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Nippon ModernJapanese Cinema of the 1920s and 1930s$
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Mitsuyo Wada-Marciano

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780824831820

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824831820.001.0001

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The Japanese Modern in Film Style

The Japanese Modern in Film Style

(p.111) Chapter 5 The Japanese Modern in Film Style
Nippon Modern

Mitsuyo Wada-Marciano

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter examines the relationship between modern mass culture and nationalism through an analysis of the cinema’s reflexivity toward the moviegoing experience itself. In this context, the chapter considers Shochiku Kamata Film Studios’ “Kamata style,” the foundation for the classical Japanese cinema, as the performative expression of Japanese modernity. The Kamata-style films presented a national identity by adapting the forms of ordinary domestic life and conciliated the audience with nationalism and militarism, especially in the 1930s. The chapter also discusses the interconnection between film style and cultural formations in Japanese society by focusing on the films of the director Shimazu Yasujiro, including My Neighbor, Miss Yae (Tonari no Yae-chan, 1934). Furthermore, it explores Shochiku’s use of high culture in the form of junbungaku (high literature) in an attempt to traverse the modernist boundaries between high and low culture. Finally, it details the compulsive desire of Japanese filmmakers to elevate their own social status, as manifested in the bifurcated view of interwar film critics toward the “West.”

Keywords:   mass culture, nationalism, Shochiku Kamata Film Studios, Kamata style, Japanese cinema, Japanese modernity, national identity, film style, Shimazu Yasujiro, high culture

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