BIG Updates for SciFi Japan!
Japanese Studio Exclusives, Hollywood Press Materials and a New Japanese Movie News Web Series!
Author: Keith Aiken
From our start six years ago, SciFi Japan has covered Asian fantastic cinema and television with news, information, videos and images provided directly by studios, filmmakers and their licensees around the world. One of key our inspirations for this approach was Greg Shoemaker’s legendary fanzine, Japanese Fantasy Film Journal, which coupled quality writing with materials supplied by Japanese studios. Greg ended JFFJ in 1983, in part because the film companies changed their policies regarding foreign press and were no longer willing to send official press materials and photos.
And that’s how things more or less remained for decades. The western mainstream and entertainment press have generally ignored Asian FX films, and what little coverage there has been is often inaccurate or condescending. Fans have worked hard to do what the mainstream press has not (and done some great reporting over the years) but the Japanese studios are still extremely reluctant to deal with fan groups. With many fans condoning — or engaging in — practices such as uploading copyrighted videos, publishing unlicensed comics, bootlegging, etc, the studios have simply found it easier to say “no” to most of their requests rather than try to keep track of who is acting in good faith and who isn’t.
This has created a void that the writers, reporters and editors who comprise SciFi Japan hoped to fill. Without a doubt, we are fans of this genre… but we’re also professionals who have worked for movie studios and production companies, authored books, produced documentaries and bonus content for DVD and Blu-ray releases, written for newspapers and magazines, and so on. We’ve had the good fortune to work on a number of licensed properties, including those from Japanese studios and their licensees. And with our business and personal connections with the studios, filmmakers and distributors we thought they may be willing to help us in providing info and images direct from the source. Thankfully, they were.
SciFi Japan debuted on March 1, 2006 with a preview of Kadokawa Pictures’ GAMERA THE BRAVE — featuring news and images from the studio nearly 2 months before the movie opened in Japan — and a tribute to the late composer Akira Ifukube written by Godzilla movie producer Shogo Tomiyama. From there, we’ve run a slew of exclusives and “direct from the studio” updates from Japan… and South Korea, where studios have stepped up the production of FX and monster movies. We knew we were on the right track when Greg Shoemaker contacted us to compliment our efforts (Thanks, Greg!).
In 2012 there have been some fun developments here at SciFi Japan that we’d like to share…
First of all, over the last few months we’ve been approved for press access by most of the Japanese studios and several production companies. This is a major step for this site; in the past we would have to put in requests for materials for each separate article and wait for approvals, but now we’re cleared for immediate access to materials as soon as they’re made available in Japan. This will greatly improve our ability to present information on new Japanese films, sometimes months before they’re released to theaters in their home country. No other English language news outlet has been granted this level of access, and we look forward to offering SciFi Japan readers a wealth of Japanese movie news, photos, trailers and production notes in the months and years to come.
We’ve had access to press materials from the Hollywood studios for some time and have occasionally run articles on new superhero and sci-fi movies. We’ve now decided to make the most of all this great material with a permanent International SciFi page… so head over to scifijapan.com/international-scifi for production notes, photos and trailers for the latest movies like AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, PROMETHEUS and THE DARK KNIGHT RISES.
You can also watch the movie trailers and promotional videos we upload on our new YouTube page, scifijapan1. The page offers a convenient ways to find our videos, all in one place.
Finally — and most importantly — tomorrow (Friday, August 10th) will see the premiere of our new web series, SCIFI JAPAN TV. Shot and produced in Japan by Jim Ballard and JR Lipartito of Gaijin Channel, SCIFI JAPAN TV will focus on Japanese sci-fi, FX and monster movies with exclusive filmmaker interviews, set visits, tours of FX studios, event coverage and much, much more. And this won’t just be an occasional feature on SciFi Japan… we’ll have two new episodes premiering every month. So be sure to visit SciFi Japan this Friday for our interview with Ultraman director Takeshi Yagi, then come back August 24th for an exclusive look at the Tokusatsu Museum, and yet again on September 14th for a hometown tribute to original Godzilla suit actor Haruo Nakajima! New episodes of SCIFI JAPAN TV will debut on our homepage and all episodes will be available for viewing at scifijapan.com/tv.
We hope you enjoy our articles and videos as much as we enjoy putting them together. As always, your comments and suggestion are most welcome… you can contact us any time on SciFi Japan’s Facebook page or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.