The emergence of the Japanese film industry could be dated back to the year 1898 through the emergence of the silent films whereas the Korean film’s that the Koreans produced started since the year 1919 (Paquet, 2007)… This essay would then focus on Korean directors’ usage of women to elicit political and social implications. Firstly, these depictions could intensify the changing roles of the women in Korean society and secondly, it could elicit reactions from both the female and male audience. In the hopes of further deepening these implications, a view on Japanese women would also be used as a comparison.
Korean view on women in society and the Director’s perspective on leading ladies
From the Confucian ideal of a woman is depicted through the main role of women is to be prepared in becoming a wife and a mother (Paik, 1998). Nowadays, Korean women are entering the working sphere of the country whereas before it was limited to the male species. The directors then would like to highlight the women in a movie especially when the societal changes are much concerned with the women of the society. These depictions could bring forth the reactions from both the female and male viewers.
An example on the changing view of women’s role in society is through the film, ‘YMCA Yagudan’ or ‘YMCA Baseball Team’ where the leading lady’s character is depicted to be modernized and she had a major influence on the leading man.
Japanese view on women in society and the implication on societal changes resembling the Koreans’ changes and the director’s depiction for these changes
Like the Korean women, Japanese women are confined to what is known to be the private sphere. The duties then lie on the men’s shoulders to provide for the family. The Japanese view on women then gradually changed by using what is known to be the private sphere or domain where women belongs to a more public domain and become a way to see that the private sphere in the form of the household is matriarchal in nature (Friedman, 1992).
It could be seen in the Japanese film, Hotaro no haka’ or ‘Grave of the Fireflies’ that the male main character had the burden to provide for his sister, the female main character. Nonetheless, the changing role on women in Japan then could be seen through the changes that the two siblings had to undergo in order to survive and breaking free from the usual connotation of the family structure would be a leeway for the changes to be realized (Jubei, 1995). In a way, both the sibling depicts the changes in societal perspectives by escaping the society imposition of what they ought to do. The sister along with the brother’s pride became the motivations in running away.
What could be inferred from all these claims is that the leading lady’s role in a film could be a way to see the social changes and the political stands. In a Korean film, it could elicit reactions from both the women and men. Another reason is that highlighting the women predicament in a film could make the audience see the societal changes in women’s role.
Friedman, S. (1992). Women in Japanese Society: Their changing Roles. Retrieved August 27, 2007, from http://www2.gol.com/users/friedman/writings/p1.html
Jubei, Y. S. (1995). Hotaro no Haka (Grave of the Fireflies). Retrieved August 24, 2007, from http://www2.hawaii.edu/~dfukushi/Hotaru.html
Paik, Y.-J. (1998). Women’s Development and Information on Women in Korea. Retrieved August 24, 2007, from http://www.ifla.org/IV/ifla64/112-122e.htm
Paquet, D. (2007). A Short History of Korean Film. Retrieved August 27, 2007, from http://www.koreanfilm.org/history.html
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