The Film Industry : Japan

In the past, the term Orient, meaning Eastern in Latin, was used to categorised the East, in relation to Europe. Originally the term Orient referred to anything that belonged to the Eastern part of the world such as the Middle East. In English, the term is normally associated with the whole continent of Asia. In the recent years, Orient is conjured as China, Japan, Korea, and other Southeast Asian countries. However now the term is not so often used anymore.

In the beginning period of the Japanese film industry, the country’s films were silent films with a number of them as ghost stories. Other than ghost stories, the samurai was featured as the hero in the film. Japanese films were usually about fighting, either as the samurai or war films. Eventually they began romantic films after the World Wars. Japanese filmmakers eventually have the tendency of producing pink films and also films of horror genre.

As the cinema audience started to drop due to the spread of television, the Japanese cartoon animation, anime, began in the 1970’s however gained popularity due to new seasonable animated movies being released based on the country’s popular anime television series. Despite anime already being very popular in the country, it was Hayao Miyazaki’s fantasy film, Spirited Away that made a breakthrough all over the world, winning several awards. The movie was approached by Walt Disney Pictures to be translated into English for the American and English speaking audiences. In my opinion, this film approach makes Japan unique in the industry.


Hill, C. (n.d.). About Japan: A Teacher’s Resource | What’s the Matter with Saying ‘The Orient’? | Japan Society. [online] Available at: [Accessed 24 Jun. 2016].

McDonald, K. (2006). Reading a Japanese film. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press.

Reference. (2016). What is the difference between “Asian” and “Oriental” geographically?. [online] Available at: [Accessed 24 Jun. 2016].

Rockwell, K. (2012). What is Oriental?. [online] Available at: [Accessed 24 Jun. 2016].

Wikipedia. (2016). Cinema of Japan. [online] Available at: [Accessed 24 Jun. 2016].

Wikipedia. (2016). Spirited Away. [online] Available at: [Accessed 24 Jun. 2016].




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