Cross-border Encounters in the 1960s: Hong Kong Action Films by Japanese Directors

Ka Yan Erica POON

Research output: Other Conference ContributionsConference Paper (other)Other Conference Paperpeer-review


This paper examines the translocal cultural flows of Japanese film talents and technology in mid-century Hong Kong genre films and East Asian cinema. The Shaw Brothers studio employed Japanese filmmakers for its production in the mid-1960s. Cinematographer Nishimoto Tadashi first came to Hong Kong for color filming. Through Nishimoto’s network, directors from Japanese studio Nikkatsu joined the Shaw Brothers crew. This paper demonstrates the early regionalization in the postwar East Asian film scene. It studies how Hong Kong cinema gained access to a global form of filmmaking through Japanese cinema. The global filmmaking here concerns producing genre films that aimed to achieve worldwide popularity. The paper examines how Shaw Brothers absorbed Japanese expertise in bringing changes to its genre films, action films in particular, promoting an international image of the studio. It uses the concept of media capital to look into the competition in the early regionalization. The attempts of establishing one’s cinema as a dominant geographic center in the region were subject to the competition with other cinemas. The paper traces the recruitment of Japanese directors as a flow of human resources, and analyzes how Shaw Brothers adopted the Japanese directors’ cinematic practices of mixed cultural origins to give its action films an international façade for the global market. The border-crossing of the Japanese directors demonstrated intercultural influences between Japanese and Hong Kong cinema, which defined the cosmopolitan nature of Asian cinema.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jul 2019
EventThe 11th International Convention of Asia Scholars (ICAS) - Leiden University, Leiden, Netherlands
Duration: 15 Jul 201919 Jul 2019


ConferenceThe 11th International Convention of Asia Scholars (ICAS)
Abbreviated titleICAS11
Internet address


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