Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Personal tools

Navigation

Forest of Pressure

Ogawa Shinsuke and Postwar Japanese Documentary

2006
Author:

Abé Mark Nornes

Forest of Pressure

An original examination of the postwar Japanese documentary

A critical biography of filmmaking collective Ogawa Pro, Forest of Pressure explores the emergence of socially committed documentary filmmaking in postwar Japan. Benefiting from unprecedented access to the collective's archives and interviews with former members, and analyzing Ogawa Pro's films and works by other Japanese filmmakers, Abé Mark Nornes addresses key issues in documentary theory and practice.

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, Abé 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.

Forest of Pressure

Abé 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).

Forest of Pressure

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

<p>
This is another important book from the author of <em>Japanese Documentary Film: The Meiji Era through Hiroshima.</em> Turning his attention to the postwar era, Nornes offers a critical biography of the Ogawa Productions filmmaking collective. Nornes offers a fascinating account of the collective's production methods, locating its political activism within socio-historical contexts such as the U.S.-Japan security treaties and government agricultural reforms. At the same time, Nornes provides an invaluable history of postwar Japanese documentary filmmaking and positions Ogawa Productions vis-&agrave;-vis such artists as Naomi Kawase and Kazuo Hara. Nornes's brilliance comes as no surprise, but the book's captivating entertainment value is an unexpected delight. Essential.
</p>

Choice

Abé Mark Nornes has stepped in to produce the most significant book on documentary I’ve read . . . Forest of Pressure is a gripping portrait of a charismatic, quixotic, spendthrift activist, innovator and fantasist who is talked about in semi-religious terms in Japan. Ogawa Pro’s ‘awesome passion’ leaps from the page, and Nornes, who was there for part of the story, makes us feel as if we are there too. It’s easy to imagine this book changing the lives of Anglophone filmmakers.

Sight & Sound

The volume is a wonderful guide to the Ogawa Pro films because it reenacts the intimate gaze that the collective members cast on their subjects.

Journal of Japanese Studies

Impressive...Nornes celebrates Ogawa’s passionate commitment to documentary practice.

Asian Studies Review

Forest of Pressure

Contents

Acknowledgments

Introduction

1 Ogawa as Postwar Documentarist
2 Jieiso: Ogawa’s First Collectivity
3 The Sanrizuka Series
4 Segue: From “Sanrizuka Ogawa Pro” to “Documentary Cinema Ogawa Pro”
5 The Magino Village Story
6 After Ogawa

Postscript
Notes
Filmography
Distribution Resources

Index