Rio Katayama completed her PhD in East Asian Languages and Cultures at University of Southern California. Her dissertation explores the multi-layered (de)construction of Japan-ness and its relations to affective bodily responses that is elicited through the depiction of continuous nuclear trauma in Japanese audio-visual media. She has previously published her more social science-focused project “Idols, Celebrities, and Fans at the Time of Post-Catastrophe” in Celebrity Studies. Rio holds her BA in Literature from Waseda University and an MA in Japanese Pedagogy from Indiana University, Bloomington. She also worked in the media industry for several years prior to pursuing her MA.
EAST 404, EALL 237, FILM 399
Nuclear Disasters and Trauma in Japanese Cinema and Beyond
This course examines the ways nuclear disasters are depicted in contemporary Japanese cinema. More specifically, we look at atomic bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki (1945), and the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Disaster (2011), and how the dormant trauma towards nuclear power has influenced Japanese cinema/media. As the artists portraying disasters often face the limits of representation, their works raise the following questions: how can cinema depict disasters that are indescribable in nature? How might cinema cause or resist tendencies towards post-catastrophic nationalism? In what ways can cinema address disaster that other forms of media cannot? What filmic techniques can be used to dramatize disastrous moments? Can cinema “foresee” unfolding or upcoming disasters? While considering these questions, this course also introduces the methodologies to write/discuss about film as an art form by examining different cinematic elements such as visual, sound, narrative, performance, and touch.