Seeking for New Values: Failure and Crisis of Models in Tsukamoto’s and Kurosawa’s Tokyo Films


The postwar Japan was subject to deep identity mutations as a result from the defeat and the social reforms often dictated by the American occupant. Only in 1951, after the end of the occupation the postwar “Japanese miracle” of the 1950s and the 1960s emphasized by new economic prosperity and international reputation. And yet, starting from the 1960s, this feeling of defeat still endures as the contemporary Japan remains haunted by the consequences of social mutations resulted from the postwar period at the cost of tradition. Such a mutation that Mishima Yukio criticized in the 1960s through the fall of patriarchal authority and loss of old values. From Gilles Deleuze’s point of view, cinema as a reflection of modernity and society also emphasized that crisis of individual by exposing the loss of the link between the man and the world. In the 1960s, many Japanese filmmakers such as Wakamatsu Koji or Teshigahara Hiroshi already shared their concerns about this loss. Through this presentation, it will be demonstrated that this loss already observed in the 1960s still endures in contemporary Japan. That’s why it will especially focus on two movies from present filmmakers: Tokyo Fist (1995) by Tsukamoto Shinya and Tokyo Sonata (2008) by Kurosawa Kiyoshi. Both of these movies highlight this still fallen masculine authority resulting in a crisis of obsolete models. In that case, how is this figure depicted and in what way does that portrayal establish a present observation resulted from an unresolved postwar failure ?

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

Paper Information
Conference: ACAH2017
Stream: Humanities - Media, Film Studies, Theatre, Communication

This paper is part of the ACAH2017 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon