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Japanese Horror, Science Fiction and Fantasy Cinema

Leena Eerolainen
language: Finnish
subtitles: Polish, English, Dutch, Finnish, Italian


The lecture is a set of three related sub-lectures which give a brief outline of Japanese horror, fantasy and science fiction cinema. The first part is a look at the history and specifics of such cinema during each of its boom periods. The second part deals with supernatural femininity and Japanese kaidan films, and the factors involved in making Japanese ghosts world-famous in the latter part of the 1990s. The third part delves deeper into science and scientific masculinity, exploring the way scientist characters in films have changed throughout the decades, reflecting the societal changes in Japan during that time.

Leena Eerolainen

Leena Eerolainen acquired her PhD in Japanese Studies in 2020 from University of Helsinki, writing about the role scientists play in the portrayal of national images in Japanese weird and horror cinema. Leena has also lectured widely about Japanese contemporary society and popular culture at the University of Helsinki. She has spent three years in Japan starting as an exchange high school student, and later at Waseda University. She is one of the founders of Helsinki Cine Aasia film festival. Currently Leena holds a manager-level position in a technology consulting company, supporting Japanese clients in the Nordic market.


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Further reading

Nihon eiga to sengo no shinwa日本映画と戦後の神話 [Japanese films and postwar legends] (2000), Inuhiko Yomota,四方田犬彦, Tōkyō: Iwanami shoten

The Menace from the South Seas: Honda Ishirō’s Godzilla (1954), Inuhiko Yomota, in Japanese Cinema: Texts and Contexts (2007), edited by Alastair Phillips and Julian Stringer. London and New York: Routledge

Tō-Ajia no kaikieiga wa sakihokoru 東アジアに怪奇映画は咲き誇る [East Asian kaiki eiga are blooming] (2011), Inuhiko Yomota, 四方田犬彦, Fukouka Unesco

J-horror: New Media’s Impact on Contemporary Japanese Horror, Mitsuyo Wada-Marciano in Horror of the Extreme: Changing Boundaries in Asian Cinema (2009), edited by Jinhee Choi and Mitsuyo Wada-Marciano. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press

Japanese Horror Cinema and Their American Remakes (2014), Valerie Wee, Routledge, New York

Kōittenron – Anime, tokusatsu, denki no hiroinzō 紅一点論―アニメ・特撮・伝記のヒロイン増 [A splash of scarlet: Heroines in anime, tokusatsu and legends] (2001), Minako Saitō 斎藤美奈子. Tokyo: Chikuma bunko

Enter the Dracula: The Silent Screams and Cultural Crossroads of Japanese and Hong Kong Cinema, Wayne Stein in Draculas, Vampires and Other Undead Forms: essays on gender, race and culture (2009), edited by John Browning, Edgar John and Caroline Joan Picart. Maryland, Toronto, New York, Plymouth: Scarecrow Press.

The Imagination of Disaster, Susan Sontag in Hibakusha Cinema: Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and the Nuclear Image in Japanese Film (2009) edited by Mick Broderick, London and New York: Routledge.

Bringing it all back home: family economy and generic exchange, Vivian Sobchack in The Dread of Difference (1996) edited by Keith Grant Barry. Austin: University of Texas Press

Onna ga neko ni naru toki 女が猫になるとき [When a woman becomes a cat] (2001), Miyoko Shimura, 志村三代子, Iconics – Eizōgaku 映像学

Daiei no yōkai eiga: ’Yōkai sanbusaku’ o chūshin ni 大映の妖怪映画「妖怪三部作を中心に」 [Daiei’s yōkai films: On its Yōkai trilogy], Miyoko Shimura, 志村三代子 in Kaiki to gensō e no kairo: Kaidan kara J-horaa e 怪奇と幻想への回路―階段からJホラーへ [Route to the weird and fantastic: From kaidan to J-horror] (2008), edited by Kazuki Uchiyama内山一樹, Tōkyō: Shinwasha

Nihon eiga no kaiki to gensō 日本映画の怪奇と幻想 [The fantastic and the weird of Japanese cinema], Kazuki Uchiyama, 内山一樹 in Kaiki to gensō e no kairo: Kaidan kara J-horaa e回帰と幻想への回路-怪談からJホラーへ [Route to the weird and fantastic: From kaidan to J-horror] (2008), edited by Kazuki Uchiyama 内山一樹, Tōkyō: Shinwasha

The Appeal of ‘Kaidan’, Tales of the Strange (2000), Noriko T. Reider, Asian Folklore Studies 59, no. 2

Archetypes in Japanese film – The Sociopolitical and Religious Significance of the Principal Heroes and Heroines (1989), Gregory Barrett, Cranbury: Associated University Presses

Oh the Horror! Genre and the Fantastic Mode in Japanese cinema (2016), Leena Eerolainen, Asia in Focus 3, http://asiainfocus.dk/issue-3/

Bodies of Memory: Narratives of War in Postwar Japanese Culture, 1945–1970 (2000), Yoshikuni Igarashi, Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press

The Mummy Complex: Kurosawa Kiyoshi’s Loft and J-horror, Chika Kinoshita in Horror of the Extreme: Changing Boundaries in Asian Cinema (2009) edited by Mitsuyo Wada-Marciano and Jinhee Choi, Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press

J-horaa ni yūrei kenkyū Jホラーの幽霊研究 [Ghost research of J-horror] (2010) Kiyoaki Ōshima, 大島清明.Tokyo: Akiyama shoten

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