Comparative Japanese Film Archive
A database of film video clips and benshi audio clips from the early twentieth century, with annotations and metadata that can be shared with consortial institutions for scholarly and instructional activities.
"Originally a scholar of Japanese modernist literature of the 1920s, I have expanded my scope from the analysis of literature and magazine culture to a wider examination of interactions across media, in particular between film and literature. With the advent of technology and the already globalized socio-economic context of 1920s Japan, writers explored the adaptability of various new mass media, seeking to invent new narrative styles suitable to depicting the life and psychology of the modern world. During the same time, filmmakers often adapted literary techniques into their cinematic grammar.
My article on the trans- and inter-media explorations by Japanese benshi (film narrator/performer/commentator) has been published in an academic journal, Japan Forum. I see that this critical cross-examination of the narrative strategies of literature and cinema is crucial not only for the analysis of the 1920s, but also in the study of the development of modern narratives over the entire 20th century and up to the present time.
In addition to taking a global approach to theory and knowledge about moving images, I would like to study further the specific history and production of Japanese cinema. This video/audio clip and still image database is provided to assist others in their research and instruction. I view this site as a venue for my collaborative research and archive building with two academic research groups comprised with film scholars in the US, Canada, Japan, Australia, and Germany."
Kyoko Omori, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of East Asian Languages and Literatures (Japanese)
firstname.lastname@example.org, or 315.859.4866 (on leave 2012-13)
Kyoko Omori earned her doctorate from Ohio State University in 2003. Her research focuses on 20th-century literary and popular culture, with an emphasis on mass media. She is currently completing a book titled Detecting Modanizumu: New Youth Magazine, Tantei Shô setsu, and The Culture of Japanese Vernacular Modernism. In addition, her recently published articles and book chapters include "The Art of the Bluff: Youth Migrancy in the Pacific Rim, Interlingualism, and Japanese Vernacular Modernism" (2009), "Narrating the Detective: Nansensu, Benshi's Oral Performance, and the Absurdist Detective Fiction of Tokugawa Musei" (2009), "Rajio hôsô no sengo: 'Hanashi no izumi' to 'Nichiyô goraku-ban'" (The Allied Powers' Education and Censorship Strategies in Post-WWII Japan: Radio Broadcasting in the late 1940s: 2008), "'Finding Our Own English': Migrancy, Identity, and Language(s) in Itô Hiromi's Recent Prose" (2007). She has been awarded research grants from The Miller Center for Historical Studies and the McKeldin Library at the University of Maryland, as well as postdoctoral fellowships from SSRC/JSPS, the Japan Foundation, and the International Research Center for Japanese Studies. Omori was also trained in language pedagogy and is a recipient of the Hamako Ito Chaplin Award, a national award recognizing excellence in teaching Japanese.
Alex Benkhart graduated with a Religious Studies/Asian Studies double major from Hamilton College. Alex makes an effort to incorporate digital media into every aspect of his study, having worked independently on examinations of religious visual culture, anime heroines, and the commodification of sex in contemporary Japanese art. Alex worked closely with Professor Kyoko Omori over his senior year to create the Comparative Japanese Film Archive, and hopes to continue with the project until its completion. Currently, Alex received a Fulbright research grant that has taken him to Japan in order to study depictions of homosexuality in Japanese popular culture. Alex's dream is to ultimately make a documentary on the topic.