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Events - 02.01.2022

MA in Japanese Film

In Conversation with Film Director Ryūsuke Hamaguchi

Drive my Car, Hidetoshi Nishijima and Toko Miura  

*To watch the video in full screen, please click play and then the YouTube icon on the lower right-hand corner.


02.01.2022 (Tue.)


5:00PM - 6:16PM (PST)





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The fourth and final webinar in the Rethinking of MA Webinar Series examines the role of MA in Japanese film. Our guest is filmmaker Ryūsuke Hamaguchi, whose film Drive My Car, is Japan’s official entry for Best International Feature Film for Academy Awards 2022 and is now on the Oscars shortlist for this category. Hamaguchi, a renowned director and screenwriter who first gained attention for The Sound of Waves and Voices from Waves, his thoughtful documentaries (co-directed by Ko Sakai) about survivors of the 2011 Tōhoku Earthquake, as well as several recent dramatic full-length feature films, pays close attention to timing, pacing and “space” in his films. (Learn more about the Japanese concept of “ma” or space by reading our article here.)

Hamaguchi’s film Drive My Car is generating substantial international acclaim, including being voted Best Picture of 2021 by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association and chosen by President Obama as one of his favorite films of 2021. In a December 3rd review in the Los Angeles Times, film critic Mark Olsen, wrote of Hamaguchi’s emotional pacing in Drive My Car, “He keeps tears and drama in check, letting emotion seep in after the heavy blow and in the meaningful silences which, like the negative space of a painting, complete the picture.”

Drive My Car Poster

Hamaguchi joins Professors Hitoshi Abe of UCLA and Ken Oshima of Washington University, hosts of the Rethinking of MA series, in an engaging conversation that explores the role of MA in the making of his most recent film Drive My Car, with reference also to some of his earlier works. The webinar concludes with an audience Q&A.

Guest Speaker

Ryūsuke Hamaguchi
Born on December 16, 1978. After graduating from the University of Tokyo, he worked in the film industry for a few years before entering the graduate film program at the Tokyo University of the Arts. His graduation film, Passion, screened at San Sebastian Film Festival in 2008 as well as Tokyo FILMeX competition. 
Read more.

Since then, his films have included the Japan/Korea coproduction film The Depths (2010) screened in Tokyo FILMeX and a series of documentary Tohoku Trilogy (Sound of the Waves, Voices from the Waves and Storytellers) co-directed by Ko Sakai from 2011 to 2013. His Happy Hour premiered at Locarno and won awards at numerous film festivals. Asako I & II was selected for the competition at Cannes in 2018 and Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy won the Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize at Berlin in 2021. His latest film Drive My Car, based on a short story by Haruki Murakami, won the Screenplay Prize at Cannes in 2021. He also wrote the screenplay for Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s Wife of a Spy, which won the Silver Lion at Venice in 2020.

Drive My Car, Hidetoshi Nishijima

Drive My Car, Hidetoshi Nishijima and Masaki Okada

Drive My Car, Reika Kirishima and Hidetoshi Nishijima

Drive My Car, Sonia Yuan and Park Yurim


All images courtesy of Sideshow & Janus Films


Hitoshi Abe
Hitoshi Abe is Principal at AHA (Atelier Hitoshi Abe), an architectural design firm based in the U.S. and Japan. He is also a professor in the department of Architecture and Urban Design and Director of the Terasaki Center for Japanese Studies, both at UCLA.

Ken Tadashi Oshima
Ken Tadashi Oshima is Professor in the Department of Architecture at the University of Washington, where he teaches in the areas of trans-national architectural history, theory, and design. He has also been a visiting professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Design and taught at Columbia University and the University of British Columbia.
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He earned an A.B. degree, magna cum laude, in East Asian Studies and Visual & Environmental Studies from Harvard College, M. Arch. degree from U. C. Berkeley and Ph.D. in architectural history and theory from Columbia University. From 2003-5, he was a Robert and Lisa Sainsbury Fellow at the Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures in London.

Dr. Oshima’s publications include Kiyonori Kikutake: Between Land and Sea (Lars Müller/Harvard GSD, 2015), Architecturalized Asia (University of Hawaii Press/Hong Kong University Press, 2013), GLOBAL ENDS: towards the beginning (Toto, 2012), International Architecture in Interwar Japan: Constructing Kokusai Kenchiku (University of Washington Press, 2009) and Arata Isozaki (Phaidon, 2009). He curated “Tectonic Visions Between Land and Sea: Works of Kiyonori Kikutake” (Harvard GSD, 2012), “SANAA: Beyond Borders”” (Henry Art Gallery 2007-8), and co-curator of “Crafting a Modern World: The Architecture and Design of Antonin and Noemi Raymond” (University of Pennsylvania, UC Santa Barbara, Kamakura Museum of Modern Art, 2006-7). He served as President of the Society of Architectural Historians from 2016-18 and was an editor and contributor to Architecture + Urbanism for more than ten years, co-authoring the two-volume special issue, Visions of the Real: Modern Houses in the 20th Century (2000). His articles on the international context of architecture and urbanism in Japan have been published in The Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, Architectural Review, Architectural Theory Review, Kenchiku Bunka, Japan Architect, L’Architecture d’Aujourd’hui, and the AA Files.

Promotional Partners

Rethinking of MA Webinar Series

In Contemporary Art Flowers and People, Cannot be Controlled but Live Together, Miami, teamLab

teamLab, Exhibition view of Every Wall is a Door, 2021, Superblue Miami © teamLab, courtesy Pace Gallery

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In Contemporary Architecture Kokugakuin University 125th Memorial Education Center

Kogakuin University 125th Memorial Education Center, designed by Chiba Manabu Architects, constructed 2012. Photo by Masao Nishikawa Check Event  

In Contemporary Cuisine chawanmushi with seasonal garnish

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In Japanese Film Drive my Car, Hidetoshi Nishijima and Toko Miura

Image courtesy of Sideshow & Janus Films Check Event

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