Censorship of Japanese Films During the U.S. Occupation of Japan: The Cases of Yasujiru Ozu and Akira Kurosawa

Censorship of Japanese Films During the U.S. Occupation of Japan: The Cases of Yasujiru Ozu and Akira Kurosawa

By: Lars-Martin Sorensen (author)Hardback

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Very few English-language books have focused exclusively upon the occupation period and its effects on cinema. This book investigates how Japanese fiction films produced during the American occupation (1945-1952) subverted occupation film censorship. It is based on extensive archival research and focuses primarily on the films of Yasujiro Ozu and Akira Kurosawa. The introduction discusses the prevailing narrative of the relationship between victors and vanquished, which has the Japanese in the role of the good losers and the Americans in the role of the good winners. This powerful historical discourse of the benevolent occupation rubbed off on film historical writings. As a consequence, the analysis of resistance in the occupation films of Ozu and Kurosawa is virtually nonexistent. Since meaning is made by movie-goers, I present a general outline of the interpretive framework peculiar to Japanese audiences during the occupation in chapter two. Subsequently, the history, structure and daily practice of U.S. censorship is described.The analysis of films, film criticism, and censorship documents on Ozu's and Kurosawa's films show that both directors repeatedly probed the limits of censorship, at times dodged censorship and frequently managed to denounce the occupiers and their imposed modernization. Ozu's resistance was especially concerned with the status of women in contemporary Japanese society. Kurosawa continued to foreground many of the nationalist themes of his wartime propaganda films in his occupation films, and tended to dress his criminal characters up as westerners with the presumable intent to denounce both the occupiers and those Japanese who embraced the ways of the occupiers. Finally, the book argues that Kurosawa's international breakthrough, "Rashomon" (1950), lends itself to an interpretation bordering on anti-Americanism by the contemporary Japanese audience.

Product Details

  • ISBN13: 9780773446731
  • Format: Hardback
  • Number Of Pages: 352
  • ID: 9780773446731
  • ISBN10: 0773446737

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