[READING RESPONSE] WILLIAM M. TSUTSUI

  In my opinion, the reason why Japan’s disaster film industry is very popular is closely related to the country’s own experience and attributes. As an island country, Japan, located on the Pacific Rim seismic belt, has to experience large and small earthquakes. In the 1950s-1960s, Japanese people were recovering from the trauma of World War II. The monster films during this period well reflected the domestic situation and gave the Japanese people a way to sympathize and find ways to vent. When people watch these films, they can easily bring their tragic experience into the world, and then they

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Reading Response: Darrell William Davis

This article has discussed a lot about the relationship between technology and ethnicity in films. The writer has used the film Blade Runner to discuss the relationship between humans and replicants. If replicants have self-consciousness and faith, can we regard them as humans? I think cyberpunk stories always attract me because they are inspiring. They show conflicts that might happen when there is high technology but a low quality of life. Also, the architectures in this kind of film are very amusing because they are usually high-tech such as a smart home.   The writer also describes Hong Kong as

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[Reading Response: William M. Tsutsui]

Since the Cold War and World  War II, more monster films started to appear and all of them focus on the destruction of the city. The vulnerability and terror to disasters and atomic bomb are fully reflected in these films. Similarly, the Godzilla is also a metaphor of disaster and destruction. Japanese people may be anxious about the war and disasters that may happen in the future. However, there is also optimism hidden in this film. The Godzilla is finally defeated because of the unification of the society. It also demonstrates that their strength and power can overcome everything with

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[Reading Response: Darrell William Davis AND William M. Tsutsui]

In Tsutsui’s article, the author sorts out the source of the monster story genre. After reading it, from a personal point of view, the appearance of Godzilla does not point to the United States but to the old Japanese Empire. Why does Japan always show a “two-beat jazz” between destruction and reconstruction in movies? Why are the Japanese people so obsessed with this? The reason for this is not just the fear of Japan, but also the desire for liberation and closure (Freud), the fear of the old Japanese Empire, and the joy of rebuilding that ended the war with

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Reading response: Tsutsui W.M.

The famous movie Gojira 1954 is considered as an expression of the public impression of nuclear explosion and natural disasters. The brooding and dark film during that time expresses the phobia towards the nuclear science which more Japanese people not familiar with. Since the period that Tokyo is still well-known as Edo castle, earthquakes and fire disasters never ended. The city is like being cursed that at least 31 fire disasters happened in the 5 centuries which is the whole history of this city. Gorija is not just a character, a monster that plays negative role in the film, but

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Reading Response: Darrell William Davis

In his article, Tsutsui makes a connection between the popularity of disaster films in Japan and social problems in Japan. It is well known that disaster films illustrate the devastating impact that disasters have on society and the built environment. It is popular for a reason: Japan is known as a nation with a high density of citizens, and indeed a big income gap between the rich and poor. Films about disasters often depict such a world after a huge disaster; the world is rebuilt to eliminate the gap. In such a world, everyone gets to begin on equal footing.

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[Reading Response: Darrell William Davis]

A common theme I’ve always noticed in futuristic dystopian films is that the cyberpunk world is portrayed to bear a striking resemblance to Hong Kong, or Chinatown. Watching the clip of ‘Ghost in a Shell’ evoked an eerie sense of familiarity, the neon lights, the bamboo scaffolding, the large frames and signs that stretch across the street, all reminded me of the urban landscape I grew up in.  It left me wondering – just like after seeing Blade Runner – why are such depictions, using visuals from specifically this city, so successful in creating the cold and suffocating picture of

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Reading Response: William M. Tsutsui

The virtual end of the world happens far more often in Tokyo than anywhere else, whether it’s a monster (Godzilla) or a disaster, like an earthquake or an atomic bomb. The surprising popularity of this disaster culture in Japan may have something to do with Japan’s ‘history vulnerability’. Disaster is a wound that is hard to heal but is brought up repeatedly in the film because this fantasy will normalize and naturalize the unbearable things. These movies often have happy endings, which compare with relatively realistic. Furthermore, there is no denying that people may sometimes indulge in the aesthetics of

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[READING RESPONSE] WILLIAM M. TSUTSUI

The article casts light on apocalyptic imagination in Japanese popular culture and analyzes different angles of interpretation. I was not enthusiastic about this cinematic genre before. However, the article, along with the lecture, offered me a new and provocative perspective on it, where the annihilation fantasies derived from Japan’s peculiar geographical environment and historical memory. Personally, disaster films serve as a medium for psychological trauma repair in Japan. People gain confidence from the happy endings as if they made it to overcome the disaster in reality. Moreover, these movies create a theatrical stage where the contradictions in society and the

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Reading Response:William M. Tsutsui

Tsutsui talked about the reasons why the Japanese are keen on disaster films. The mainstream view is that they reflect the Nation’s fear and post-disaster trauma of frequent natural (earthquake, tsunami) and man-made disasters (war, nuclear bombs) in its history (the creation of Godzilla is a straightforward metaphor for Japan’s fear of nuclear bomb). At the same time, the entertaining expression of monsters and fantasy elements in the films can also be recognized as a distraction from people’s anxiety and wounds about reality. The ending of Japanese disaster films often demonstrates certain optimism –monsters are knocked down and damaged cities

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