Speaker Announcement: “Spectacle and Scrutiny: The Analytic Image in Japanese Cinema” – Earl Jackson

The fourth plenary to be announced for MediAsia/KAMC2021 is a Keynote Presentation titled “Spectacle and Scrutiny: The Analytic Image in Japanese Cinema” by Earl Jackson of Asia University, Taiwan, and the University of California, United States.

The Organising Committees are currently calling for papers to be presented at the joint event; submit your abstracts by August 20.

To participate in MediAsia/KAMC2021 as an audience member, please register for the conference via the conference websites. Registration for either conference will allow delegates to attend sessions in the other.

The keynote will also be available for IAFOR Members to view online. To find out more, please visit the IAFOR Membership page.


In general, the field of cinema studies presumes a binary division of labor: filmmakers create a spectacle and critics analyze them. There are vivid examples of a redistribution of that labor on the production side, however. Several major Japanese directors are also accomplished writers of film theory and the texts they have produced help us discern the critical impetus within their films as well. There are other directors who create scenes and sequences that either analyze themselves or foreground the ways in which the films compose the apparent reality as presented. Examples of both will be presented, as well as spectacles whose symptomatic qualities constitute potential meta-cinematic messages independent of their ideological intentions.

This presentation will highlight the explicit relation between theory and practice through the work of Yoshida Kiju and Masumura Yasuzo, but will begin by contrasting two cabaret films, one from 1936 that is decidedly in the symptomatic category, and another from 1950 whose display advances remarkable interventions in the gender politics of the spectacle as well as a sophisticated endorsement of consciously engaged fantasy. Time permitting, this presentation will also draw on excerpts from films by Okamoto Kihachi, Kurahara Koreyoshi, and Kawashima Yuzo as examples of self-theorizing mise-en-scène.

Speaker Profile

Earl Jackson

Asia University, Taiwan

University of California, United States

Earl Jackson

Earl Jackson is the author of Strategies of Deviance: Studies in Gay Male Representation (Indiana University Press) as well as numerous articles on Japanese and Korean Cinema, New Narrative, and sexuality. His performance pieces have been staged in Minneapolis, Cambridge, Massachusetts, Santa Cruz, Seattle, and the Pit Inn, Shinjuku. He has worked in the Korean independent film industry in several capacities: co-director (with Kim Jeong) and editor of an experimental short travelogue, Tabi/T’abi; contributing screenwriter for Viewfinder (Kim Jeong 2008); interviewee and researcher for New Woman: Her First Song (Kim Soyoung 2004); and as an actor, playing the villain in Barbie (Yi Sangwoo 2010).

He has taught at the University of Minnesota, the University of California, Santa Cruz, Korea University, the Korean National University of Arts, and National Chiao Tung University, and was a visiting scholar at the East-West Center in Honolulu, Hawai’i. His recent research includes a study of the relation among technology, subjectivity, and the politics that inform and circumscribe them. In addition to his research, writing and teaching, Earl Jackson has found time to contribute a full-length audio commentary to the recent Blu-ray release of the Japanese classic Blind Beast on Arrow Video, as well as a video essay for the Blu-ray release of the Japanese classic Giants and Toys, also on Arrow Video.

Earl Jackson is currently writing a book on crisis and signification in Japanese film genres, but his presentation for KAMC/MediAsia will draw on his monograph on the relations between theory and practice in Japanese cinema.

Posted by IAFOR