Contemporary Japanese seishun eiga cinema
Contemporary Japanese Seishun Eiga Cinema examines Japanese popular films of the last 30 years that focus on youth protagonists, analyzes new generic modes and how Japanese film history and tradition informs and influences them. This project tracks thematic trends in the films themselves, particularly those trends that intersect with current youth movements in Japan. Four chapters include: “New Japanese Cinema Seishun Eiga,” “Death Game films,” “Yankii films,” and “Near-Disaster films.” The scope of this project comprises “youth” representation not as a genre but as a set of limitations, such as films that cast young adult actors and address social issues typical of young adulthood in Japan such as enjo kosai, ijime (bullying), class conflicts, social media technologies and global cinema cultures. I follow thematic patterns as cycles and thus also analyze how the previously stated new genre categories intersect and overlap. Each chapter analyzes three to six films as a sampling of the group. The chapters do not write a historical overview of the entire movement but instead investigate the relationships around youth, themes, and historical context and input them into generic modes. Cultural categories such as the socioeconomic classifications freeter, NEET, hikikomori, and yankii are discussed throughout each chapter. This project is a delineation of these sub-genres of Japanese youth films, their narrative tropes, and commercial impact. The sampling includes studio genre films, independent films as well as selections from film festivals in order to discuss aspects of genre film theory as intersectional with industry and to track a cultural moment in contemporary Japanese film.