The aim of the thesis is to examine the distribution and consumption of contemporary Japanese cinema in the UK. Through the study of aesthetics it seeks to identify the ways in which content and current distribution methods suit different markets. Noël Carroll’s definition of cinema and contemporary media as ‘mass art’ has informed the way in which the thesis notes variation in film content, and forms the core methodology. The selected texts range from the post-war period (1948) with films by directors such as Akira Kurosawa, to contemporary animation cinema such as the work of Mamoru Hosada (2009). The distribution methods of these films is of particular importance as the thesis links them to the export of Japanese identity.
The films are available to a UK audience via a range of distribution methods such as officially distributed DVDs, online distribution, and art house cinema exhibitions. There is an emphasis on digital distribution throughout the thesis and this is reflected through the use of texts downloaded from the internet as well as digital sources such as university encyclopaedias and e-books. Each chapter is organised around a distinctive and specified market for Japanese cinema and includes detailed textual analysis of film examples. In the final chapter, on the popularity of Japanese animation (anime), the analysis is enhanced with empirical research into online consumption groups and internet communication, given these groups’ important role in the distribution of anime outside of Japan.