Going Overseas and Evolving Locally: The Strategies of a Japanese Pink Film Company

Hoi-yan YAU, Heung Wah WONG, Nobu TANAKA

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This chapter aims to clarify Bourdieu's notion of cultural intermediaries by exploring how a Japanese pink film studio, Okura, attempted to sustain the genre of pink films domestically and promote the genre over seas in the past 10 years. 'Pink film' is a genre referring to all the softcore pornographic movies produced in Japan since the late 1960s (Alexander 2003: 156- 157). The genre, however, has been declining in the past 20 years. Upon the arrival of a new managing director, Okura was seen to adopt a dual survival strategy, one of which was to start to produce R-15 version of pink films so that these films could be shown in ordinary theatres. Another strategy was to export Japanese pink films under the new label of 'Japanese new erotic films'. These two strategies help clarify the notion of cultural intermediaries in two ways. First, the defining characteristic of a cultural intermediary is essentially about making a difference of such magnitude that there is a reordering of things in a given structure. However, these differences will only acquire significance when they are mediated by a specific context. That is, we can never identify a priori who is the cultural intermediary, because we can only know this retrospectively. Second, a cultural intermediary may be either individual or collective. However, while many scholars take this distinction between an individual or collective cultural intermediary for granted, they do not clarify why an individual rather than a collective cultural intermediary is used in their narrative and vice versa. We contend that the distinction between an individual and collective intermediary is theoretically important. We also argue that the cultural intermediary is dependent on the nature of change that it causes.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCultural intermediaries in East Asian film industries
EditorsEyaol BEN-ARI, Heung Wah WONG
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9781003246657
ISBN (Print)9781032159942, 9781032159959
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


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