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Title: National crisis and the female image : expressions of trauma in Japanese film, 1945-64
Author: Coates, Jennifer
ISNI:       0000 0004 5346 5143
Awarding Body: SOAS, University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 2014
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Inspired by recurring themes in the representation of the female body during the early postwar period of Japanese film production, this thesis investigates the affective impact of the female image during national crisis. Following scholars such as Miriam Hansen, Isolde Standish and Mitsuyo Wada-Marciano, who posit film as a reflexive medium which expresses and mediates popular anxieties, I suggest that the popularity of certain reoccurring female images on film can be understood in terms of their expressive and cathartic affect during the Allied occupation of Japan (1945-1952) and its aftermath. My art-historically informed iconographic analysis of popular film texts is contextualised by contemporary criticism and viewer responses published in major commercial film journals of the period, with reference to Japan's socio-political climate during the first decades of the postwar era. This study addresses the affect of film on the viewer as a means to understand the popularity of repetitive imagery. I suggest that recurrent trends within the presentation of the female image are coded to reflect viewer concerns and allay popular fears. In focusing on reoccurring themes in the female image on film, I engage with extant scholarship which identifies popular tropes in the representation of women in Japanese cinema, but which has yet to fully interrogate their impact or the reasons for their popularity, which engenders their repetition. The interdisciplinary approach of this thesis contributes to methodological questions within film studies as a discipline, while my use of affect theory is a new theoretical approach to postwar Japanese film. Analysis of the impact of affective imagery addresses concerns expressed in scholarship and in popular media throughout the twentieth century and into the twenty-first as to the impact of film imagery on the viewer.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral