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Mar 28: Mizoguchi and Censorship: Negotiating Archives, Institutions, and Authorship

Date: March 28, 2024 (Thursday)

Time: 5:00PM

Venue: Room 4.36, 4/F, Run Run Shaw Tower, Centennial Campus, HKU

Details and registration: All are welcome. No registration required.


Chika Kinoshita, Professor of Film Studies, Graduate School of Human and Environmental Studies, Kyoto University

Mizoguchi Kenji (1898-1956) always had problems with censors. Tokai kōkyōgaku (Metropolitan Symphony, 1929), a lost Leftist “keikō (tendency)” film, got almost rejected by Naimushō (The Ministry of Internal Affairs)’s censor, was resubmitted with the required cuts made by the filmmaker, and eventually approved, while the press preview of the uncensored version had already solidified its critical consensus as a legend. A 1949 script of what would later become Saikaku ichidai onna (The Life of Oharu, 1952), kept in the GHQ/SCAP documents collection at the National Diet Library, carries the American censor’s disapproving scribble “Story of a prostitute” on its cover, suggesting the project’s destiny under the Occupation film policy. This presentation offers a highlight of my 2016 Japanese-language book I am currently translating into English by focusing on Naimushō’s censorship of Mizoguchi’s Gion no kyodai (Sisters of the Gion, 1936), one of the most critically acclaimed films of the 1930s Japanese cinema. I recast censorship as a process of criticism, reception, and negotiation as well as authoritarian oppression of freedom of expression.

Chika Kinoshita is a professor of Film Studies at the Graduate School of Human and Environmental Studies at Kyoto University, Japan. Her research interests are in Japanese film history, with a focus on gender and sexuality. She is the author of the award-wining book Mizoguchi Kenji: Aesthetics and Politics of the Film Medium (Hosei University Press, 2016). Her essays have appeared in numerous journals and collections in both English and Japanese.


Society of Fellows in the Humanities


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