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Late Spring

Uploaded by trigerman on Oct 31, 2011

This essay examines the 1949 Japanese film “Late Spring,” and selects one sequence for further examination.

I Introduction
“Late Spring” is a very subtle film. Director Ozu Yasujiro leaves much of the story unexplained, allowing the audience to decide for themselves what his meaning is. The film can be seen as a powerful statement on the position of women in post-war Japan; it can also be seen as a metaphor for the changes in Japanese society itself. It’s fascinating, heartbreaking and utterly enthralling.
This paper discusses the film in general, chooses one sequence that is particularly striking, then discusses what that sequence tells us about the overall themes of the film.

II Brief Overall Comments
This film was made in 1949, at which time the Civil Censorship Detachment (CCD) of the Civil Information Section of the General Headquarters was heavily censoring all Japanese forms of expression, including newspapers, magazines, radio, theater and film. These were American censors, whose job it was to make sure that anything critical of the U.S. or its allies; anything “nationalistic” or “militaristic”; or any materials that could be construed, however vaguely, as being against American interests, were confiscated. In a burst of stunning hypocrisy, the Americans didn’t even admit that they were censoring the Japanese. (Dower, p. 410). One result of this strict censorship may have been the extremely subtle work displayed in “Late Spring.”
There is a definite American presence in the film, though no Americans appear. However, there is a sign in English saying “Drink Coca-Cola” in the middle of a beautiful beach scene. It’s intrusive and ugly, and can be interpreted as the director’s comment on the American occupation and its effect on Japan.
Americanisms also pop up in a scene between the heroine Noriko and her friend Aya. Aya is urging Noriko to marry, despite the fact that she (Aya) is divorced. Their conversation is routine, until this exchange:
Aya: It’s only one down. Next time a real home-run.
Noriko: You’re still going to bat?
Aya: Why not? I just strucked [sic] out. I’m waiting for a good ball.

This exchange, in which the ladies use American slang correctly, is another indication of the extent to which Japan has assimilated the new culture.
The basic story is of Noriko, a young woman whom everyone—her father, her aunt, her friend, her acquaintances—urges to marry. They...

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Uploaded by:   trigerman

Date:   10/31/2011

Category:   Film

Length:   6 pages (1,323 words)

Views:   2462

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