Jonathan Wroot

Dr Jonathan Wroot PhD, MA, BA (Hons), HEA Fellow

Senior Lecturer in Film Studies

After pursuing film studies at BA and MA level, Jonathan went on to complete his PhD at the University of East Anglia. His thesis focused on the distribution and marketing of Japanese cinema in the UK, mainly by way of DVD releases. DVDs and Blu-rays are currently the most widely used format by distributors to bring Japanese and Asian cinema to the UK, as well as films from other parts of the world. Following other studies of Japanese film, which are often text-focused, Jonathan has instead brought an industry-focused approach to his interests in Japanese and international cinema.

Distribution and marketing are often overlooked within media and film research, though interest in this topic is growing. Through his research, Jonathan has gained insight into the practices of several UK-based distributors, such as Third Window Films, Terracotta, Arrow, Eureka, Manga Entertainment, and All The Anime.

Jonathan has integrated this knowledge into his teaching in order to demonstrate to students a wide range of possibilities available for research and professional practice – within a wide range of media industries.

Jonathan is continuing to publish research that pursues these interests in relation to Asian and international cinema. His research has also highlighted the unexplored story of the Zatoichi film franchise, concerning a blind swordsman. The character's long history and global impact will be the subject of a forthcoming monograph.

Responsibilities within the university

Senior Lecturer in Film Studies

Programme Leader for Film Studies

Extenuating Circumstances Committee Representative for the School of Design


Jonathan's industry knowledge and critical skills have been showcased in past issues of NEO Magazine, as part of the film review staff.

External Examiner for the BA Media and Communication Degree at the University of East London

BAFTSS – Screen Industries and Horror (Special Interest Groups)

Research / Scholarly interests

Jonathan's research has encompassed DVD special features; Japanese anime and processes of subtitling and dubbing; feature film adaptations of anime; as well as the distribution and critical reception of DVD releases. He has also interviewed Adam Torel, a DVD distributor who then turned branched out to independent film financing and production in Japan in the 2010s. Home media formats were a particular focus in his published book collections, where he contributed and co-edited research on cult and mainstream titles within physical and digital media, as well as for horror titles from around the world. Forthcoming projects include a monograph that charts the history of the Zatoichi franchise, as well as how streaming services have adopted DVD releases for their film productions (as seen recently with Netflix and MUBI).

His interests include, but are not limited to, the following: Japanese cinema; transnational cinema; film reception; genre within film and media; home media formats; industry studies – particularly processes of distribution, marketing and promotion.

Recent publications

Selected Publications:

The Paths of Zatoichi: The Global Influence of the Blind SwordsmanLexington Books, 2021.

New Blood: Critical Approaches to Contemporary Horror, co-edited with Eddie Falvey and Joe Hickinbottom, University of Wales Press, 2021.

Cult Media: Repackaged, Re-released and Restored, co-edited with Andy Willis (University of Salford), Palgrave Macmillan, 2017.

DVD, Blu-ray and Beyond: Navigating Formats and Platforms within Media Consumption, co-edited with Andy Willis, Palgrave Macmillan, 2017.

The Zatoichi Film Franchise: The Influence of the Blind Swordsman, forthcoming monograph.

Articles and Book Chapters:

'Distributing and Marketing Asian Cinema: Definitions from DVD Labels', chapter in The Asian Cinema Handbook, Palgrave Macmillan, 2018.

Moving from Japanese film distribution to production: An interview with Third Window Films Adam Torel. Bright Lights Film Journal (online), May 2018.

'Experiencing Websites: How DVD Distributors Promote and Provide New Online Experiences for UK DVD Viewers', Arts and The Market, Vol.5, No.2, October 2015.

'Dubbing Death Note: Framing The Authentic Text', East Asian Journal of Popular Culture, Vol.1, No.2, September 2015, 193-204.

'Reviewing Distinctive DVD Experiences: NEO Magazine and the Critical Reception of Asian Media Distributors', Participations, Vol.12, No.1, May 2015, 82-101.

'Special Features and Stage Greetings: Whose Promotional Material is it anyway?', Frames Cinema Journal, Issue on 'Promotional Materials', published May 2013.


Recent Conference Presentations:

'Franchise>Genre>Industry: What can be learnt from the Zatoichi film franchise', BAFTSS Conference, Bristol, April 2017.

'Letting the Fans Be Involved: Third Window's Use of Social Media and Crowdfunding for Disc Releases', The Fan Studies Network Conference, Norwich, June 2016.

'The Creative Acts of DVD Labels', Screen Studies Symposium, Manchester, May 2016.

'The Distribution of Martial Arts Cinema', Kung Fury: Contemporary Debates in Martial Arts Cinema, Birmingham, April 2016.

'The Global Influence of Zatoichi, The Blind Japanese Swordsman – or, Move Over, Shogun Assassin', Global Exploitation Cinemas, Lincoln, May 2015.

'Distribution and Marketing as Production: The Creative Acts of DVD Labels', New Directions in Film and Television Production Studies International Conference, Bristol, April 2015.

'The Stories of Arrow Video', MeCCSA Conference, Bournemouth, January 2014.