Saturday, February 28, 2009

About Hara Kazuo's Films

We just got tipped off to this terrific article from 2007 in the Village Voice by Ed Halter about Hara Kazuo's films.
Kazuo Hara's The Emperor's Naked Army Marches On (1987) nonetheless stands as one of the most harrowing, astonishing documentaries about war ever thrown onto celluloid. It reveals a side of Japan little seen by American audiences: the repressed culture of an older generation, still struggling with the demons unleashed by the atrocities of World War II, souls broken beyond repair.

... Imagine the setup of Roger and Me with the payoff of Winter Soldier, or a version of Shoah in which the director walks around with a sidekick who bitch-slaps wartime memories out of the more reticent interviewees.
Check it out!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Thaddeus Rutkowski's Appearances

Kaya is pleased to announce that Thaddeus Rutkowski, whose novel ROUGHHOUSE Kaya published in 1999, will be appearing in the Bay Area in April:
  • Saturday, April 4: 7 PM
  • Eastwind Books of Berkeley
    2066 University Avenue, Berkeley, CA.

  • Tuesday, April 7: 1:30 PM
  • Center for Literary Arts
    1 Washington Square, San Jose State, San Jose, CA
    Hal Todd Theatre in Hugh Gillis Hall

  • Saturday, April 18: 3 PM
    Brewer Bookstore
    St. Lawrence University, 92 Park Street, Canton, N.Y.
    With Pedro Ponce
  • Saturday, May 16: 5 PM
    510 Readings series
    Minas Gallery
    815 West 36th Street, Hampden, Baltimore
  • Sunday, June 7: 5:30 PM
    Bengal Curry restaurant, 65 West Broadway, Manhattan
    Co-feature with Tommy Fernandez. Hosted by George Spencer. Donation
  • Sunday, June 28: 6 PM
    Co-curating Many Mountains Moving reading
    Cornelia Street Café
    29 Cornelia St., Manhattan. $6
  • Thursday, August 20: 7 PM
    “Drunken Careening Writers"
    KGB Bar, 85 E. Fourth St., Manhattan
    With Cheryl B. Hosted by Kathleen Warnock

Hara Kazuo's US Tour Dates

We are excited to announce the following US appearances for Hara Kazuo in support of his new book CAMERA OBTRUSA: THE ACTION DOCUMENTARIES OF HARA KAZUO:
  • May 6, Riverside, CA
    UC Riverside
  • May 8, Princeton, NJ
    Princeton University

Thursday, February 26, 2009

About Hara Kazuo

Born in 1945, Hara Kazuo was influenced as a young man by the protest movements that took place throughout Japan and the world in the late 1960s and 70s. He founded Shisso Productions in 1971 with his wife, producer, and primary collaborator Sachiko Kobayashi. He has published five documentary films thus far, including the award-winning The Emperor’s Naked Army Marches On, widely recognized as the most important and influential documentary ever made in Japan, Goodbye CP, A Dedicated Life, Extreme Private Eros: Love Song 1974, and Watashi no Mishima.

Please note: Hara Kazuo's family name is Hara, given name is Kazuo. Kaya uses the Japanese naming convention in putting his family name first. Following the European convention would reverse the name to Kazuo Hara.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Brian Castro's US Tour Dates

We're thrilled to have confirmed the following US appearances for Brian Castro in support of his US debut with SHANGHAI DANCING:
  • May 6, Los Angeles (Chinatown)
    8 PM, Betalevel, 963 N. Hill Street
    FREE, reading with Colin Dickey

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


I couldn't forget the bloodthirsty look in Okuzaki’s eyes when he asked me to film him killing his former company commander. Despite all the time I’d spent with him, I had never acknowledged the fact that Kenzo Okuzaki was a convicted criminal – even after hearing him repeat his resume of murder, violence, and pornography. I had secretly wished, someday, to film a crime documentary in real time. In fact, that’s exactly what I was filming. If my goal was to capture Kenzo Okuzaki, the criminal, this film wouldn’t work without the scene of Okuzaki’s crime. In for a penny, in for a pound.
Few filmmakers have found themselves in quite such a quandary as Hara Kazuo during the filming of the award-winning The Emperor's Naked Army Marches On. But it wasn't by chance that this seminal documentarian stumbled into an extreme example of the journalist's dilemma.Throughout the four decades of his career, Hara Kazuo has perused the bizarre and disturbing margins of Japanese society, certain that central truths are to be found in fringe phenomena. His method of documentation, which he calls "action documentary," pursues the shocking effect of the action film, following the gesture and staying in the moment – not commenting in voiceover from a safe distance.

Hara's innovations have transformed documentary filmmaking, and contributed directly to the current ascendance of the documentary, both within the industry and among audiences internationally. His best-known disciple is Michael Moore, who lists Hara as one of his favorite directors.

In CAMERA OBTRUSA: HARA KAZUO'S ACTION DOCUMENTARIES Kaya Press offers the first English-language book on Hara's life and method, by the master himself. Hara writes this memoir-cum-handbook in easy, conversational language, telling his own story of coming to the documentary form, using his camera to challenge society's expectations, and breaking down the boundary between subject and object.

Digging into the practical elements of his craft, the author describes each of his groundbreaking films in detail, and includes a special extended chapter on
The Emperor’s Naked Army featuring the complete text of production notes he wrote about the film and its subsequent notoriety.

CAMERA OBTRUSA will be launched with a May 2, 2009 screening of the
The Emperor's Naked Army at UC Berkeley. Hara Kazuo will appear in person. The launch will also feature an academic mini-conference with scholars from major universities in attendance.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Sex and Time: More on Brian Castro

Here's a video (on YouTube) of Brian speaking about his novel, THE GARDEN BOOK (which followed SHANGHAI DANCING) on a show called "The Wordshed." You'll have to watch it to understand the title of this post!

And here's a blogger's ambivalent, but insightful, response to SHANGHAI DANCING.

Most interestingly, a book on Brian just came out last November from Cambria Press.