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Finding Reality in Fiction: The Authenticity of Yakuza-Eiga

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dc.contributor.advisor Jiang, Yonglin
dc.contributor.author Yambrach, Betrice
dc.date.accessioned 2014-12-01T18:54:24Z
dc.date.available 2014-12-01T18:54:24Z
dc.date.issued 2014
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10066/15084
dc.description.abstract Since its introduction in the 1930s, yakuza-eiga has been a popular genre in Japanese cinema. It has gone through an extensive evolution throughout the years, portraying the yakuza, Japan's largest organized crime syndicate, in various themes and styles. Yakuza-eiga reached the height of its popularity after the Pacific War in the 1950s and 60s, providing Japan with a new, modern national hero. The yakuza portrayed in these films upheld a strict code of honor and was bent on defending humanity. Honor and morality became significant motifs used in yakuza-eiga, but unfortunately they were not very representative of actual yakuza society. These films created an over stylized and romantic view of the yakuza that consequently impacted how the public viewed them in reality. By the 1970s, yakuza-eiga ratings were decreasing drastically. Viewers grew bored of the repeated plots centered on honor and humanity and began to realize for themselves that these films portrayed quite unrealistic representations. As a response, filmmakers began to shape yakuza-eiga to be more representative of actual the yakuza. Yet, even these new films faced harsh criticism regarding authenticity. Instead of romanticizing honor and morality, yakuza-eiga now romanticized violence and crime. Since then, yakuza-eiga has never been considered seriously because of its tendency to stray from reality and over dramatize. In my essay I will counter these accusations and argue that, while romanticized, yakuza-eiga presents themes and situations that parallel true yakuza and their society. I will analyze various scenes throughout Kitano Takeshi's film Outrage (2010) and Fukasaku Kinji's five part film series, Battles Without Honor and Humanity (1973-1974). I will then compare these scenes to factual events and occurrences in yakuza society and prove yakuza-eiga's ability to successfully represent reality. By establishing its authenticity, yakuza-eiga can be used as a method to gaining a basic understanding and appreciation of yakuza life and society.
dc.description.sponsorship Haverford College. Department of East Asian Studies
dc.language.iso eng
dc.rights.uri http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/us/
dc.subject.lcsh Gangster films -- Japan -- History and criticism
dc.title Finding Reality in Fiction: The Authenticity of Yakuza-Eiga
dc.type Thesis
dc.rights.access Bi-College users only


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