Jogakusei-ki (1941)

Jogakusei-ki is another of those fascinating and charming movies about nothing that seem to be a specialty of Japan. Generally lumped together under the term shomin-geki, they simply portray the everyday world of everyday people, usually salarymen or small business owners. In this case, we follow a class of high school girls for a semester … Continue reading Jogakusei-ki (1941)

As a Wife, As a Woman / Poignant Story / Tsuma to shite onna to shite (1961)

Few Japanese movies illustrate the status of the Japanese mistress as clearly as does Naruse’s As a Wife, As a Woman. Miho (Hideko Takamine) has been the mistress of Professor Kouno for almost 20 years and has run the bar he owns in the Ginza for the last ten, but she is not getting any … Continue reading As a Wife, As a Woman / Poignant Story / Tsuma to shite onna to shite (1961)

World of Love: Tomi the Wildcat / Ai no sekai: Yamaneko Tomi no hanashi (1943)

Though it verges on the sentimental, Tomi the Wildcat gives us a somewhat different insight into the women on the home front in 1943 while also revealing the full maturation of the phenomenon that was Hideko Takamine. Now sixteen, Tomi has been living mostly on her own since her mother died when she was seven. … Continue reading World of Love: Tomi the Wildcat / Ai no sekai: Yamaneko Tomi no hanashi (1943)

Three Women Around Yoshinaka / Shin, Heike monogatari: Yoshinaka o meguru sannin no onna (1956)

The Heike monogatari is one of the great epics of medieval Japan, something like the Homeric epics, the Eddas, or the convoluted histories of England that resulted in Shakespeare’s history plays. As such, it had been retold, re-written, adapted into Noh plays, and thus known in some form by most educated Japanese long before Eiji … Continue reading Three Women Around Yoshinaka / Shin, Heike monogatari: Yoshinaka o meguru sannin no onna (1956)