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Mikio Naruse and the Japanese Women's Film

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With some exceptions, the dominant pattern in classical Japanese cinema, from the 1930s into the 1960s, is one in which women are allegories for moral principles and rarely psychological subjects. In the films of Ozu and Mizoguchi and others, they tend to be idealized and fetishized as vessels of spiritual purity and true Japanese values, while for a director like Kurosawa, women are simply marginalized as secondary characters. I would like to suggest that, against this background, the films of Mikio Naruse represent a real difference, and might even provide a model for a Japanese women's film.

Keywords: Japanese cinema; Mikio Naruse; cultural nationalism; feminism; gender; women

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: September 1, 1998

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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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