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Tanaka Kinuyo

Nation, Stardom and Female Subjectivity

Edited by Irene González-López, Michael Smith

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The first book in English dedicated to the actor and director Tanaka Kinuyo

Praised as amongst the greatest actors in the history of Japanese cinema, Tanaka’s career spanned the industrial development of cinema – from silent to sound, monochrome to colour. Alongside featuring in films by Ozu, Mizoguchi, Naruse and Kurosawa, Tanaka was also the only Japanese woman filmmaker between 1953 and 1962, and her films tackled distinctly feminine topics such as prostitution and breast cancer. Her career overlapped with a transformative period in Japanese history, and this close analysis of her fascinating life and work offers new perspectives, subjectivities and modes of analysis for the classical era of Japanese cinema.

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Contents

Preface; Furukawa Kaoru
Introduction: Onna Monogatari; Irene González-López and Michael Smith
1. Dancer, Doctor, Virgin, Wife: Tanaka Kinuyo’s Early Star Image; Lauri Kitsnik
2. Meetings and Partings: How Tanaka's Films End; Alexander Jacoby
3. Tanaka and Mizoguchi: Politics and Rebellion in the Early Postwar Era; Michael Smith
4. The First Female Gaze at Postwar Japanese Women: Tanaka Kinuyo Film Director; Irene González-López and Ashida Mayu
5. Kinuyo and Sumie: When Women Write and Direct; Ayako Saito
6. Female Authorship, Subjectiviy and Colonial Memory in Tanaka Kinuyo’s The Wandering Princess (1960); Alejandra Armendáriz-Hernández
7. Panpan Girls, Lesbians and Postwar Women’s Communitites: Girls of Dark (1961) as Women’s Cinema; Yuka Kanno

About the Author

Irene González-López is Post-Doctoral Researcher at the Visual and Material Culture Research Centre, Kingston University (London). Irene’s research interests are Cinema, Gender Studies, Popular Visual Culture, and Stardom. In addition, she is a translator and has worked with several film festivals in Japan and Europe.

Michael Smith was awarded his PhD from University of Leeds in 2013. His research looked at the representation of women in early postwar Japanese cinema, particularly focusing on how the key political and social issues of the period affected their onscreen portrayal. Michael’s main research interests are Classical-era Japanese cinema, women directors and 1990s American independent cinema.

Reviews

'It would appear that English language scholarship on Kinuyo Tanaka is just beginning. In addition, this volume is helpful in better understanding some of the outside forces that also played a part in the history of Japanese cinema.'
- Peter Nellhaus, Coffee, Coffee and more Coffee

This collection provides a valuable overview of Tanaka Kinuyo’s long and prolific career as an actress and director. While Tanaka took on the roles of some of the most iconic figures in Japanese cinema, she also embodied many of the deep contradictions around women’s status in a rapidly changing society. These authors brilliantly demonstrate how Tanaka overcame multiple challenges to direct her own powerful films about men and women in the unfixed landscape of postwar Japan.

- Professor Catherine Russell, Concordia University, Montreal

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