The Role Of Women In Departures

1460 Words6 Pages
Japanese film serves as a lens through which one observe Japan’s shifting culture in the era of the post-war period; specifically one can trace the changing social perceptions and obligations of women. Departures is a prime film to examine the role of women within Japanese society due to the variety of women it offers up for analysis within and outside of the film. While Departures has a male director and is not overtly dealing with women, Daigo is consistently guided and influenced by the women in the film, who are featured much more prominently in both major and minor roles. This film speaks to large universal themes and questions such as death and family, however Takita uses specific Japanese customs and filial traditions to frame these…show more content…
Within Departures, the female characters are given power over their situations and are their own key figures in terms of changes. Mika makes the decision to leave Daigo, as does Yuriko with her family. While these decisions are not necessarily celebrated within the film, the difficulty of them is what gives the women agency. I their breaking from societal roles for women, they are declaring their freedom. Characters such as BLANK from Late Spring, however, is an example of a major female character whose entire plot is centered on the idea of her eventual forced conformity to becoming a wife. Similarly, Tomi from Ozu’s Tokyo Story had her narrative driven by her role as a mother while Noriko’s contribution to the film was to solely act as her loyal…show more content…
While still acting within a male paradigm, given the film’s director is a man, Departures still manages to give its female characters the space and time necessary to create depth and a strong, essential narrative. While the film does the work of deconstructing the bias against women in film, the view is left to absorb these characters and appreciate them as the strong figures they are without reducing them to or denying them of their womanhood. This turn towards modern feminism represents a trend of post-war Japanese film towards globalization and anticipating the role of international film festivals in the films demographic. While Takita sets up the film against the universally accessible themes of death, honor and questions of womanhood, he also teases the specifics out with predominantly Japanese cultural references. The end product is a film that resonates with everyone, but rings particularly true to Japanese culture, while nodding its head to the changing nature of Japanese womanhood and all that
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