About Japan Institute of the Moving Image
JIMI – The first and the only university in Japan specializing in cinema.
A Message from the President
The Japan Institute of the Moving Image distinguishes itself by its extensive training in filmmaking. When I talk about “training”, however, I notice that people often imagine some kind of training in a craft, or technical skills. That it not quite what we offer through our four-year degree courses.
Films all have content. Filmmaking training begins with thinking about what story you want to tell. In the “Group Research Projects” class, for example, first-year students discuss who interests them, and think about what it is about that person they find so interesting. Then, while learning research methods, students divide up responsibilities as a team, collect information and investigate further.
In the beginning of their studies here, students learn how to be interested in other human beings. This is the first step of “training” as we define it. Through research and interviews, students deepen their interest in people, and discover the joy and meaning of recording this interest using images and sound. They do also have to learn how to operate cameras and microphones in order to do this. They then create a human documentary on their own.
Training in drama production proceeds in a similar way. Students begin by writing scripts, which they read and discuss with one another. They obviously have to learn mechanical techniques, but their discussion is focused on questions such as: What kind of person is the character I am trying to depict? Why does this person do what he or she does? Should I change it in this way? In that case, wouldn’t it be better to film it differently?
Filmmaking classes involve intense thinking. They draw heavily on how much you know about, or can observe about, society and people, and their perspectives and psychology. As film culture becomes more internationalized and stories become more sophisticated, the quantity and level of that knowledge will increase even further.
Our institution is proud to have turned out many luminaries in the world of Japanese cinema, as the former technical school, the Japan Academy of Moving Images. In 2011, we became a university and altered our name to the Japan Institute of the Moving Image.
When students gain a solid understanding of our core curriculum, a better foundation for thinking about human beings and society, they will be able to write better scripts, create better projects, and be better able to meaningfully discuss all of it with their peers.
Currently at our campus, students are engrossed in their graduation projects. They must be nearly finished. I am waiting with high expectations for what their efforts can produce.
Training in filmmaking does not consist merely of practical techniques. It is as much, or more, the study of human beings and society.
1. Students Create Classes
Students receive detailed guidance in small classes, which is designed to place students in an active stance towards their learning. Students do not learn only at their desks but by finding their own subjects of study through filmmaking and fieldwork in groups. They will discover problems for themselves and approach them from various angles through on-going peer discussion. It is a process of trial and error, through which students learn to express their opinions, to listen to others, and to share ideas with others. These are the activities that require a high level of autonomy and social awareness, and through which filmmaking skills can be nurtured.
2. An Intensive Learning Environment
During filmmaking workshops and practice, students are freed from other classes to focus exclusively on these tasks. For example, in the second semester of the first year, the timetable consists of only one subject, Introduction to Filmmaking, for 10 weeks from Monday to Thursday. During this period students can tackle filmmaking in depth, and also foster comrade-ship with other members of their group. Students are able to fully absorb the knowledge and techniques necessary through involvement in this intense experience of group activity. In addition, this unique timetabling allows us to teach numerous other non-practical subjects in a similarly intensive way, to the great benefit of students.
3. Highly Qualified Teaching Staff
We aim to produce graduates who are equipped with both practical and theoretical knowledge in film studies. The teaching staff varies, therefore, from professional filmmakers to critics and researchers; the number of “creative” teaching staff is matched by the number of “theoretical” teaching staff. All of our creative staff are presently active in film production, and consequently they can offer up-to-date information about the current state of the film industry.
4. Collaboration and Omnibus Lectures
In order for students to understand film from different viewpoints, we offer a number of lectures in collaboration or omnibus formats. In these classes experts in different fields are present in the same classroom to demonstrate different approaches, or at other times they give consecutive lectures on the same topic. By having professional filmmakers and critics teach the same subject, students can be immersed in stimulating discussions and learn to acquire their own points of view.
1. Screen Writing and Directing
By learning the core skills of storytelling and directing, students are encouraged and prepared to create their own film art. For example, they will explore the relationship between text and acting, the essence of drama and techniques of expression, as well as the methodology of screen writing. Simultaneously, we focus on developing leadership skills by improving students’ ability to communicate with others, which is crucial in the collaborative task of filmmaking.
By experimenting with light and colour, students will understand the difficulty as well as the joy of the process of giving a film a certain form. For example, they study the history of the moving image and the technology involved in it. We expect students not only to explore the ways in which a drama can be materialized, but also the philosophical aspects of cinematography in order to prepare them for their professional future.
3. Sound Recording
The relationship between sight and hearing is the first and foremost issue to be tackled in this course, before students proceed to explore ways of creating sounds. Film is the composite art of image and sound. Students are expected to gain a new perspective, in which they re-capture films through a sense of hearing instead of the familiar emphasis on looking. We offer practical lessons about the entire process of creating the audio track of a movie, starting from recording on site, editing in the studio, creating additional effects, and to the final mixing stage.
Students learn the techniques essential for connecting image fragments to weave a story. They will have to grasp the meaning of given images and create a montage. In the process of searching for the best way to tell the story, a good editor will take various things into consideration, from time constraints to the emotional effects on the creators as well as the viewers.
In documentary making, students learn to gaze at humanity through the narrow space between fact and fiction. Documentary can be defined in terms of the creator’s gaze which exists within the gap between people’s memory and the recorded story of the event. The boundary between fiction and nonfiction is, therefore, neither clear nor fixed. While constantly verifying the incongruities between the moving image and reality, students learn about the news media, the role of journalism, and the multitudes of communication that film can offer.
6. Film Theory and Producing
By learning socio-historical aspects of film, students are exposed to inter-disciplinary approaches, such as cultural studies, sociology, and international relations. While expanding their overall knowledge, students develop their own perspectives for the cultural environment in which they live. Students will particularly explore the social roles and functions film can play in society. This course aims to produce graduates who have the strength to tackle a variety of tasks not only in the film industry but also in local communities and abroad.
Tuition Fees (First Year, in Japanese Yen)
At Entrance Procedures
Class Tuition Fee
Location and Contact
1-16-30 Manpukuji, KawasakiAsao Ward, Kanagawa Prefecture 215-0004, Japan
Our two campuses are both located in the “Shinyuri: Town of the Arts” district, which is around 30 minutes by train from Shinjuku, Tokyo. The nearest station is Shinyurigaoka Station on the Odakyu Line, which has become a cultural hub within Kawasaki City. The area is now an “Arts Zone”, home to a gathering of other cultural facilities including Kawasaki Art Center, Asao Cultural Center, and Shinyuri 21 Hall. The town offers the perfect environment for art students who can participate in various cultural activities around the town, while enjoying the combination of a beautiful natural landscape and the convenience of metropolitan living.