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Why Parasite’s Success Is Forcing a Reckoning in Japan’s Film Industry

4 March 2020

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Why Parasite’s Success Is Forcing a Reckoning in Japan’s Film Industry

Everyone from the nation’s president to humble rice store owners celebrated in Seoul, Busan, and across the Korean diaspora, revelling in a truly unique accomplishment: that the first non-English-language film ever to win Best Picture at the Academy Awards was a Korean one.

But a few hundred miles east, Parasite and director Bong Joon-ho’s victory forced Japanese filmmakers and critics to reconsider the state of Japanese cinema — an industry that has arguably been in decline since the mid-20th century, when directors like Akira Kurosawa and Yasujirō Ozu transformed global cinema forever.

“Despite the groundbreaking success of anime, Japanese live-action movies haven’t gotten attention since as far back as Kurosawa,” wrote film journalist Tsukasa Shirakawa days after Parasite’s win. “It’s left us wondering why.”

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Image credit: Getty Images

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