New wave films -- Japan, Motion pictures -- Japan, Nagisa Oshima (1932- ), Shōhei Imamura (1926-2006), Yoshishige Yoshida (1933- )


In 1960 the Japanese film studio Shochiku Co. announced "the Ofuna New Wave" a revolution in Japanese filmmaking similar to France’s immensely popular Nouvelle Vague. This paper attempts to discover whether this Ofuna New Wave was simply a marketing ploy Shochiku developed in order to attract a larger youth market, or whether it constitutes a legitimate artistic movement along the lines of France’s New Wave. The methods used were a combination of primary research of four Shochiku films released in 1960 as well as secondary historical research regarding the studio and time period. The Shochiku films were then compared to films made earlier in Japan, as well as those from other studios in order to ascertain whether the Ofuna New Wave constitutes a cohesive movement or if other films might better exemplify the ideal of a Japanese filmmaking revolution. This study found that while many Shochiku directors would go on to create revolutionary works, this early Ofuna period does not constitute a legitimate break from the style occurring in other studios in Japan at the same time. Many scholars of Japanese film have accepted the Ofuna New Wave as a direct starting point for what has become known more generally as the Japanese New Wave. This paper offers an alternate history that, while not definitive, could be a starting point for further scholarship into early 1960s Japanese filmmaking.



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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.

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