Jidaigeki: Period Dramas in Japan
Choose ONE of the following questions, develop a well-defined and original thesis, and discuss it in detail in
an essay of 5-8 pages, typed and double-spaced. There are two basic requirements that your paper must
follow. 1) You must include a close and careful film analysis of a segment or segments, and 2) you must use
this analysis to advance your argument.
1. Compare and contrast Sadao Yamanaka’s use of jidaigeki in Humanity and Paper Balloons with
Toshio Matsumoto’s take on jidaigeki in Pandemonium. How do they address the political and social
realities of 1930s and early 1970s Japan respectively? You may focus on a few recurring themes (e.g.
money, class, code of honor).
2. Discuss “Americanism” in Hibari’s Ishimatsu and reflect on the film’s social and cultural meanings
by drawing on at least two course readings. Be as specific as possible with your examples.
3. Discuss cinematic constructions of masculinity in two films of your own choosing. You may focus
on how the films portray the main male character(s)’s bodies and actions and consider how the films’
formal and stylistic features contribute to your perception of their masculinity.
4. Discuss the use and abuse of history in at least two jidaigeki films shown in class, and consider their
political and ethical implications. What kind of strategies do they use to produce a sense of “pastness”?
Be sure to draw on course readings, and make sure to support your argument with cinematic
1. Please prepare your paper in doc./docx., pdf, or rtf format.
2. If you would like to receive comments on your final paper, please indicate so.
3. Please do not include any identifying information in the document you upload via Turnitin.
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