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Unseen Femininity: Women in Japanese New Wave Cinema

Wilson, Candice (2015) Unseen Femininity: Women in Japanese New Wave Cinema. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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During the mid-1950s to the early 1970s a subversive cinema, known as the Japanese New Wave, arose in Japan. This dissertation challenges critical trends that use French New Wave cinema and the oeuvre of Oshima Nagisa as templates to construct Japanese New Wave cinema as largely male-centered and avant-garde in its formal aesthetics. I argue instead for the centrality of the erotic woman to a questioning of national and postwar identity in Japan, and for the importance of popular cinema to an understanding of this New Wave movement. In short, this study aims to break new ground in Japanese New Wave scholarship by focusing on issues of gender and popular aesthetics.
Each chapter investigates female archetypes in light of their postwar transformation in an analysis that demonstrates how the New Wave woman challenges conventional notions of history, memory, and the human in Japan. Chapter One questions the mythology of male centeredness to the New Wave by examining the domestic figures of the Japanese wife and daughter as “anti-heroines” in the films of Oshima Nagisa as well as in earlier popular Sun Tribe films. Chapter Two explores the political significance of the transgendered body to institutional protest and war memory through a consideration of pornography and underground cinema. Through the films of Wakamatsu Koji and Matsumoto Toshio, this chapter engages in a queer study of the New Wave that rethinks postwar Japanese masculinity, aggression, and landscape. Chapter Three looks at the “comfort woman” and how Suzuki Seijun and Masumura Yasuzo utilize time narratively and aesthetically in their war cinema to negotiate the sexual mechanization of bodies before and after World War II. Chapter Four analyzes the transformation of the “good” mother into a demon in Shindo Kaneto’s horror films Onibaba (1964) and Kuroneko (1968). Drawing from a range of older cult horror films and venerated haha-mono (mother films) to articulate its argument, this chapter highlights the importance of horror to the New Wave in its production of new social discourses surrounding gender and the popular.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Wilson, Candicecnw8@pitt.eduCNW80000-0002-8987-1341
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairLowenstein, Adamalowen@pitt.eduALOWEN
Committee MemberMajumdar,
Committee MemberLandy, Marciamlandy@pitt.eduMLANDY
Committee MemberCondee, Nancycondee@pitt.eduCONDEE
Date: 1 October 2015
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 27 April 2015
Approval Date: 1 October 2015
Submission Date: 3 August 2015
Access Restriction: 5 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 5 years.
Number of Pages: 260
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > English
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Japanese New Wave, Gender, Pornography, Oshima Nagisa
Date Deposited: 01 Oct 2015 16:17
Last Modified: 01 Oct 2020 05:15


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