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A Hundred Years of Japanese Film: A Concise History

4.04 of 5 stars 4.04  ·  rating details  ·  152 ratings  ·  9 reviews
The authoritative guide to Japanese film, completely revised and updated.

Now available in paperback for the first time, A Hundred Years of Japanese Film by Donald Richie, the foremost Western expert on Japanese film, gives us an incisive, detailed, and fully illustrated history of the country's cinema.

Called "the dean of Japan's arts critics" by Time magazine, Richie takes
Paperback, 319 pages
Published August 1st 2005 by Kodansha USA (first published January 4th 2002)
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What an incredible resource this book is. A detailed, scholarly, readable history of Japanese film from the silent days to the present (or the present of the book). The great value is that along with outlining the history of the Japanese cinema, you are given a fantastic historical and cultural context for the movies being discussed. Why was The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari enthusiastically embraced in Japan and not regarded as 'weird' in the way it was all over the world? The answer is g
Sep 16, 2014 Michael rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Film students, film buffs, Japanophiles
Recommended to Michael by: Walter Grutchfield
Donald Richie is an established expert on the cinema of Japan and this is basically his major work on the subject. According to the inside cover, at the time of publication Japan had been “his adopted home for over fifty years,” so Richie, a Westerner, has unique credentials to explain Japanese culture and cultural production to the West. Culture is, of course, a tricky subject, and some ideas may be beyond translation, or beyond the understanding of foreigners, or invisible to those immersed in ...more
Matt Posner
Richie taught me not only about Japanese film, but about Japanese culture and history, in a way that intrigued and moved me. The feeling I got was not a guidebook feeling, but was the same feeling I get when I am shown a neighborhood by someone who lives there. The book is full of small points and observations that you can't get from researching a topic, but only from living it. It's an excellent book.
Patrick McCoy
I found Donald Richie’s book A Hundred Years of Japanese Film to be a very engaging overview of the Japanese film history. It is clear that Richie’s knowledge of Japanese culture informs his observation about the history and development of film. For example in the first chapter Richie discussed the importance of the benishi (or narrator) for audiences. The beneshi were active until the early 30 s because they not only commented on silent films but they also provided information about the west si ...more
Donald Richie is the (western) expert on Japanese Film and his book on Kurosawa is one of the classics of the genre. This tome, which I picked up used, is a chronological mostly auteur-focused chronicle of the various trends in Japanese cinema over the years up until 2000. He celebrates the pantheon (Ozu, Mizoguchi, Naruse, Kurosawa) and describes all of the other major (and minor) directors in turn, as well as the various genres (jidaigeki, gendaigeki and many other more narrow classifications ...more
With this final edition of his multiple Japanese cinema histories, and because of his totally unique vantage point on that society and its culture, the late Richie remains the authority on Japanese film... up to a point. Outside of isolated case studies, the 1970s onward get comparatively short shrift, and Richie's vintage as a writer of the post-war years somewhat betrays him here.

He was on speaking terms with the many of the first/second generation greats of the 50s/60s Golden Age and flouris
Richie's writing is so lucid and delightful, he makes me want to see every single movie he talks about. I love this guy.
Que interesantes son los géneros del cine japonés, ahora a buscar las películas...
Richard Holland

Dry and a bit on the academic side
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Donald Richie is an American-born author who has written about the Japanese people and Japanese cinema. Although he considers himself only a writer, Richie has directed many experimental films, the first when he was 17. Although Richie speaks Japanese fluently, he can neither read nor write it.

During World War II, he served aboard Liberty ships as a purser and medical officer. By then he had alrea
More about Donald Richie...
The Films of Akira Kurosawa The Inland Sea Ozu: His Life and Films The Japan Journals: 1947-2004 A Tractate on Japanese Aesthetics

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