History of Postwar Japan as Told by Cinema
Jennifer Coates (SOAS, University of London)
Date: 19 February 2014Time: 5:00 PM
Finishes: 19 February 2014Time: 7:00 PM
Venue: Russell Square: College BuildingsRoom: G50
Type of Event: Seminar
Series: JRC Seminar Programme
Inspired by recurring themes in the representation of the female body during the early postwar period of Japanese film production, my research investigates the affective value of the female image during national crisis. Following Miriam Hansen’s definition of film as a reflexive medium which expresses and mediates popular anxieties, I suggest that certain archetypal female images on film could achieve expressive and cathartic affect during the Allied occupation of Japan (1945-1952) and its aftermath. I contextualise my own iconographic analysis of popular film texts with discourse analysis conducted on contemporary criticism published in six commercial film journals, and with close reference to Japan’s socio-political climate informed by historical writing on the postwar period.
I am currently in the fourth year of a PhD in Japanese film studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies in the University of London, supported by the Kayoko Tsuda Bursary for Japanese Studies. My thesis, titled National Crisis and the Female Image: Expressions of Trauma in Japanese Film 1945-1964, analyses the female image in postwar Japanese film in order to understand the reoccurrence and repetition of selected images of women. My thesis interprets the post-defeat years 1945-1964 as a period of national crisis for Japan in terms of the devastation of the nation postwar and in terms of national identity. I have conducted fieldwork as a Japanese Government Scholar (Monbukagakusho), and have spent one year at the Australian National University as a visiting student, and three months at the Library of Congress as a junior Kluge Fellow. The previous three years of my PhD and my Kluge Fellowship were supported by the AHRC. My research interests include the socio-political impact of the image of the female body and its uses in nation-building processes.
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