“The Ethics of Japanese Social Documentary in the Wake of 3.11”

by Dr. M. Downing Roberts, Research Fellow at the University of Tokyo Center for Philosophy (UTCP), and Lecturer in Film Studies at Temple University, Japan.
He has published on postwar Japanese cinema and is currently working on a project around socially-conscious films in the Showa 30s.


In the wake of the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami of March 11, 2011 (3.11), how has Japanese cinema addressed the disaster? Independent productions were the first to seriously engage with the disaster, either by taking the events and their aftermath as their direct subject matter, or by weaving real events into their fictional narratives.

In this presentation, Dr. Roberts will explore how these films represent the social dimensions of disaster, giving specific attention to the narrative strategies they employ, and some of the ethical and political questions they pose for us as spectators. In this manner,  he seeks to situate these films in the broader tradition of postwar Japanese documentary film.

Tuesday, March 24, 3:30-4:30 p.m., 435 St. Patrick’s Building.

School for Studies in Art and Culture – Film Studies.
Contact: Mitsuyo Wada-Marciano  (613-520-2600 ext. 1678)