National Identity and Nationalism in Japanese Cinema
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Japanese cinema from its very beginning was involved with the nationalist discourse. Film was used by the Japanese government to present and upkeep traditional values, that were to limit foreign influences from spreading immorality and vice. These tendencies grew in the interwar period characterized by expansionist politics, growing nationalism and militarism. A new type of national cinema (kokumin eiga), was needed. Its purpose was to show the Japanese spirit, uncontaminated by western influences, not only at the level of contents and style, but also in the production methods. This type of cinema was to be represented by historical films (jidai-geki), celebrating the glorious past, and praising patriarchal social structure and feudalism, as well as representing the aesthetic ideal. Also war films and documentaries were to conform to the ideological guidelines dictated by those in power. The author lists various examples of Japanese films representing nationalist tendencies, and places them both within historical and theoretical setting..
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