Rashomon, and Seven Samurai.

Published by Scarecrow Press, The Historical Dictionary of Japanese Cinema is an introduction to and overview of the long history of Japanese cinema. It aims to provide an entry point for those with little or no familiarity with the subject, while it is organized so that scholars in the field will also be able to use it to find specific information. This is done through a detailed chronology, an introductory essay, and appendices of films, film studios, directors, and performers.

The cross-referenced dictionary entries cover key films, genres, studios, directors, performers, and other individuals. This book is an excellent access point for students, researchers, and anyone wanting to know more about Japanese cinema.

564 pages, ISBN-10: 0810857952, £59.95

More details on the Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group website.

picture: cover of Historical Dictionary of Japanese Cinema


The Historical Dictionary of Japanese Cinema is named Library Journal's Best Reference Book for 2011!


"Japanese film authority Sharp (Behind the Pink Curtain: The Complete History of Japanese Sex Cinema) opens this landmark reference with an extensive chronology, noting the political and economic events that facilitated the development and expansion of Japan’s film culture… A nearly 100-page, by-theme bibliography is a treasure trove of research leads. To date, the most comprehensive English guide; its depth and breadth make it vital for film-studies collections."
—Library Journal

"There’s no doubt he delivers in ways that internet searches don’t... it would take many shots in the internet dark to piece together any one of these entries, let alone over 500 pages of them… leaves most previous synoptic histories standing, not only because it’s more up-to-date but also because it ranges into pop-genre, anime and indie areas which its predecessors have chosen to shun."
—Tony Rayns, Sight and Sound, July 2012

"A chunky hardback on long-lasting paper, and with a spine that stands up to heavy punishment, this robust tome from Scarecrow Press has contents to match, designed to ensure that absolutely nobody has any excuse. Japanese film doesn’t have to be mysterious, and all the firm grounding you need is right here…
it’s not just about the anime people. In fact, while it’s salutary to see them there, the anime people are not what makes this book valuable to the anime scholar. It’s everything else – the clear, concise histories of major film studios; the run-downs of important film legislation; the blunt statements of censorship facts; the bios of major actors and producers, all of which build up a picture of the Japanese film world as a whole…If you expect to earn some kind of capital from writing about Japanese film – be it hard cash or a tutor’s praises, then you should pester your library to put this book on their film shelves."
—Jonathan Clements, Manga UK

"Jasper Sharp has worked assiduously in an unyielding format and you would have to be very well-read not to mine new information from this resource."
—Roger Macy, Japan Society


Historical Dictionary of Japanese Cinema (hardcover)

picture: cover of 'Historical Dictionary of Japanese Cinema'
Jasper Sharp
Scarecrow Press