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Transition in the Japanese Youth Cinema (1956-1960): from the Taiyōzoku Phenomenon to the New Wave. Crazed Fruit, Kisses and Cruel Story of Youth. Comparative Analysis, Contextual Parameters and Thematic and Formal Transgressions.

Centeno, Marcos (2009) Transition in the Japanese Youth Cinema (1956-1960): from the Taiyōzoku Phenomenon to the New Wave. Crazed Fruit, Kisses and Cruel Story of Youth. Comparative Analysis, Contextual Parameters and Thematic and Formal Transgressions. MPhil thesis. University of Valencia.

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Abstract

This study faces the constitution of the Japanese New Wave in his earliest form, the “youth cinema” (seishun eiga). During the proposed “Period of Transition” (1956-1960) several factors from inside and outside of the film industry caused the rupture with the previous period of the “Postwar Humanists” and afterwards the transition to a new paradigm. This timeframe is described throughout the case study of three key works. First, Crazed Fruit (Kuruta kajitsu, Kō Nakahira, 1956), the milestone of the commercial youth films released the summer of 1956 which depicted a lazy and bourgeois youth. They were part of the so-called the taiyōzoku (the “tribe of the Sun”) cinema, a phenomenon of the popular culture which had a literary origin, the short novels of Shintarō Ishihara starting with Season of the Sun (Taiyō no kisetsu) published in July 1955, One year letter, after the success of the cinematographic version, another film based on his novels was released, Crazed Fruit, stared by Shintarō’s younger brother, Yūjirō Ishihara who would become the juvenile icon of the late fifties. Second, Kisses (Kuchizuke, Yasuzō Masumura, 1957), a sharp criticism of the capitalist logic installed in the emerging Japanese Economic Miracle, throughout the satiric depiction of a working class couple of youngsters, which became an early transgression of the depictions of youth and a precursor of the cinematographic renewal of the sixties. Third, Cruel Stories of Youth (Seishun zankoku monogatari, Nagisa Oshima, 1960), a portrayal of the dark side of the Japanese reconstruction. The black market and yakuza gangs are seen throughout the eyes of a couple who survive in the margins of society, cheating adults and prostituting themselves, being the first film called New Wave (nūberu bāgu) by the specialized press. Thus, youth would lead the changes that took place in the film industry of the second half of the fifties. On the one hand, a new generation promoted as directors, challenging the old ways of filmmaking. On the other, they projected on screen new topics in which youth will be depicted in a provocative and innovative way, prompting thematic and formal transgressions which would lead Japanese cinema to the cinematographic modernity.

Item Type: Theses (MPhil)
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > Department of East Asian Languages & Cultures
Legacy Departments > Faculty of Languages and Cultures > Centre for Film Studies
Legacy Departments > Faculty of Languages and Cultures > Department of the Languages and Cultures of Japan and Korea
Regional Centres and Institutes > SOAS Japan Research Centre
Subjects: N Fine Arts > N Visual arts (General)
Supervisors Name: Vicente Sánchez-Biosca
Depositing User: Marcos Centeno
Date Deposited: 20 Aug 2015 18:07
URI: http://eprints.soas.ac.uk/id/eprint/20608

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