Japan Coal Miners Union had played a leading role in independent production and screening of “gentō” (magic lantern, lantern slide, stereopticon) as a useful medium of document, education, propaganda and persuasion for labor movements during 1950s.JCMU also produced two fictional gentō films based on the series of “ebanashi” (illustrated story) created by Ueno Eishin and Senda Umeji within coal miners’ cultural movement. In this article, I would like to focus on one of these ebanashi gentō films, Senpuri Senji Laughed! (1956), trying to shed light on its creators’ background and its making process that have been unknown since rediscovering of this film in 2007. Both of two creators of this film, Kikuchi Toshio (photography) and Sei Mitsuo (production design) were film technicians belonged to Manchuria Film Association during war.After Japan’s defeat, they transferred to Northeast Film Studio and continued filmmaking in People’s Republic of China till they returned to Japan in 1953. After returning Japan, Kikuchi and Sei co-created Senpuri Senji Laughed!, the unique gentō work photographing elaborate puppets and miniature sets to represent hard labor and life of coal miners with reality. I also try to verify that this film was created as a result of the cross-cultural interaction between China and Japan in 1950s.
This paper investigates Noboru Tanaka’s Nikkatsu Roman poruno film, A Woman Called Sada Abe (“Jitsuroku Abe Sada,” 1975). Considering recent popularity of Roman poruno films among women, it is high time that we reevaluated them from an academic, feminist standpoint. Despite being supposedly oriented towards heterosexual men like other films in the series, A Woman Called Sada Abe has distinctive qualities that provide cinematic pleasures to female spectators. To prove this point, I begin by theorizing female spectatorship of Roman poruno in general. With the limitations of classic models of spectatorship in mind, I argue that Roman poruno films allow spectators to take fluid and multiple viewing positions beyond the confines of their gender and sexual orientation. Then, I explore the film in question, focusing mainly on its unique heroine, Sada. Through a close analysis of the audio-visual components and the narrative, I suggest that the representation of Sada goes against gender norms of Japanese patriarchal society. The ultimate goal of this paper is to propose that A Woman Called Sada Abe not only enables female spectators to experience malleable identification and desire but also celebrates woman’s pursuit of sexual pleasure.
In 1949, Vincente Minnelli directed Madame Bovary. This Hollywood film is based on Gustave Flaubert’s classic novel of the same title and famous for depicting the intense desires and immoral deeds of Madame Bovary when the Production Code was still effective. But this paper demonstrates that the film represents her husband’s desires as well.
At first, this paper pays attention to the changes of the characterization of Charles Bovary from the original novel. These changes make him intelligent and likable enough to avoid viewers’ sympathy with his wife Emma’s affair. However, the point is that these changes also make him desire her affection, try to satisfy her, and finally recognize his inability to do so. This paper reveals how the film represents his repressed desires and his hysterical eruption of them through the anatomical chart in his consulting room and his drunkenness during the famous “neurotic waltz” scene. The film is not only about Emma’s desire and dream but about Charles’ own ones. This fact makes it clear that the film differs from other Hollywood woman’s films in the 1940s, and rather relates to the films in the 1950s.
The purpose of this paper is to empirically reveal why Hara Setsuko’s value among stars under the U.S. occupation rose the most and how her star persona was constructed by the desire of the Japanese people in light of the socio-cultural condition after the defeat in the Second World War. Although the research on film stars so far has paid much attention to cinematic representation, this paper emphasizes discourses surrounding stars, especially the relationship between films and images/texts in fan magazines from the perspective of star studies, and explores what kind of value the construction of individual identity across plural media texts created in the norms of gender/sexuality in the U.S. occupation period.
Hara Setsuko, as the image of the ideal woman which was required after the war, had already presented an intellectual and strong willed image during the war, and became the most popular star in the occupation period by embodying the continuity between the interwar and the postwar. She created a persona, which “keeps a distance from others” in both her cinematic performances and in the personality represented in fan magazines. This enhanced her cultural value in the discourse on Japanese female bodies during the occupation period. She discursively constructed an ideal persona as a “disjunctive body” never conceptually overlapping with the “defeated body” evoking the historical trauma of defeat represented by “pan-pan”—street prostitutes who solicited American soldiers. This paper analyzes how Hara Setsuko was estimated and desired by the public in the historical context of the occupation, and elucidates the postwar consciousness of Japanese people through her star persona, which visualized the relationship between the U.S. and Japan.
The situation comedy was a representative genre of drama that played a central role in 1950s American television programming. Though the situation comedy has been studied in terms of the social and cultural background of the era, this paper looks closely at the relationship of the dramatic form of the genre and the narrative functions of gag, focusing on the “vehicle gags” used in I Love Lucy.
Television dramas are generally classified into two kinds of forms: “series” and“serial.” And the situation comedy belongs to the former. There are two groups of episodes in I Love Lucy (broadcasted for six seasons), however, which have the characteristics of “serial.” These episodes depict the travels of Lucy and her husband and friends to Hollywood and Europe respectively, and they deviate considerably from the normal pattern of the program in several ways. The “vehicle gags” used in these episodes also have different characteristics and are more dynamic and large-scale than the usual gag usages in the preceding episodes. Though the linear progression in plot and the gags of these episodes seem deviated from the regular patterns of I Love Lucy, they represent, in reality, part of the circular narrative structure that works as a compelling force of the genre to bring the protagonist back to her/his fundamental situation set at the beginning of the program.
The purpose of this paper is to reexamine the position of photographs with respect to interconnection among a photograph, its context, the photographic process, and photographic actions (i.e. taking and viewing photographs). It has been thought that photographs are not only the terminal result of the photographic process, but also subordinated to the context. In reality, this relationship can be much more complex. With recent advancements in technology, professional skills are no longer necessary for people to take and manipulate photographs. Furthermore, viewers are now able to arrange groups of photographs and their context easily, based on individual wants. Considering these latest tendencies, this article examines how the direct- and indirect-contexts affect photographic actions. Because viewers are now able to participate in the photographic process more actively than in the past, it becomes clear that there is an intimate relationship between the actions of taking and viewing photographs. Another fact has come to light; that photographs and direct-context, such as annotations and the place where each photograph is exhibited, are changed by communications between viewers and accumulated photographs. Consequently, like photographs in Social Networking Services, the collection of these photographs will become temporary-context, which may affect photographic actions in the future. Thus, a photograph is no longer a passive object, but instead it is one of the important elements within the photographic process. This open structure of photography, brought about through technological innovation, will lead to new ways to consider the photographic experience of today.