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Importing Genre, Exporting Cult: The Japanese Zom-Com

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Abstract:

This article argues that the Japanese zom-com, with Wild Zero (2001, dir. Takeuchi Tetsuro) and Tokyo Zombie (Tokyo Zonbi 2005, dir. Sato Sakichi) as examples, is the result of cultural borrowing from American popular culture and an eclectic mix of generic influences. The zom-com films from Japan rarely reference traditional folklore that has been a central source in the history of Japanese horror cinema. Instead, the current discussion considers the two films alongside the zombie canon, and explores how they exist as transnational cult that can be understood through the academic discourse on taste and distinction. In the age of global production and consumption, differences are minimized in these films’ “imageries of Japan” and the producers’ marketing, rendering them familiar trash and engendering their cult status. The article concludes that it is the trans-cultural quality of these Japanese films rather than “the dead that walk” which underpins them as cult movies.

Keywords: Asia Extreme; Japanese horror; genre; transnational cult film; zom-com

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1386/ac.22.1.110_1

Affiliations: University of London

Publication date: March 1, 2012

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  • Asian Cinema is a seminal journal, which has been published since 1995 by the Asian Cinema Studies Society under the stewardship of Professor John Lent. From 2012 Asian Cinema will be published by Intellect as part of our Film Studies journal portfolio. The journal currently publishes a variety of scholarly material - including research articles, interviews, book and film reviews and bibliographies - on all forms and aspects of Asian cinema. The journal's broad aim is to advance understanding and knowledge of the rich traditions of the various Asian cinemas, thereby making an invaluable contribution to the field of Film Studies in general.
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