Article Title

The Violent Lights of Capitalism: The Artificiality of Japan in Giants and Toys


Japanese New Wave, similar to new wave movements that appeared after the second world war, was a collision of both a cultural and artistic movement. Japan’s new wave movement represented a new youth that rejected old traditions and struggled with state power. Among the hundreds of films identified as part of this filmic era, Giants and Toys was, and still remains to be, one of the flag bearers for Japanese New Wave. This paper provides a close analysis of the showdown scene between the two main characters Goda and Nishi and engages in discussion about how this relates to the film and Japan as a whole. A stark look at the rapidly growing centrality of capitalism in postwar Japan, this particular scene in Giants and Toys confronts viewers’ with several notes in its mise-en-scéne, cinematography, choreography, and dialogue that explicitly illustrate director Yasuzo Masumuro’s own belief about the state of Japan. This paper reveals through this analysis that it is Masumuro’s belief that it is impossible for Japan to possess autonomous subjectivity, doomed by its act of masking its traditions with Western, and specifically American, ways.

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