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Title: The representation of women in early postwar Japanese cinema
Author: Smith, Michael James
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2013
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After conceding defeat to the Allies in World War 11, Japan was occupied by an American-led force which aimed to reconstruct the nation's political, social and legal ideologies. One of their biggest aims was to promote gender equality, and to this end a raft of reforms were enacted which enhanced the position of women in the early postwar years. This thesis aims to re-examine Japanese film of the late 1940s and 1950s by looking at the representation of female characters in mainstream narrative film. This will be achieved through analysis of three canonical filmmakers from the period: Yasujiro Ozu, Mikio Naruse and Kenji Mizoguchi. By exploring the history of women in Japan and making close textual analysis of nine films, I assess how the reforms which were put in place during the early postwar period in relation to women were reflected in the female characters of the nation's cinema. The cinema of Japan in the early postwar period has often been recognised as representing the Classical era of the nation's cinema. For various reasons, Classical Japanese Cinema was often characterised by a focus on both female protagonists and the sociopolitical issues relevant to women during of the period. While there is a rich body of scholarly work by Anglophone writers on Classical Japanese Cinema, the amount of scholarship that has looked specifically at women does not correspond with the importance of her position to the narratives of the nation's early postwar cinema. A space therefore exists for an extended study of the filmic representation of Japanese women in what was a crucial moment in history for her gender. Able t6 participate politically for the first time and entrusted with a wider range of personal freedoms and opportunities than ever before, the female subject in early postwar Japanese cinema was a dynamic agent of sociopolitical change.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available