Yale University has recently launched a fantastic web resource for students and researchers working on Japanese cinema available through the Yale University Library website. Simply titled “Japanese Reference Materials for Japanese Cinema,” this compilation is originally based off of a research guide written by Aaron Gerow and Abé Mark Nornes. As stated by Gerow on the site:
This is a guide to reference and other materials in Japanese in the Yale University Libraries that are useful in the study of cinema in Japan. In part due to the lack of institutional support for film studies in Japan, research on Japanese cinema still suffers from the absence of systematic and comprehensive reference materials, such as complete filmographies, periodical indexes, and biographical dictionaries. While there have been many reference works published in Japanese, they are often incomplete and require the researcher to navigate through a maze of different resources even when pursuing a simple topic. The best guide to those resources is Research Guide to Japanese Film Studies, which I co-wrote with Abé Mark Nornes and which was published in 2009 by the Center for Japanese Studies at the University of Michigan. It contains an annotated guide not only to bibliographic resources but also to the major archives and libraries useful for studying Japanese film. This online guide is not a substitute for that essential work, but rather presents some of the major materials with minimal annotation, with a focus on materials available at Yale.
This site is a fantastic bibliographic resource, with references to filmographies, film criticisms, bibliographies, script collections, company histories, biographical dictionaries, film encyclopedias, film periodicals, film year books, film histories, digital media, and other internet sites. Each of these tabs also includes a helpful overview explaining how these resources are useful and what kind of content they include.
The only downside to this collection is it’s premise – that all the sources are in Japanese, so beginners in the field without much in the way of language skills will find them inaccessible. On the other hand, advanced Japanese students and researchers have hit the holy grail of film references. Happy researching!