Japanese Media - NIU - Foreign Languages & Literatures

Learning Center

Japanese Media

Alphabetical listing here

JA 1: THE JAPAN EXPERIENCE: TOKYO TO TAIWAN. Ride the bullet train at 160 miles per hour, read your fortune at a Buddhist shrine, tour the peace museum in Nagasaki, watch a snake and a mongoose fight. Experience Japan. Color. 47 min. English. VHS.

JA 2a: LIVING TREASURES OF JAPAN. (A National Geographic Video.) A tribute to artists who preserve the richness and beauty of ancient Japanese traditions. Amid the clamor of technological and economic success, a reverence for age, custom, and tradition endures in Japanese culture. 1995. Color. 59 min. English. Copy 1 — VHS.

JA 2b: LIVING TREASURES OF JAPAN. Copy 2 — VHS.

JA 3: THE JAPANESE ECONOMIC BUBBLE. The frenetic growth of the Japanese economy in the 1980s fueled an explosion in share and property prices; share prices rose four-fold in four years, and at one point property prices were so high that, in theory at least, the entire landmass of Canada could have been bought by selling the ground of the Imperial Palace. 1993. Color. 40 min. English. VHS.

JA 4: JAPAN. Jane Seymour examines how Japan's ancient traditions have blended with new technology and the modern trends to shape the society and its people today. 1987. Color and B&W. 4 hr. total. Each VHS tape is 1 hr. English. (Four VHS tapes.)

I. THE ELECTRONIC TRIBE. Focuses on the contrasts between the present-day life of factory workers and the inherited religious and rural customs still found in the ordinary home.

II. THE SWORD AND THE CRYSANTHEMUM. A close look at what the West sees as a paradox in Japanese socety, as represented by the Samurai warrior, who combined an appreciation of beauty and high culture with fighting aggression.

III. THE LEGACY OF THE SHOGUN. Looks at the continuing effect of the 17th-century Shogun philosophy and hierarchy. It also explores the law-abiding nature of contemporary Japan where Tokyo has one of the lowest crime rates in the world.

IV. A PROPER PLACE IN THE WORLD. Looks at Japan's intervention on the world's stage during the 20th century and its likely future as world economic superpower. It exploes the reason why Japan went to such lengths during World War II to win respect and ward off encroaching imperialism.

JA 5: LEARN JAPANESE FOR BUSINESS. Introducing the real techniques for success in Japan, including language, customs, gestures, and expressions. 1986. Color. 1 hr. 10 min. English and Japanese. VHS.

JA 6: WARRIOR TRADITION. (A History Channel Documentary.) Warrior tradition is the ultimate examination of the history, culture and legacy of Japan's storied warriors. See how the nation was continually wracked by civil wars, with the only peace coming when the most powerful samurais were able to claim the title of shogun and rule with an iron hand over their cowed adversaries. Explore the strict code of bushido these ancient warriors lived by, and hear period accounts of the greatest battles and most storied fighters. 1997. Color. 1 hr. 50 min. English. VHS.

JA 7: JAPAN'S ECONOMY: BURSTING THE BUBBLE. In this program, noted correspondent Paul Solman inquires into how Japan's star economy fizzled out — and why America deceived itself regarding Japan Inc. 1999. Color. 13 min. English. VHS.

JA 8: CUSTOMS AND MANNERS: THE FABRIC OF JAPANESE SOCIETY. This enlightening look at theis group-oriented culture presents a true insight into the Japanese people's sensitivity to others and its importance to society. The relationships between people are of primary importance in Japanese society. Forms of politeness, the style of decision-making, occasions for gift giving and ways of socializing are all important elements if Japanese business and social life. 1989. Color. 29 min. English. VHS.

JA 9: THE TALE OF GENJI. This faithful adaption of Murasaki Shikibu's literary masterpiece evokes the spirit and grandeur of the Heian era — a time when Japan passionately pursued the finer arts of music and literature. 1987. Color. 1 hr. 50 min. Japanese with English subtitles. VHS.

JA 10: INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS ETIQUETTE: VOLUME 6, JAPAN WEST MEETS EAST AND MISCOMMUNICATES. Part of the International trade videotape series. Seminars for people who do business overseas. (Includes booklet on CD.) 41 min. English. VHS.

JA 11: MABOROSI. Haunted by the mysterious loss of her grandmother many years ago, a beautiful young mother struggles to come to terms with the sudden loss of her husband. 1998. Color. 1 hr. 50 min. Japanese with English subtitles. Special features include: American and Japanese trailers, director's profile, filmography, and thoughts on the making of the film. DVD.

JA 12: TABOO. Set in 1865 Kyoto, the story centers on a samurai militia unit that fiercely defends the Shogunate. Desperately in need of new recruits, the unit enlists 18-year-old Kano, a fearless warrior whose mesmerizing good looks immediately intrigue his fellow students. 1999. Color. 1 hr. 40 min. Japanese/Japanese with English subtitles. Special features include: Cast and crew profiles and trailers. DVD.

JA 13: AFTER LIFE. In Kor-eda's thought-provoking vision, the newly deceased find themselves in a way station somewhere between heaven and Earth. With the help of dedicated caseworkers, each soul is given three days to choose one cherished memory from their life that they will relive for eternity. 1998. Color. 1 hr. 58 min. Japanese with English subtitles. Special features include: Japanese and American trailers, production notes, weblinks, director's profile, and more. DVD.

JA 14a: RASHOMON. Brimming with action while incisively examining the nature of truth, Rashomon is perhaps the finest film ever to investigate the philosophy of justice. Through the ingenious use of the camera and flashbacks, director Akira Kurosawa reveals the complexities of human nature as four people recount different versions of the story of a man’s murder and the rape of his wife. 1950. B&W. 1 hr. 23 min. Japanese with English subtitles. Copy 1 – VHS.

JA 14b: RASHOMON. Criterion Collection Production.1950. B&W. 1 hr. 23 min. Japanese with optional English subtitles. Special features include: New high-definition digital transfer, with restored image and sound, commentary by Japanese-film historian Donald Richie, video introduction by director Robert Altman, excerpts from The World of Kazuo Miyagawa, a documentary film about Rashomon’s cinematographer, reprints of the Rashomon source stories, Ryunosuke Akutagawa’s “In a Grove” and “Rashomon,” Akira Kurosawa on Rashomon: a reprinted excerpt from his book Something Like An Autobiography, optional English-dubbed soundtrack, theatrical trailer, new and improved English subtitle translation, optimal image quality: RSDL dual-layer edition. Copy 2 – DVD.

JA 15: DREAMS. Comprised of eight episodes rich in imagery and insight, it explores the cost of war, the perils of nuclear power and especially humankind’s need to harmonize with nature. 1990. Color. 2 hr. Japanese/Japanese with English/French/Spanish/Portuguese/Japanese/Chinese/Thai/Korean subtitles. Special features include: Director's film highlights. DVD.

JA 16: ESCAFLOWNE. Hitomi Kanzaki is tired of life. Depressed and despondent, she wishes that she could just fade away, to make the pain of living stop hurting. Her pain resonates with another on the world of Gaea, and when her wish is granted, she finds herself in a strange land. 2000. Color. 1 hr. 36 min. Japanese/English with optional English subtitles. Special features include: Realtime storyboard track. DVD.

JA 17: THE DIMENSION TRAVELERS. Freakish events jolt Midori from the life if an ordinary schoolgirl. Mysterious soldiers appear to terrorize her, declaring her a dangerous mental patient. Her own family seems to agree. Her best friend claims to be perfectly sane, but from another dimension. Is Midori losing her mind? Or is she a dimension traveler, with powers that could blow the universe apart? 1998. Color. 1 hr. 35 min. Japanese/English with Japanese/English subtitles. Special features include: Meet the travelers (character pages), Chiharu Niiyama bio, trivia, trailer, sneek peeks, script, photo gallery, cast and production credits, and more. DVD.

JA 18: RINGU. A mysterious video has been linked to a number of deaths, and when an inquisitive journalist finds the tape and views it herself, she sets in motion a chain of events that puts her own life in danger. 1998. Color. 1 hr. 36 min. Japanese/Japanese with English/Spanish/French subtitles. DVD.

JA 19: SPIRITED AWAY. Spirited Away is a wondrous fantasy about a young girl, Chihiro, trapped in a strange new world of spirits. When her parent undergoes a mysterious transformation, she must call upon the courage she never know she had to free herself and return her family to the outside world. 2002. Japanese/English with optional English/French/Spanish subtitles. Special features include: Behind the microphone, select storyboard-to-scene comparison, Nippon Television special, and original Japanese Trailers. DVD. (Two-disc set.)

I: Feature film. Color. 2 hr. 5 min.

II: Special features: Introduction by John Lasseter; The Art of Spirited Away; The Nippon Television Special - The Making of The Film; Select Storyboard-to-Scene Comparison; Behind The Microphone with Suzanne Pleshette and Jason Marsden, and original Japanese Trailers.

JA 20: PRINCESS MONONOKE. Princess Mononoke is a true epic by Japan's master animator Hayao Miyazaki. While protecting his village from a rampaging boar-god, the warrior Ashitaka is cursed with a rapidly spreading scar that threatens to end his life. Seeking a cure and a reason for the animal-god's attack, he journeys into the sacred depths of the Great Forest Spirit's realm. On the edge of this once serene forest, however, the Tatara clan have begun to destroy the surrounding land to produce iron. In retaliation, San, the adopted daughter of the wolf-god Moro, has begun raiding the Tatara fortress to stop their encroachment. Soon Ashitaka is caught in the middle and must stop the war between the humans and the forest dwellers before they destroy each other. 1999. Color. 1 hr. 14 min. Japanese/French/English. Special features include: Featurette and trailer. DVD.

JA 21: KIKI'S DELIVERY SERVICE. Set in a time when airships still ruled the skies and World War II never happened, Kiki.s Delivery Service is a coming-of-age tale that explores the difficulties of being a young witch. On her thirteenth birthday, budding witch Kiki is in a hurry to leave her family and establish her independence. With only her talking pet cat as a companion, Kiki is attracted to the bright lights of a beautiful port city, but finds that making friends is not easy. Using her skill at riding a broom to start an express delivery service, Kiki quickly discovers that she cannot take her unique abilities for granted. The film is based on the book Majo No Takkyubin by Eiko Kadono. 1989. Color. 105 min. Japanese/English/French/Spanish with optional English subtitles. Special features include: Introduction to the movie, behind the microphone, stroyboard, and trailers. DVD. (Two-disc set).

I: Feature film. Color. 1 hr. 45min.

II: Special features: Introduction by John Lasseter; Complete Storyboards; Behind The Microphone with Kirsten Dunst and Phil Harman, and original Japanese trailers. DVD.

JA 22: IKIRU. Akira Kurosawa moved outside his usual stylistic preoccupations to make this poetic and emotionally powerful work about a gravely ill, quiet and dignified civil servant who vows to find grace and purpose in his final months, through the building of a public park. It's a thoughtful, contemplative, lyrical work centered by Takashi Shimura's virtuoso performance. 1952. Japanese/Japanese with English subtitles. DVD. (Two-disc set.)

I: Feature film. B&W. 2 hr. 23 min.

II: Special features: A Message from Akira Kurosawa: For Beautiful Movies (2000): an 81-minute documentary produced by Kurosawa Production Inc., featuring interviews with the director on the sets of his later films; A 41-minute documentary on Ikiru from the series Akira Kurosawa: It is Wonderful to Create, including interviews with Kurosawa, writer Hideo Oguni, actor Takashi Shimura, and many others.

JA 23: ANIMATED CLASSICS OF JAPANESE LITERATURE. This DVD contains two films. 1986. Color. 1 hr. 18 min. Japanese/Japanese with English subtitles. Special features include: Trailers, art gallery, scripts, production credits, and more. DVD.

1) "The Harp of Burma: Parts 1 & 2." Near the end of World War II, a soldier is missing and presumed dead by his captured comrades. A mysterious monk may hold the key to his disappearance, but the monk hides painful secrets, the revelation of which will forever change the lives of prisoners.

2) "Season of the Sun." A boxer and a beautiful woman share a tumultuous relationship in post WWII Japan. Will love guarantee them a happy life, or will pride tear them apart?

JA 24: ANIMATED CLASSICS OF JAPANESE LITERATURE. This DVD contains two films. 1986. Color. 1 hr. 18 min. Japanese/Japanese with English subtitles. Special features include: Trailers, art gallery, scripts, production credits, and more. DVD.

1) "Botchan: Parts 1 & 2." A Tokyo teacher moves to an isolated town, where he is tormented by the local students and faculty alike. Hilarity abounds as he struggles to adapt and learns a few surprising lessons about himself.

2) "Student Days." Young Kenkichi is determined to enter a prestigious school. He sacrifices every waking hour to his studies, but at what cost?

JA 25: ANIMATED CLASSICS OF JAPANESE LITERATURE. This DVD contains three films. 1986. Color. 1 hr. 15 min. Japanese/Japanese with English subtitles. Special features include: Trailers, art gallery, scripts, production credits, and more. DVD.

1) "The Izu Dancer." A young student falls in love with a traveling dancer. Their love is sincere, but social differences may tear them apart.

2) "The Dancing Girl." A Japanese man working in turn of the century Berlin fathers a child with an impoverished dancer. Together, they strive to build a home and family, but political difficulties force the father to choose between his career and the woman he loves.

3) "A Ghost Story." A blind lute player chants the old legend of a great battle between the Genji and Keiki families. His music attracts the attention of the Heiki dead, whose ghosts request a performance.

JA 26: ANIMATED CLASSICS OF JAPANESE LITERATURE. This DVD contains two films. 1986. Color. 1 hr. 15 min. Japanese/Japanese with English subtitles. Special features include: Trailers, art gallery, scripts, production credits, and more. DVD.

1) "The Sound of Waves: Part 1 & 2." A poor fisherman falls in love with the daughter of the most powerful man in the village. To overcome this obstacle, he must prove his bravery on the arena he knows best, the ever-changing eternal sea.

2) Two friends are torn apart when one joins a gang, betraying the bond of trust between them. As they develop into individuals, will the capacity for forgiveness grow with them?

JA 27: LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA. Academy Award – winning director, Clint Eastwood presents the untold story of the Japanese soldiers who defended their homeland against invading American forces during World War II. With little defense other than sheer will and the volcanic rock of Iwo Jima itself, the unprecedented tactics of General Kuribayashi and his men transform what was predicted to be a swift defeat into nearly 40 days of heroic and resourceful combat. DVD. (Two-Disc Set).

I. Feature film. Japanese with English subtitles. Other subtitles available in French and Spanish. 2006. Color. 2 hr. 20 min.

II. Special Features: Making of Letters from Iwo Jima, The faces of combat, Images from the frontline, November 2006 World Premiere at Budo-kan in Tokyo, and November 2006 Press Conference.

JA 28: HIROSHIMA MON AMOUR. Criterion collection Production. A French actress (Emmanuelle Riva) and a Japanese architect (Eiji Okada) engage in a brief, intense affair in post war Hiroshima, their consuming fascination impelling them to exorcise their own scarred memories of love and suffering. Utilizing an innovative flashback structure and Academy Award-nominated screenplay by novelist Marguerite Duras, director Alan Resnais delicately weaves past and present, personal pain and public anguish, in this moody masterwork. 1959. 1 hr. 30 min. French with optional English subtitles. B&W. Monaural. DVD. Special features include: New high-definition digital transfer, with restored image and sound, audio commentary by film historian Peter Cowie, vintage interviews with director Alain Resnais and actress Emmanuelle Riva, new video interview with Emmanuelle Riva, excerpts from Marguerite Duras’ screenplay annotations, narrated over clips from the film, isolated music and effects track, new and improved English subtitle translation, optimal image quality: RSDL dual-layer edition. Also available: an illustrated 32-page booklet, featuring an essay by critic Kent Jones, excerpts from a 1959 Cashiers du Cinéma round-table discussion about the film, an essay on composer Giovanni Fusco by Russell Lack, and character portraits by Duras.

JA 29: SILENCE [CHINMOKU]. Adapted from the renowned novel by Shusaku Endo, Masashiro Shinoda’s 1971 film Silence (Chinmoku, co-written with Endo) explores the violent cultural conflict amid the arrival of the Jesuit missionaries in 17th-century Japan. Shinoda’s excellent direction – coupled with a pensive score by the legendary Toru Takemitsu – gives cinematic expression to an inner spiritual paradox, and imbues with religious mystery a landscape that seems already sentient with wind, rain and light. 1971. 2 hr. 10 min. Color. Optional English subtitles. Region 2 (PAL). DVD.Includes a 20-page booklet with a new essay by writer Doug Cummings. Requires a multi-regional player.

JA 30: ANIME UNCOVERED. An in-depth look into the fascinating world of anime: How anime is made - from drawings through to the acting and music; its origins in Japan; its sources; and its global influence on culture worldwide. 24 min. B&W and Color. English. DVD.