Call for Proposals: Eco-Disasters in Japanese Cinema

Rachel DiNitto Announcement
Oregon, United States
Subject Fields
Asian History / Studies, Film and Film History, Environmental History / Studies, Japanese History / Studies

I am seeking original articles for an edited Asia Shorts volume titled Eco-Disasters in Japanese Cinema. The Asia Shorts book series, published by the Association for Asian Studies (AAS) and distributed worldwide by Columbia University Press, offers concise, engagingly-written titles by highly-qualified authors that appeal to broad audiences with up-to-date scholarship on important, timely topics in Asian Studies. Topics are intended to be substantive, generate discussion and debate within the field, and attract interest beyond it.

Cinema is an important and powerful venue for addressing environmental crises in Japan. Eco-Disasters in Japanese Cinema analyzes this environmental commentary as it coalesces around cinematic representations of disaster. Japanese cinema is filled with images of destruction. While the most obvious examples are the catastrophic spectacles of monster films, Japanese directors have also used images of disaster and destruction to produced pertinent and timely visual commentary on a multitude of environmental threats. These films exceed the bounds of any single genre or approach and range in scale from the individual to the planetary: the nuclear bombs, radiation, and oceanic pollution in Godzilla films; the rising waters of climate change in Weathering with You; and the slow violence of industrial pollution in Tsuchimoto Noriaki’s oeuvre on Minamata disease. This volume focuses the analysis on cinematic representations of disaster widely defined, as a means to examine the evolving environmental discourse in Japan, including the pollution crises of the 1970s and the Fukushima nuclear disaster of 2011. The volume welcomes films produced during or depicting any era, with particular interest in films that have not been analyzed in an environmental context or that challenge clichéd representations of disaster in Japanese cinema via an ecocritical approach. There are currently a number of confirmed contributors.

Potential topics include but are not limited to:
•    All genres of film—documentary, live action, animated, monster films, etc. 
•    Independent cinema and large studio productions 
•    How different genres visualize environmental messages
•    All historical time periods depicted in film
•    Environmental harm from nuclear/radiation, industrial pollutants, or other acts of human violence or natural disasters: e.g., asbestos, mining, chemical pollution, deforestation, war, climate change, etc.
•    The uses of landscape and space in environmental film
•    Realistic/documentary films about historical environmental harm
•    Science fiction/speculative cinema of imagined destruction or environmental harm
•    Spectacular, catastrophic destruction as well as slow and often invisible violence
•    Disaster victims as environmental refugees
•    Colonial/postcolonial environmental destruction
•    Comparisons between/across different eras or genres of Japanese cinema
•    Cultural specificity of Japanese cinematic responses to environmental harm

Given the aim of the series, all submissions should be written in jargon-free prose that is easily accessible for non-specialist. The number of endnotes should be minimal compared to more traditional scholarly publications. The word count for each article is 6,000 words inclusive of notes and bibliography. Prospective authors should email me a 250-300 word abstract and brief bio by March 31, 2022.  Full papers for approved abstracts will be due on or before August 15, 2022.  All submissions will be blind reviewed before being published. Prospective authors are welcome to contact me at:


Contact Information

Rachel DiNitto

Professor of Japanese Literature

East Asian Languages & Literatures

301 Friendly Hall

University of Oregon

Eugene, OR


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