Roundtable: The Position of Women in Post-War Japanese Cinema (Kinema Junpō, 1961)
In contrast to the canonical history of cinema and film theory, often dominated by academic texts and Western and/or male voices, this article presents a casual conversation held in 1961 between four of the most influential women in the post-war Japanese film industry: Kawakita Kashiko, Yamamoto Kyōko, Tanaka Kinuyo and Takamine Hideko. As they openly discuss their gendered experience in production, promotion, distribution and criticism, their thoughts shed light on the wide range of opportunities available to women in filmmaking, but also on the professional constraints and concerns which they felt came along with their gender. Their conversation reveals how they measured themselves and their national industry in relation to the West; at times unaware of their pioneer role in world cinema. This piece of self-reflexive criticism contributes to existing research on both women's filmmaking and the industry of Japanese cinema, and invites us to reconsider non-hegemonic film thinking practices and voices.
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