Programming a Public Mediascape: Distribution and the Japanese Motion Pictures Experience
This essay sheds light on how a film distribution apparatus, which aimed to cater to the entire population as one, in effect ushered in a process of collectivization of cultural life experience, as well as media aesthetics, in postwar Japan.While public discourses on nationhood were discouraged in postwar Japan, information and other textual ... contents about nationhood flowed freely. The national space as a unified location started to re reform in the mid-1950s. This was after the country regained its sovereignty, and a new medium-television-emerged in the public sphere. However, more than these two factors, I argue that it was the film studio distribution apparatus labeled the "program picture", which enabled an imaginary reunification of viewership throughout the country. Although not entirely unique to the postwar era, this distribution system was predicated on economic models of vertical integration, which in the midst of several medial transformations, established a dominant cinematic aesthetics that has been equally disseminated throughout the country.
Original publication in
On_culture: the open journal for the study of culture 8 (2019)