Monday's Sankei Shimbun had an interesting graph of the relative shares of Japan's box office receipts captured by Japanese and non-Japanese films since 1955. The graph shows a recent, steep resurgence of the share of the filmgoer's yen being taken in by Japanese-crafted films
For the first time since 1985 (Showa 60), box office receipts of films made by Japanese studios and independents (dark line) are likely to surpass the receipts of imported films (light line). From an absolute nadir just 8 years ago (Heisei 10 - 1998), when local films captured only 27.1% of all receipts, the share of the box office captured by Japan's filmakers rose to a tantalizing 49% in the first six months of 2006.
To what can we attribute this stunning rise in the popularity of local product over imports?
1) Hollywood is producing more and more awful films
2) Japanese filmakers are producing better and better films
3) Japanese filmakers are making more films that people like (the article quotes critics as saying that Japanese filmakers are making more emotive "date movies" while Hollywood keeps churning out CG-enhanced action spectacles)
4) Rising Japanese nationalism
OK heck, not even the Sankei even gave half a moment's though to #4. Can it.