Urban Landscape and the “Disinhabitation” in Japanese Cinema


Postwar Japan started the increasing wave of modernization and industrialization as an inseparable element of the Japanese 'miraculous' economic and social rebirth. One of the symbols of this renewal is the new middle-class embodied by the salaryman, the very new face of bright future and success. However, postwar intellectuals such as artists and filmmakers quickly stated the emptiness of promises symbolized by this fallen idol, even more especially through recent years of great depression like the 1990s.Consecutive events figure modern and urban landscape as the reflection of a growing feeling of social and identity insecurity. The great city of Tokyo becomes an unsafe place, even potentially hostile. Social crisis is embodied through an anxiety of modern Japan: evaporation of individual. Evaporation as a consequence of 'disinhabitation' of places made uninhabitable and unlivable. As a symbol of prosperity, the salaryman used to be associated to a comfortable way of life pictured by the new modern residential complex: danchis.In this way, this presentation will establish a comparative analysis of 'disinhabitation' through Ozu Yasujiro's A Hen in the Wind (1948), Teshigahara Hiroshi's The Face of Another (1966), Tsukamoto Shinya's Tokyo Fist and Bullet Ballet (1995) and Kurosawa Kiyoshi's Tokyo Sonata (2008). These movies share the picture of insecurity as a result of a modern society built on the ashes of war and defeat. This picture is especially highlighted through the representation of dwelling made unlivable and people no longer able to inhabit those places, leading them to uncertainty.

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

Paper Information
Conference: MediAsia2017
Stream: Film and Literature: Artistic Correspondence

This paper is part of the MediAsia2017 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon