Josei no seiteki yokubō no hatsuro – Tanaka Kinuyo kantoku sakuhin [Chibusa yo eien nare] = [Expressing female sexual desire : director Tanaka Kinuyo's 'The eternal breasts']

Gonzalez-Lopez, Irene and Ueda, Mayu (2015) Josei no seiteki yokubō no hatsuro – Tanaka Kinuyo kantoku sakuhin [Chibusa yo eien nare] = [Expressing female sexual desire : director Tanaka Kinuyo's 'The eternal breasts']. CineMagaziNet!(19),

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This is one of the first publications to appraise star Tanaka Kinuyo’s trailblazing oeuvre as film director. Focusing on her third work, The Eternal Breasts (Chibusa yo eien nare, 1955), this article makes a case for the film to be recognised as a pioneer in the representation of female sexuality. Centred around the theme of breast cancer, the film articulates the convergence of sex and disease in the female body; as well as the conflict between the body as a reification of individual subjectivity and the body as a discursive entity that is socially constructed. Drawing on feminist film theory of the female body and of the politics of the gaze, the article examines five prominent scenes within the film. The analysis of both aesthetic and narrative elements sheds light on Tanaka’s attempt to challenge and problematise the hegemonic conventions of the representation of women and gender dynamics within Japanese mainstream melodrama. We argue that through the traumatic, but simultaneously cathartic experience of cancer, the heroine is constructed as the locus of the look, an active controlling agent of the gaze who rejects the passive conventional position of ‘to-be-looked-at-ness’. Instead she is presented as a subject enticing the look, which moreover, due to her maimed body, complicates the audiences’ expectations for satisfying visual pleasure. Finally, by locating the film’s narrative against the historical background of postwar Japan, in terms of gender roles, women’s fashion, and sexual mores, the articles aims to contribute to ongoing discussions regarding the cultural meaning of the breasts and the complex role this body part plays in the construction of sexual and social identities for women.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: In Japanese only
Uncontrolled Keywords: Japanese cinema, breast cancer, female sexuality, gaze
Research Area: Asian studies
Communication, cultural and media studies
Faculty, School or Research Centre: Faculty of Art, Design & Architecture (until 2017) > Centre for Contemporary Visual and Material Culture
Depositing User: Irene Gonzalez-Lopez
Date Deposited: 26 Jan 2018 15:21
Last Modified: 26 Jan 2018 15:21

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