Aaron Gerow

Aaron Gerow's picture
A. Whitney Griswold Professor of Film and Media Studies and of East Asian Languages and Literatures
320 York Street, Room 108, New Haven, CT 06511
(203) 432-7082
Curriculum Vitae: 


Aaron Gerow is A. Whitney Griswold Professor of Film and Media Studies and of East Asian Languages and Literatures. He specializes in East Asian film and media, teaching courses in Japanese and East Asian film, world animation, film genre (documentary, martial arts film, comedy), Japanese film theory, historiography, television, and cultural and media theory, Japanese literature, and Japanese popular culture. He has published widely on a variety of topics in East Asian cinema, media, and popular culture, ranging from silent to contemporary cinema, from TV commercials to wartime and colonial film culture. His publications include Visions of Japanese Modernity: Articulations of Cinema, Nation, and Spectatorship, 1895-1925 (University of California Press), A Page of Madness: Cinema and Modernity in 1920s Japan (Center for Japanese Studies at the University of Michigan), and Kitano Takeshi (British Film Institute). He also co-authored the Research Guide to Japanese Film Studies with Abe Mark Nornes (Center for Japanese Studies), which came out in Japanese translation in 2016. He has recently supervised the reprints of a number of prewar Japanese film theory journals for Yumani Shobo. Before coming to Yale in 2004, he spent nearly 12 years in Japan, where he was an associate professor at Yokohama National University, in addition to teaching at Meiji Gakuin University and working for a time as a coordinator at the Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival. He is currently writing about the history of Japanese film theory.

Research Interests

Japanese film and media; East Asian film and media; history of film theory; animation; Japanese modern literature; early cinema; television; censorship

Education History

Columbia University A.D. 1985
Columbia University M.F.A 1987
University of Iowa M.A. 1992
University of Iowa Ph.D. 1996


Japan has done marvelous things with cinema, giving the world the likes of Kurosawa, Mizoguchi, and Ozu. But cinema did not arrive in Japan fully formed at the end of the nineteenth century, nor was it simply adopted into an ages-old culture. Aaron Gerow explores the processes by which film was defined, transformed, and adapted during its first three decades in Japan. He focuses in particular on how one trend in criticism, the Pure Film Movement, changed not only the way films were made, but also how they were conceived.