A leading figure in world cinema, director Kore-eda Hirokazu (b. 1962) is particularly well known for his fine-grained portrayals of families. Actress Kiki Kirin (1943-2018) played significant roles in six of his family-focused films—beginning with Still Walking (Aruite mo aruite mo, 2008) and ending ten years later with Shoplifters (Manbiki kazoku, 2018). Tapping into widespread anxieties in Japan that stem from the declining birthrate and the rapidly aging population, Kore-eda’s Kiki Kirin films powerfully question the continued viability of the family unit and, by extension, the ongoing strength and stability of society overall. On the surface, the women and men of Kiki’s generation looked strong: generally speaking, they married and stayed married, raised well-educated children, and helped build postwar Japan into the second largest (now, third largest) economy in the world. In Kore-eda’s depictions, however, the ideologically sanctioned, 20th-century nuclear family was deeply flawed and unsustainable. The focus of this talk is on how those flaws and that unsustainability are expressed in Kore-eda’s Kiki Kirin films.
Barbara E. Thornbury is Professor of Japanese in the Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Languages and Studies at Temple University (Philadelphia, USA). She is also director of Temple’s interdisciplinary Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies Program. Her recent publications include Mapping Tokyo in Fiction and Film (Palgrave Macmillan, 2020) and “The Thirty-Something ‘Tokyo Daughters’ of Kawakami Hiromi’s Strange Weather in Tokyo, Shibasaki Tomoka’s Spring Garden, and Murata Sayaka’s Convenience Store Woman” (U.S.-Japan Women’s Journal, 2020).
Meeting-ID: 935 0101 9638