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Anthropology 150 - Japanese Society, Period Films Guide

A list of resources for. Dr. Hamada's ANTH 150 - Japanese Society

Meiji Restoration:

Story of the Last Chrysanthemums (1939, dir. Kenji Mizoguchi, mus. Shiro Fukai, Senji Ito)
Swem Call Number: PN1995.9 F67 S858 2012 DVD
Description: This film is considered an early classic of Mizoguchi’s prior to his most well-known works from the post-war era. It is about a male Kabuki actor who specializes in female roles and the family drama that comes between the actor and his family’s profession. The music is almost entirely based on the music of Kubuki theatre.

Unknown or Unclear Period:

Dreams (1990, dir. Akira Kurosawa, mus. Shin’ichiro Ikebe)
Swem Call Number: PN1995.9 F67 D733 2003 DVD
Description: This film takes the form of multiple vignettes set in different historical eras. The first two of the film feature great examples of traditional music, along with a gagaku performance, the traditional court music of Japan. Kurosawa stated that this film was based on actual dreams he had.

Kwaidan (1965, dir. Masaki Kobayashi, mus. Toru Takemitsu)
Swem Call Number: PN1995.9 H6 K353 2000 DVD
Description: This film is a set of four ghost stories, one of which is about a biwa player, a Japanese lute used to accompany stories such as the Tale of the Heike.

The Tale of the Princess Kaguya (2013, dir. Isao Takahata, mus. Joe Hisaishi)
Swem Call Number: PN1997.5 T354 2015 DVD
Description: This film is based on a famous fairy tale and is possible set in the Nara or Heian period. The music is fairly typical of a Joe Hisaishi score, but does make good use of traditional Japanese instruments, styles, along with some koto performances.