1. Production of Japanese cinema and associated research

  2. Japanese cinema: A genre with a history

  3. Thomas Edison and the Lumiere brothers are known around the world as the fathers of cinema. Edison invented the kinetoscope, a device used for movie viewing, in 1891. In 1883, the Lumiere brothers invented the Lumiere Cinematograph, which enabled large numbers of viewers to enjoy cinema at one time by improving the kinetoscope and showing images on a screen. Two years later, the two brothers shot some footage nearby their photo equipment factory, showing it to the public for a fee on December 28, 1895, at the Salon Nandian in the basement of the Paris Grand Café. This day marked the birth of cinema in the world. Japan’s first movie was shown in the following year, in 1886. By around 1912, the road had been paved for mass production of movies, and Hollywood, regarded today as sacred ground for the movie industry, had been established. It was also at this time that Japanese entertainment company Nikkatsu Corporation was launched.

    Though at present the movie industry is led by the U.S., with institutions such as Hollywood and the Academy Awards, but in fact Japan produces more movies than Hollywood (the U.S.), and has a longer history in movies than another other Asian country. We should also not forget is that Japanese movies have long been recognized in international competitions for their excellent quality.
  4. Japanese cinema: recognized around the world for its subtlety and aesthetics

  5. If you ask a Japanese person what kind of movies constitute the typical Japanese movie, what kind of answer would you get? Though the answer may depend on age and sex, in light of the recent trends many people would likely answer “animation.”

     However, as noted above, if they consider the long history of Japanese cinema, Japanese people may change their answer.

    In fact, there are certainly groups of fans of Japanese cinema around the world, and older Japanese films--which are familiar to movie buffs--are used as materials on university entrance exams. In addition, the likes of Kenji Mizoguchi, Yasujiro Ozu, and Nagisa Ojima are used as prime material in cinematography textbooks alongside world-class masters such as Hitchcock, Jean Renoir, and Jean-Luc Godard.

    Japanese cinema is recognized around the world for its value and its high level. I believe it is not an exaggeration to say that it is an important role of Japanese cinema, which itself is a key aspect of Japanese culture, to encourage the succession and appreciation of Japanese people—who tend to be rather domestically-minded—for Japanese cinema, and to encourage the education and training of new generations of directors.


  1. About the Housen Cultural Foundation
  2. Research support and awards
  3. Preserving and restoring Japanese-style painting
  4. Production of Japanese cinema and associated research