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A Hundred Years of Japanese Film: A Concise History

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  257 ratings  ·  18 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, 317 pages
Published July 15th 2005 by Kodansha (first published January 4th 2002)
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really liked it 4.00  · 
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 ·  257 ratings  ·  18 reviews

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Oct 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: silverscreen
3.5 stars. A volume of less than 300 pages will have to be brief to survey a hundred year history of Japanese cinema. Richie accomplishes that. He also tosses about few tensions. The insular nature of much of Japanese history is perhaps reflected in its celluloid. Cinema assumed the role of theatre in Japan, a platform for maintaining traditions even as the arrival of modernity left such precarious. A golden set of directors honed their crafter in the 1920s and 30s. Then the military madness ass ...more
Feb 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

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
Dec 23, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  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
Omar Manjouneh
Mar 23, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: film-making
مدخل واسع عن السينما اليابانية خلال 100 سنة من زمن أول فيلم اتعمل .. "بول شريدر" كان بيقول في المقدمة إن كل المعلومات اللي نعرفها "في الغرب" عن السينما اليابانية ووجهة النظر اللي كوناها في المعلومات دي كلهم جايين عن طريق "دونالد ريتشي" .. وفي وصف طريف متداول بين المهتمين بالسينما اليابانية لما يعوزوا يدللوا على استحالة مشاهدة أو العثور على فيلم ياباني معين بيقولوا إن "دونالد ريتشي ما شافوش" .. الكتاب في مجملة رحلة ممتعة جداً ومليان بحكايات عن الأفلام والمخرجين مهمة وملهمة جداً لأي حد بيحب الأفلا ...more
Matthew W
Sep 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
A good start for a general history of Japanese cinema history, but Richie leaves a lot out and has a somewhat banal writing style. Notably, Richie makes nil reference to his own 'Japanese' erotic avant-garde films. For example, Richie's "Five Filosophical Fables" (1967) was a favorite of none other than Yukio Mishima. Speaking of Mishima, Richie also makes no reference to the Japanese Renaissance man's virtual cinematic suicide letter "Yûkoku" (1966) aka "Patriotism" aka "Rite of Love & Deat ...more
Matt Posner
Sep 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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.
Phil Eaton
The expectation is somewhat that you're familiar with non-Japanese filmmakers because there are a number of references to them without explanation. Not being familiar with many non-Japanese filmmakers in the past 100 years, I found this annoying. Additionally the author focusing at all on the emotional impact of a film (pretty subjective) was not at all useful. And the condensed font size of the edition I bought made my eyes hurt for a while.

That said, this book was a pretty useful introduction
Jan 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2018
Richie takes on the challenging task of crafting a narrative out of one hundred years of Japanese movies. As a result, he can only briefly discuss many directors and films while going into more detail on figures like Ozu and Kurosawa. This is apparent in the short section on the role of anime films from the 1980s onward, a section Richie could have easily expanded. The end result is a book that has too many characters for somebody new to remember, but also too little detail to offer those alread ...more
Robert Mead
Jan 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Scholarly, if somewhat dry, but an essential analysis of the best of Japanese filmmaking by the recognized sine qua non of that particular subject. Especially revelatory commentary on such figures as Ozu, Kurosawa, et. al. Highly recommended for appreciators of the genre.
Peter Bond
Dec 07, 2017 rated it liked it
fine. just short
Patrick McCoy
Sep 22, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: film, japan
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
Jan 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Apr 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Ed Correa
Nov 16, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pensé que se iba a tratar de una exploración más descriptiva que otra cosa y me encontré gratamente en una clase teórica de cine cuando menciona las formas en que se desarrolló el uso de técnicas narrativas dentro de la industria del cine japonés. Fue muy refrescante encontrar menciones a elipsis, uso y movimiento de cámara, dirección de actuaciones y muchos otros detalles que perfectamente podría haber quedado por fuera. Imperdible para cualquier director de material audiovisual que se consider ...more
Richard Holland
Aug 29, 2012 rated it it was ok

Dry and a bit on the academic side
Sep 27, 2009 rated it really liked it
Richie's writing is so lucid and delightful, he makes me want to see every single movie he talks about. I love this guy.
Monika Rendzner
Feb 01, 2013 rated it liked it
Very resourceful but rather a boring read.
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Goodreads Librari...: Please fix title (missing Spanish characters) 3 12 Dec 20, 2018 03:30AM  
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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