I’ve been a fan of Japanese cinema for a long time, but for just as long, I felt as if I didn’t know where to start. Even the most obvious choices, like the films of an acclaimed director like Akira Kurosawa, can be difficult to find with English subtitles and in high quality, while prolific contemporary directors like Takashi Miike put out so many movies finding the best can seem like Russian roulette.
In 2017 I made a deliberate effort to widen my horizons on Japanese cinema, and I’m using this site to talk about what I watched, and what I thought.
I’m a thirtysomething Brit who spent part of his twenties living in Tokyo, building up a
fascination with Japan. Now I live in Yorkshire, in the UK, where I’m accused of being an American sleeper agent for not drinking the tea.
Why ‘Kino 893’?
Calling a site about film ‘Kino’ might seem obvious, but what’s with the numbers? Well, some of my favourite Japanese movies are yakuza movies. Kinji Fukasaku’s Battles Without Honor and Humanity, Takeshi Kitano’s Outrage. The yakuza, Japan’s organised criminals, are named after a losing hand in oicho-kabu, a Japanese card game similar to baccarat: 8-9-3.