1 Positive depictions of the family in crisis: Analysing the discursive role of ‘quiet activism’ in Koreeda Hirokazu’s family narratives

Breeze, Duncan (2020) 1 Positive depictions of the family in crisis: Analysing the discursive role of ‘quiet activism’ in Koreeda Hirokazu’s family narratives. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

[thumbnail of 2020BreezeDOPhD.pdf]
Download (3MB) | Preview


The Japanese family has undergone significant upheavals since the late 20th century and this has had profound effects on cinematic representations. Contemporary filmmaker Koreeda Hirokazuhas gained worldwide fame as a director of family dramas, many of which depict the family in contemporary social contexts. This thesis focuses on a selection of Koreeda’s films (and aTV series) termed the ‘family narratives’ (2011-2016) to determine how the representations of family and associated gender roles positively address social developments and anxieties. Recognising their broader role within sociological debates in Japan,this project asks, how do Koreeda’s family narrativesfunction as a discourse on contemporary social anxieties related to family and gender?Evading traditional authorship methods, the critical framework relies on a range of approaches examining film as history (Standish 2000; Rosenstone 2012), the family on film (Harwood 1997) and the ‘social problem film’to textually analyse the discursive role of Koreeda’s representations withinsocio-historicalcontexts.Using this framework, I test the extent to which Koreeda acts as a ‘quiet activist’, subtly challenging and reframing dominant socio-political discourses of the family. Analysis across five chapters reveals the narratives to demonstrate fluctuating levels of quiet activism depending upon the demographics they address. This variation is related to a range of potential factors including historical contexts, individual (filmmaker) subjectivities, and generic format. Ultimately, when acting in the interests of quiet activism, Koreeda’s family narratives are determined to possess a unique discursive function within Japanese (and possibly international) cinema by using positive representations of the family to petition for radical socio-political change.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Art, Media and American Studies
Depositing User: Nicola Veasy
Date Deposited: 14 Apr 2021 08:41
Last Modified: 14 Apr 2021 09:28
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/79734

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item