Jidaigeki: Period Dramas in Japan

Choose ONE of the following questions, develop a well-defined and original thesis, and discuss it in detail in

an essay of 5-8 pages, typed and double-spaced. There are two basic requirements that your paper must

follow. 1) You must include a close and careful film analysis of a segment or segments, and 2) you must use

this analysis to advance your argument.

1. Compare and contrast Sadao Yamanaka’s use of jidaigeki in Humanity and Paper Balloons with

Toshio Matsumoto’s take on jidaigeki in Pandemonium. How do they address the political and social

realities of 1930s and early 1970s Japan respectively? You may focus on a few recurring themes (e.g.

money, class, code of honor).

2. Discuss “Americanism” in Hibari’s Ishimatsu and reflect on the film’s social and cultural meanings

by drawing on at least two course readings. Be as specific as possible with your examples.

3. Discuss cinematic constructions of masculinity in two films of your own choosing. You may focus

on how the films portray the main male character(s)’s bodies and actions and consider how the films’

formal and stylistic features contribute to your perception of their masculinity.

4. Discuss the use and abuse of history in at least two jidaigeki films shown in class, and consider their

political and ethical implications. What kind of strategies do they use to produce a sense of “pastness”?

 
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