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Novella on Screen: Kawabata's The Izu Dancer and Gosha's Film Version (1932)

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Kawabata's novella The Izu Dancer (Izu no odoriko ) has been adapted for screen six times since it was published in 1926. That number seems small, considering the nature of the story. After all, it offers the time-honored romantic theme of young lovers separated by social barriers.

The most recent adaptation is Mitsuo Wakasugi's 1976 vehicle for teen pop idols Tomokazu Miura and Momoe Yamaguchi-hardly a version to single out for praise. Of course social barriers are not what they used to be, and a film of the 1970s may be expected to reflect that fact. In any case, the first film version of The Izu Dancer is the best-Heinosuke Gosha's work for the silent screen in 1932. Any director could mine the melodramatic vein in Kawabata's tale, but Gosha's pioneering work surpasses the others by accommodating the novella's lyrical aspects to the shomingeki genre he was himself most comfortable in.
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Keywords: Gosha; The Izu Dancer; melodramatic; shomingeki genre; social barriers; young lovers

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Pittsburgh

Publication date: 1997-09-01

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  • Asian Cinema is a seminal journal, which has been published since 1995 by the Asian Cinema Studies Society under the stewardship of Professor John Lent. From 2012 Asian Cinema will be published by Intellect as part of our Film Studies journal portfolio. The journal currently publishes a variety of scholarly material - including research articles, interviews, book and film reviews and bibliographies - on all forms and aspects of Asian cinema. The journal's broad aim is to advance understanding and knowledge of the rich traditions of the various Asian cinemas, thereby making an invaluable contribution to the field of Film Studies in general.
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