Visions of Postwar Fascism


For Japan, 1960s were a troubled decade, kept between modernization and national identity. Intellectuals as well as Japanese “Nouvelle Vague”’s filmmakers led many protest movements related to a shattered Japanese identity. Some like Wakamatsu Kôji were motivated by revolt while others like Ôe Kenzaburô advocated for remembering in a way to peace. In 1960’s (censored) novel, Seventeen, Ôe depicts a teenager who finds alternative to his onanical urges through violence of an ultranationalist party. Through a housewife’s adultery with a former political activist friend and watched by a teenager, Wakamatsu’s Secrets Behind the Wall (1965) portrays same disoriented youth, postwar modernization’s alienation through combination between sexuality and repression, violence and political power. Firstly, these works share common subject of crisis of masculinity echoing nostalgia of a far away Meiji and Japanese patriarchal society ruined by defeat. Accusing of promoting a decadent picture of Japanese new prosperity, Wakamatsu’s pinku eiga reached very quickly a political tone such as Ôe’s books, even if in a different way. The filmmaker’s ultimate fate in 2012, year of his last film – focused on Mishima’s last play –, echoes Pier Paolo Pasolini’s. Political fate. Secondly, Ôe and Wakamatsu depict an omniscient fascism growing within 1960s, especially through Powell’s Peeping Tom’s eye of the teenager. Sexuality appears like subversive way of freedom but also like expression of repressive action such as censorship’s laws. Society is watched. Society is censored. Movie is the expression of the censorship itself, making infamous movie for being more unseen that seen.

Author Information
Maxime Boyer-Degoul, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium

Paper Information
Conference: FilmAsia2015
Stream: Film and Literature: Artistic Correspondence

This paper is part of the FilmAsia2015 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon