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Image Use Protocol: Finding Moving images

Best practices for locating and using Japanese visual images for teaching, research, and publications

About this guide

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, our users currently cannot access our physical collections. This presents many challenges particularly in regards to access to media (audio-visual) materials. There are a number of subscription-based, as well as freely available, film and documentary media streaming platforms that may be helpful to our faculty and students.

The majority of the resources on this page were collected via the eastlib and JpnLibLiaisons listservs in response to Yao Chen's (UC Santa Barbara) request for recommendations on how to access streaming East Asian films. The list includes resources recommended by Professor Joanne Bernardi (University of Rochester), Professor Aaron Gerow (Yale University) and other useful links identified by members of the Image Use Protocol Working Group.

If you happen to know any other useful resources that were not listed below, please contact Fabiano Rocha 

Subscription-based resources

The resources listed below can be accessed with an institutional subscription

Alexander Street Press (Asian Films Online)

Asian Film Online is an online streaming video collection of nearly 600 narrative feature films, documentaries, and shorts. With Asian voices addressing Asian issues, and through works selected by Asian film experts, the collection offers highly relevant perspectives and insights. Its themes—such as modernity, globalization, national identity, female agency, inequalities in opportunity amid social and political unrest, and cultural and sexual identity—are central to any meaningful discussion of Asian culture.

Films on Demand

Films on Demand offers a large variety of curriculum-focused, streaming video titles from producers such as Films for the Humanities and Sciences, PBS, A&E, History, ABCNews, BBC, NBC News, Shopware, Biography, National Geographic and others.


Kanopy is the best video streaming service for quality, thoughtful entertainment. Find movies, documentaries, foreign films, classic cinema, independent films and educational videos that inspire, enrich and entertain. We partner with public libraries and universities to bring you an ad-free experience that can be enjoyed on your TV, mobile phone, tablets and online.

Freely Available Resources

The resources listed below are freely accessible

Bunka Digital Library (文化デジタルライブラリー)
Japan Arts Council compiles information about major traditional performing arts including moving images. Search with 「映像」at search bar titled,「サイト内検索」to retrieve moving images.

Collaborative Catalging Japan 

Collaborative Cataloging Japan is an international non-profit, 501(c)3, organization dedicated to preserving the legacy of Japanese experimental moving image produced from the 1950s through 1980s, including fine art on film and video, documentations of performance, independently produced documentaries, experimental animation and experimental television.

Kobe Film Archive : Research Project

Online excerpts of a number of their rare films, from jidaigeki to color home movies from the 1930s

Japanese Animated Film Classics (日本アニメーション映画クラシックス)

This site was established to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Japanese animation, which is believed to have first been publicly shown in 1917. 64 videos of early Japanese animation from the National Film Archive of Japan are shown in this site. In the page, Noburo Ofuji Memorial Museum, you can find old documents and production materials from NFAJ's Noburo Ofuji collection and follow the artist's footsteps

Japanese Film Festival

Has many recent indie films streaming for free. (Thanks to Jonathan Hall for this info.)

Japanese Traditional Performing Arts LIVE! (伝統芸能LIVE!)

The Art Research Center, Ritsumeikan University compiles information about traditional performing arts in Kansai area including moving images. (Some links are broken).

Meiji Period Film of Japan (in Japanese)

This website was set up to commemorate the 120th anniversary of the birth of Japanese cinema. As well as the oldest existing Japanese film Momijigari (Important Cultural Property), you can stream Japanese films shot in the Meiji era and the surviving 35 mm film frames enlarged in high resolution from some of the lost "oldest Japanese films"

Moving Image Research Collections : Digital Video Repository

The Moving Image Research Collections Digital Video Repository (MIRC-DVR) serves MIRC's preservation and access missions. It aims to engage researchers from all walks of life in the process of discovering, enjoying, and contributing to knowledge about the sounds and images it contains—all without adding wear and tear to the fragile originals in MIRC's care

National Film Board of Canada

Streams award-winning documentary, animation, and shorts that inlcude about 50 titles related to Japan

NHK Archives (NHKアーカイブス

Provides 20,000 abridged clips primarily broadcast by NHK since 1920s. Several filters, such as theme, year, etc. works ONLY in Japanese. (Some contents require paid subscription to watch)

NHK Koten Geino Archives (NHK古典芸能アーカイブス)

Japanese traditional performing arts subdvided into categories. (Only limited moving images are available)

NHK World-Japan on Demand

Streams recently broadcast ENGLISH programs. Programs are available only limited duration after its broadcast.

Okinawa Prefectural Archives 沖縄県公文書館

Streams moving images primarily created by the U.S. armed forces during and after W.W.II.

Setagaya Chronicle 

Features home movies shot in Setagaya, Tokyo, between 1936 and 1983

Individual (Personal) Subscription Services

The list below was put together for information purposes only. The NCC neither recommends nor endorses any particular commercial entity.  

Other Useful Resources

Japanese Film in the Time of Quarantine | Tangemamia | Aaron Gerow

Professor Aaron Gerow teaches East Asian cinema, media and culture at Yale University. His updated guide has a number of suggestions of film-related materials: written and viewing materials. The film-viewing materials have been added to the "Freely Available Resources" section of this guide. 

Re-envisioning Japan | Joanne Bernardi

Professor Joanne Bernardi is a professor of Japanese Film and Media Studies at the University of Rochester. Re-envisioning Japan is an open-ended recuperative project based on an original collection of tourism, travel and educational ephemera in a wide range of media. Most of the objects in the collection are common use items; they all document personal experience, cross-cultural encounters, and changing representations of Japan and its place in the world in the early to mid 20th century.

North American Coordinating Council on Japanese Library Resources
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