Fighting Mothers, Suffering Mothers: Wartime Mixed Media and Postwar Female Cinematic Icons

Kyu Hyun Kim, University of California, Davis

Hikari Hori. Promiscuous Media: Film and Visual Culture in Imperial Japan, 1926-1945. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2018. 312 pp. $55 (cloth).

Jennifer Coates. Making Icons: Repetition and the Female Image in Japanese Cinema, 1945-1964. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2017. 244 pages. $65 (cloth).

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Hori’s analyses and interpretations of the key visual/filmic texts are absolutely riveting and powerfully stimulating, compelling us to seek out the media works in question and reevaluate their meanings with our own eyes. Coates’s sweeping readings are also extremely impressive in their propensity to bring together interdisciplinary insights from sometimes surprising sources, raising some difficult questions about how we have hitherto treated with complacency (and substantively ignored) the centrality of women in postwar Japanese cinema. With these new publications, these two scholars have made significant contributions to advancing our understanding of wartime and immediate postwar Japanese culture. Their books should be considered must-reads for any serious student of twentieth-century Japanese cinema and popular culture...