Rene Wanner's Poster Page


front cover Japanese Movie Posters
Edited by Jennifer Cahill and Richard Jeffery, published by DH Publishing Inc., Tokyo (JP) (Nov 2002); 96 pages, 21 x 30 cm, 80 full page color illustrations; softcover; ISBN 0-9723124-0-4; in english; US$ 21
With texts by Chuck Stephens, Tetsuya Masuda and Kairakutei Black that discuss Yakuza, monster, pink, horror and animation movies.

$$$ Buy it now from

This book is, to my knowledge, the only publication in english on japanese movie posters, although the author of the foreword, Chuck Stephens, recalls that he bought another one in Tokyo in 1992 that "forever rearranged the iconography of my already cinemascopic dreams".

It takes indeed some getting used to these images, in particular because most of us are also not familiar with the type of japanese movies that they advertise: Yakuza movies on macho gangsters, monster movies populated with a wide array of dangerous creatures with names like Godzilla, Mohtra or Shibitogaizar, or so-called pink movies that feature pornography spiced with some brutality.

The authors deserve high credit to make these films and posters accessible to western eyes through useful chapter introductions that give a historical perspective, and detailed explanations of each poster. The full caption for the Yakuza movie shown below reads for example:

  • Outlaw: Rub-out! Burai: Barase! (Nikkatsu, 1969), Dir: Keiichi Ozawa, Star: Tetsuya Watari, $50
  • Tetsuya Watari smolders as the killler in this film, the first and best of the Outlaw series. The powerful poster design is perfect.
  • When his old prison buddy Moriyama is assassinated by the East Kanto mob, Goro expresses his feelings with a short sword.
  • "Barase" is Yakuza slang for the imperative of "kill," similar to the mafia expressions 'ice' or 'rub-out" . In the poster, Watari seems to be descending on a Japanese Elvis
A real eye opener! Unfortunately, the designers of these interesting works remain anonymous.

1969, Yakuza movie
Outlaw: Rub-out!
When his old prison buddy Moriyama is assassinated by the East Kanto mob, Goro expresses his feelings with a short sword.
1977, Monster movie
Legend of Dynosaurs and Monster Birds
On a western lake, a supposedly long-extinct dinosaur Brassiosaurus and a mysterious bird, Ranholinx, engage in a desparate battle.
1999, Samurai movie
One of the few recent samurai dramas, It depicts the rebels with a unique, stylized approach.
1974, Pink movie
Apartement Wives
"A housewife trapped in her apartement, torn between a desire to maintain her easy life and an insatiable appetite for sex that her husband cannot quench".
1969, Animation movie
Spirited Away
The biggest hit in the history of japanese cinema.
10-year old Chihiro and her family find themselve in a strange world. Her parents turn into pigs, and Chihiro is forced to go to work under the name of Sen.


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