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Mark Schilling

For Mark Schilling's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:

Kanji Furutachi: Reacting to Japan's film industry

Feb 22, 2017

Kanji Furutachi: Reacting to Japan's film industry

Over the years I’ve heard many complaints about the bad acting in Japanese films, from the hammy emoting of over-indulged veterans to the amateurish turns of “idols” cast more for their agency connections than any perceptible talent. I’ve added to this chorus of negativity, ...

Asian Film Festival unspools in Osaka

| Feb 22, 2017

Asian Film Festival unspools in Osaka

Why go to Osaka to see films? I may sound like an insufferable Tokyo snob asking this, but given all the hundreds of movies on offer in the nation’s capital, it’s worth answering to justify the shinkansen ticket. One excellent reason to go is ...

'Close Knit': The pride that breaks the prejudice

Feb 22, 2017

'Close Knit': The pride that breaks the prejudice

Japan would seem to be a paradise for LGBT people. Transgender “talents” have been appearing regularly on Japanese TV for decades and LGBT folks can walk the streets here with little fear. But dig below Japan’s surface tolerance for sexual minorities, as Naoko Ogigami ...

'One Week Friends': Groundhog day in the 'friend zone'

Feb 15, 2017

'One Week Friends': Groundhog day in the 'friend zone'

Someday soon someone is going to come up with an algorithm for commercial seishun eiga (youth films). Plug in the variables — teenaged love in its more innocuous variations being first and foremost — and pop out a script for another hit. If not ...

'Survival Family': Soft-pedaling through dystopia

Feb 8, 2017

'Survival Family': Soft-pedaling through dystopia

To Hollywood, “dystopian future” usually means invading aliens, exotic technology and gigantic explosions. Shinobu Yaguchi’s “Survival Family” posits an alternative, more mundane cause of civilizational collapse: Japan’s electric grid suddenly freezes up, like a laptop that’s been doused with hot coffee. Televisions go blank, ...

'The 100th Love With You': Happily stuck in a time-travel groove

Feb 1, 2017

'The 100th Love With You': Happily stuck in a time-travel groove

Time travel is and will forever be a fantasy, physicists say. But fantasies can tell us more about human longings and dreams than dull facts, can they not? Despite doubting science types, time-travel-themed films have long constituted a thriving, sub-genre in Japan, as they ...

Hiroki Matsukata: a gangster farewell

| Feb 1, 2017

Hiroki Matsukata: a gangster farewell

Hiroki Matsukata, who died at age 74 on Jan. 21, may have been born into an acting family — his father was jidaigeki (historical drama) actor Jushiro Konoe — but in his yakuza films for the Toei studio in the 1960s and ’70s, Matsukata’s ...

Publishing pioneer Kikuko Ireton introduced the world to Japanese film

Jan 28, 2017

Publishing pioneer Kikuko Ireton introduced the world to Japanese film

Kikuko Ireton, who co-founded “Movie/TV Marketing,” a pioneering English-language trade journal about the domestic film industry, died in Tokyo on Thursday from complications of pneumonia. Born on May 22, 1929, she was the second daughter of Shoichiro Kobayashi, a bank executive, and his wife, ...

'Honnouji Hotel': Drama on the wrong side of history

Jan 25, 2017

'Honnouji Hotel': Drama on the wrong side of history

Is Haruka Ayase the Japanese version of Anne Hathaway? In everything from their perky public personas and sterling work ethic to their toothy smiles and flawless complexions, the two stars symbolize a type of good-girl perfection. And yet they also rub some imperfect types ...

Sion Sono swan dives into Shinjuku's chaos

Jan 19, 2017

Sion Sono swan dives into Shinjuku's chaos

Celebrated abroad for films that mash up everything from extreme sex and gore to Christian imagery and classical music, Sion Sono has emerged as one of the most distinctive directors in Japanese cinema this century. His breakthrough came in 2001 with “Suicide Club,” in ...