Forest of Pressure: Ogawa Shinsuke And Postwar Japanese Documentary

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U of Minnesota Press - 317 pages
“Extraordinarily valuable, illuminating, and even entertaining, Forest of Pressure brims with the types of information that only a key insider can get his hands on.” —Mitsuhiro Yoshimoto, New York University


Ogawa Productions—known in Asia as Ogawa Pro—was an influential filmmaking collective that started in the 1960s under the direction of Ogawa Shinsuke (1936–1992). Between 1968 and the mid-1970s, Ogawa Pro electrified the Japanese student movement with its Sanrizuka documentary series—eight films chronicling the massive protests over the construction of the Narita airport—which has since become the standard against which documentaries are measured in Japan.


A critical biography of a collective, Forest of Pressure explores the emergence of socially committed documentary filmmaking in postwar Japan. Analyzing Ogawa Pro’s films and works by other Japanese filmmakers, Ab Mark Nornes addresses key issues in documentary theory and practice, including individual and collective cinema production modes and the relationship between subject and object. Benefiting from unprecedented access to Ogawa Pro’s archives and interviews with former members, Forest of Pressure is an innovative look at the fate of political filmmaking in the wake of the movement’s demise.


Ab Mark Nornes is associate professor of screen arts and cultures and Asian languages and cultures at the University of Michigan. He is a coordinator at the Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival and the author of Japanese Documentary Film: The Meiji Era through Hiroshima (Minnesota, 2003).



1 Ogawa as Postwar Documentarist
Ogawas First Collectivity
3 The Sanrizuka Series
From Sanrizuka Ogawa Pro to Documentary Cinema Ogawa Pro
5 The Magino Village Story
6 After Ogawa
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Page xii - The duplicity of the artist, the grandeur as well as the misery of his calling, is a recurrent theme closely linked with the theme of infamy. . . . The poetic impulse in all its perverse duplicity belongs to man alone, marks him as essentially human.

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