Mikio Naruse

b. August 20, 1905, Tokyo, Japan
d. July 2, 1969, Tokyo, Japan

filmography
bibliography
articles in Senses
web resources

The films of Mikio Naruse have never been entirely unknown in the West. Predating the wider discovery of Japanese cinema in America and Europe by some fifteen years, his prizewinning Wife, Be Like a Rose (1935) was given a commercial release in New York, albeit to lukewarm reviews. (1) His Mother (1952) was distributed in France in the 1950s; a substantial retrospective toured Western cinémathèques in the 1980s; and a handful of his films are in distribution, and available on video, in France and the US. Yet despite this, and the fact that Naruse is not infrequently cited as the third great master of the classical Japanese cinema, his work remains far less familiar in the West than that of the canonical greats, Ozu and Mizoguchi, or of the more popular if less distinguished Kurosawa. As with Ozu and Mizoguchi, differences exist as to the value of Naruse’s work from different periods: the traditional, liberal humanist line, as exemplified by the criticism of Donald Richie, tends to exalt the postwar work, while the formalist perspective of Noel Burch finds the director’s most original and subversive achievement in the prewar period (or, more precisely, in one film of that period, Wife, Be Like a Rose). Both approaches have been vitiated by the vagaries of film preservation and availability; at the time that Richie’s early books on the Japanese cinema were written, Naruse’s prewar work was almost wholly inaccessible, while even Burch, in the 1970s, was forced to rely on a much narrower sample of the prewar films than are now available. The period divisions have some justice as regards Naruse’s style, which gravitates from the lively, if sometimes affected, experimentation and flamboyance of the 1930s films to the more subdued and disciplined, if less inventive, methods of his postwar work. His themes, however, remain consistent throughout his career, and this essay seeks to discuss the oeuvre and its concerns as a whole, while acknowledging its development over time.

Neither in his early experimental period nor in the mature postwar films did Naruse achieve a mastery of a specific visual style to merit comparison with the work of Mizoguchi or Ozu. Nevertheless, he commands respect as the architect of subtle and profound realist dramas, distinguished by careful observation and superb acting. His genre is the shomin-geki—the film about the lower middle classes—within which his specialities are the precise delineation of social milieux, of material hardship and practical responsibilities, and “the compassionate portrayal of courageous women faced with great adversity.” (2) While nothing in Naruse’s oeuvre matches the radical feminism of My Love Has Been Burning (1949), his heroines are generally more independent and practical, less prone to romantic self-oppression, than Mizoguchi’s suffering women. Yet independence and practicality are virtues of limited significance in Naruse’s treacherous and unhappy world, which tends to crush its inhabitants regardless. His characters lack the hope and good humour of Ozu’s in the face of disappointment, and, unlike Mizoguchi’s protagonists, they are usually denied the luxury of death. The title of one early film, Street Without End (1934), is paradigmatic, and the tragic catharsis of Floating Clouds (1955) or Yearning (1964) is exceptional. More often, Naruse’s endings affirm the impossibility of escape: the discontented wife returning to an unhappy marriage in Repast (1951); the ageing bar hostess climbing to work once more in When a Woman Ascends the Stairs (1960); the young geisha at her sewing machine in Flowing (1956). “If they move even a little,” Naruse famously remarked of his characters, “they quickly hit the wall. From the youngest age, I have thought that the world we live in betrays us; this thought still remains with me.” (3) It’s impossible not to see such pessimism as founded in the sadness of Naruse’s own life: the early deaths of his parents, his poverty and loneliness, and the ten years he laboured as prop man and assistant while denied promotion by Shochiku’s formidable head of production, Shiro Kido.

Flowing

Certainly Naruse found the Japanese studio system less hospitable to his ambitions than most of his contemporaries. Finally permitted to direct on the recommendation of his friend and mentor, Heinosuke Gosho, he was assigned to slapstick comedies, on which his efforts to impose a more sombre edge were unwelcome. Even his growing critical and commercial success after 1933, when his silent melodramas, Apart From You and Nightly Dreams took third and fourth place respectively in the Kinema Junpo annual Top Ten, failed to stem Kido’s animus against him. Denied a decent wage and refused the opportunity to work with sound, he quit Shochiku and migrated to the fledgling PCL, a progressive company which initially encouraged his experimental ambitions. But he was to move again, working after the war not only for PCL’s successor Toho, but also for Shintoho and Daiei, and often, even in his artistic maturity, felt himself to be at the mercy of producers’ whims. The study of precarious existence and of life with no visible means of support, the fear of poverty and the struggle to make ends meet, is surely rooted in the director’s own professional insecurity.

On the other hand, the biographical interpretation of Naruse’s art has its mythic elements, myths perpetuated by the limited distribution of the films outside Japan and a consequent reliance on second-hand accounts. It is still confidently asserted, mainly because Naruse himself said so, that his career between 1935 and 1951 entered a prolonged slump during which “he was simply incapable of turning out a really good film.” (4) The blame is usually ascribed to the slow breakup of his marriage to Sachiko Chiba, the actress who had starred in Wife, Be Like a Rose. The chronological realities—that the marriage did not even take place until 1937—are brushed aside, just as are the aesthetic ones—that, at least during the late 1930s, Naruse produced a number of distinguished and fascinating films whose perennial inaccessibility until recently prevented anyone from challenging their critical underestimation. Recent screenings in Japan and Europe of such hitherto unknown films as Avalanche (1937) and A Woman’s Sorrows (1937), coupled with revivals of Wife, Be Like a Rose and The Whole Family Works (1939), have revealed the consistent quality and complexity of Naruse’s work in this period: an intriguing blend of melodrama with realism; a novelistic ability to balance and develop a set of distinct but overlapping narratives, and to create large numbers of plausible, three-dimensional characters; an imaginative willingness to experiment with diverse cinematic styles and their expressive potential. (5) The complicated flashback structure of Avalanche rejects a chronological organisation to contrast more directly the birth and disintegration of a marriage. Wife, Be Like a Rose is a bittersweet comedy, unique in Naruse’s output for its delicate affections and tentative optimism, whose lively formal invention is, contrary to Noel Burch’s arguments, always at the service of the relationships between characters and their emotions. (6) Much like Renoir’s films from the same period, it reveals an intriguing openness to unorthodox models of social relationships—the heroine, leaving home to track down her errant father and restore him to her disconsolate mother, discovers that he has found a happier relationship with another woman, and finally comes to accept that situation. This sceptical attitude to the conventional nuclear family was extended into open hostility in A Woman’s Sorrows and The Whole Family Works, where the repressive nature of traditional family structures is laid bare. In the latter film, most daringly, the repression operating within the family is associated with the militaristic ideals dominant in Japan at that time; the attack on such sacred cows as filial duty and loyalty to the group is doubly remarkable given its historical context.

At the same time, Naruse, like Mizoguchi, made several intriguing films in a genre to which his contribution has hitherto been overlooked: the backstage melodrama. As Japan’s military government tightened its grip, the genre became an oasis for left-leaning directors seeking to escape from the requirements of national policy. The theatrical milieu and (more often than not) a Meiji-period setting allowed progressive concerns to be advanced under the cover of generic traditions and historical distance; thus, the overt feminism of Mizoguchi’s masterpieces, Story of the Late Chrysanthemums (1939) and The Straits of Love and Hate (1937), went unchallenged, because unnoticed, by the authorities of the time. Naruse’s work in the genre, while admittedly not comparable for its quality with Mizoguchi’s, is at its best similarly subversive, and indeed less ambiguous in its politics. While Story of the Late Chrysanthemums does make available a conservative reading—that the heroine’s sacrifice is justified by her lover’s aesthetic triumph—Travelling Actors (1940) makes clear its scepticism as regards the militaristic ideology. The context is a once-in-a-lifetime performance in a rural backwater by the distinguished kabuki troupe of Kikugoro VI, but the film’s heroes are a pair of Shakespearean clowns who form the pantomime horse in a less exalted local company of players. The gentle comedy is undercut by at least one openly subversive moment as the heroes watch two conscripts going off to war and wonder apprehensively if they’ll be next. As late as 1944, the theatrical company in The Way of Drama resist demands from the authorities to stage patriotic dramas, and secure success by continuing to act traditional plays. Nor are these films conventional in style; Travelling Actors displays a lively interest in the creative potential of montage, which is indeed still detectable towards the end of the war in the admittedly mediocre fantasy, This Happy Life (1944).

Nightly Dreams

The prevailing conception of Naruse as an artist of “severe and demanding realism” (7) is, then, at best a partial response to his oeuvre. The recurrent interest in theatre and music, the resort to melodrama, and the avant-garde formal qualities that distinguish his prewar output have still to receive adequate critical recognition. Certainly these features are less evident in the famous postwar films, but even then, the meticulous detail of setting and characterisation, the concern with material and financial practicalities, are balanced by a structural artifice whose closest literary parallel may be the work of Henry James. Donald Richie has spoken of “the canon-like structure” of a Naruse film, “all themes being segments of the same theme” (8); it is this structural ingenuity which ultimately distinguishes Naruse’s art. A brief, seemingly extraneous scene, or an incidental detail, is imbued with potency through its links to other details in other scenes—thus, the exquisitely constructed narrative of Summer Clouds (1958), where the director juggles half a dozen separate stories as he recounts the history of a farming family, or the reiterative story of When a Woman Ascends the Stairs, where the chronicle of an ageing bar hostess’ struggle to find happiness is repeatedly punctuated by the sad, resigned climb to the bar where she must suffer the attentions of another set of selfish and exploitative men.

It is, of course, debateable to what extent these features are attributable to Naruse’s own authorial intervention, rather than being inherent in the scripts he worked from and the source material he adapted. The Naruse of the postwar era is by no means a negligible visual artist, and Akira Kurosawa, who had assisted him before the war on Avalanche, rightly admired his skill in editing together a sequence of brief, ostensibly unremarkable shots to create the effect of “the flow of a deep river, with a calm surface hiding a rushing, turbulent current below.” (9) Yet the measured rhythms of his editing, and the expressive use of interior space, tend simply to illustrate the content of the script, rather than creating meaning in the manner of Mizoguchi’s stylistics. While one would therefore tend to ascribe a greater degree of the creative input to the screenwriter rather than the director, the paradox is that a specifically Narusean worldview is more consistently visible in the later works, scripted by a variety of screenwriters, than in his prewar films, scripted largely by himself. Still, while the precise extent and form of Naruse’s intervention in his material remains unclear, it is necessary to acknowledge the importance of his collaborators—perhaps the most important of whom was already dead. The unyielding concentration on the petty frustrations of life which typifies his later films derived in part from the books of the late Fumiko Hayashi, a novelist whose despairing outlook matched his own. After Repast—an adaptation of her last, unfinished novel, made in the year of her death—he would adapt all her novels for the screen, and chronicle her sad life story in Her Lonely Lane (1962). The first of his Hayashi adaptations coincided with Naruse’s return to critical favour in Japan, and his versions of her work exemplify the three main strands of inspiration in his later years: the film about unrequited passion (Floating Clouds), the film about unhappy families and marriages that have gone stale (Repast, Wife [1953], Lightning [1952]), and the film about the struggle against material poverty and social oppression (Late Chrysanthemums [1954]).

The unifying features of Naruse’s late films are, then, thematic rather than stylistic, and it follows that he perceived the cinema as a dramatic rather than a pictorial art form. Shortly before his death, he planned “a film to be shot with only white curtain backdrops, no real sets, no exteriors, all concentration on the nuances of human movement expressing feeling carved down to the quick.” (10) Naruse’s other crucial collaborators were the great actresses who conveyed those nuances of movement and feeling—above all Hideko Takamine, who, from 1941′s Hideko the Bus Conductress, was to work with him in twenty-odd films. Though Naruse worked with virtually all of Japan’s leading actresses, including Kinuyo Tanaka, Setsuko Hara, Kyoko Kagawa and Chikage Awashima, it was Takamine whose star persona—as “the Japanese woman who is not necessarily beautiful in her suffering, but persevering, dedicated and intelligent” (11)—proved ideal to incarnate his unhappy yet resourceful heroines. Or rather, had the potential to do so, for a comparison of Takamine’s output before and during the main period of her collaborations with Naruse indicates that her persona developed considerably under his direction. Her work for Shiro Toyoda in Wild Geese (1953) or Keisuke Kinoshita in Twenty-Four Eyes (1954), though magnificent, was in a vein of more conventionally passive, suffering femininity; while otherwise she essayed a rather zany humour in films such as Carmen Comes Home (Kinoshita, 1951). In a sense, Naruse combined the two models, crafting a multi-layered persona which concealed sensitivity behind a brash exterior—the blend of toughness and vulnerability was instrumental in making many of his rather coldly observed films humanely moving.

Floating Clouds

The subtle craftsmanship of detailed scripts and realistic acting are the features most often emphasised in accounts of Naruse’s work. Yet his art is also one of symbolism: particularly, the symbolic contrast between places. In this, his naturalistic pessimism is curiously akin to the romantic pessimism of F.W. Murnau—a comparison which again exposes the inadequacy of “naturalism” as a label for Naruse’s art. As with Murnau, the key contrast is usually between town and country, or sometimes between two cities or two countries: for example, in Repast, where the heroine’s choice between conformity and protest in a loveless marriage is reflected by her journeys between conservative Osaka and modern Tokyo. The most resonant pattern, though, seen in embryo as early as Apart From You, is fully established in Wife, Be Like a Rose, and recurs in (amongst others) Avalanche, Floating Clouds and Yearning—the journey from a city to a remote rural location, whereby the hero or heroine gains a deeper insight into his or her own emotions, relationships and position in society. The different inflections of the motif in prewar and postwar films testify to the growing pessimism of Naruse’s outlook. In both cases the physical journey is also an emotional journey, but in the earlier works, the consequence is the opening up of new possibilities: thus, in Wife, Be Like a Rose, the daughter is forced to revise her conservative faith in the conventional nuclear family, and returns reinvigorated. In the later films, by contrast, the journey’s consequences are destructive. Floating Clouds and Yearning are both films about love that is not quite unrequited: the former about a woman who devotes herself completely to a selfish and vacillating man; the latter about a woman who for social and cultural reasons is unable to accept the love of her widowed brother-in-law. The tone of the two films is radically different—the one, intense and passionate, the other, calm and observant—but the climactic sequences of each are virtually identical in structure. In Floating Clouds, the selfish anti-hero (Masayuki Mori) seeks a transfer to a distant part of Japan, and is followed there by the woman, played as so often by Hideko Takamine, whose attentions he seeks to avoid. In Yearning, Takamine plays the Mori role (albeit far more sympathetic), pursued by her brother-in-law as she escapes to a spa town in Northern Japan after his confession of love. In Floating Clouds their destination is reached by boat, in Yearning by train, and though in both case the means of transport is crowded with people, Naruse focuses with such intensity on the travelling couple that the journey seems to mark a transition into a private world where their emotional conflicts will finally be resolved. Yet at journey’s end, love is rejected—passively in Floating Clouds, where the male protagonist leaves his ailing lover to work in the jungle; actively in Yearning, where Takamine recoils from her brother-in-law’s attentions. And in both films, the spurned lover dies, leaving the survivor to regret the inadequacy of his or her response to feelings whose strength was neither understood nor shared.

For the postwar Naruse, then, the release of emotion has tragic consequences; it’s as if the trials his heroines face can be endured only through the refusal to feel. Hence the scarcity of true tragic endings in his art—more often, his characters find no solution but to go on living, though without hope. The fruitless expenditure of energy which concludes several of Naruse’s 1950s films seems a substitute for emotional catharsis: thus, the nearly estranged couple throwing a balloon back and forth at the end of Sudden Rain (1956); the ageing geishas in Late Chrysanthemums dancing a comic number patterned on Marilyn Monroe; and, in Summer Clouds, Chikage Awashima’s trapped heroine laboriously ploughing the fields. This forlorn, purposeless physical activity provides an outlet for the frustrations of Naruse’s characters, but constitutes an artificial conclusion, expressing their problems without resolving them: the despair is bleaker because it has no melodramatic finality.

The desolation that marks Naruse’s later work is, in the final analysis, limiting; in Donald Richie’s words, “He lacks that hope which is the highest wisdom.” (12) Nor, it must be added, does he possess that mastery of cinematic style for which Ozu and Mizoguchi rank among the great artists of their chosen medium. Yet there is a style which consists in detail of characterisation and elegance of structure, just as there is a wisdom which consists in the strength of purpose and clarity of vision required to portray the sorrows and disappointments of life without sentimentality, complacency or compensation –to portray, in Audie Bock’s words, the “wound called life for which there is no salve.” (13) I have tried to show that this is not the whole of Naruse’s art, but it is, perhaps, at the heart of his most mature and perfect films. Richie, and his colleague Joseph Anderson, had the first word, and, since their summation could not easily be bettered, it is appropriate for them to have the last: “It is the honesty with which Naruse treats his theme that commands our respect; it is his faithfulness to this theme which creates his style; and it is our suspicion that, painful though it be, he is telling the truth, that creates his greatness.” (14)

Mother

Filmography

Mr and Mrs Swordplay (Chambera Fufu) (1930)

Pure Love (Junjo) (1930)

Hard Times (Fukeiki Jidai) (1930)

Love is Strength (Ai wa Chikara Da) (1930)

A Record of Shameless Newlyweds (Oshikiri Shinkonki) (1930)

Now Don’t Get Excited (Ne Kofun Shicha Iya Yo) (1931)

Dreams From the Second Floor (Nikai no Yumei) (1931)

Flunky, Work Hard (Koshiben Gambare) (1931)

Fickleness Gets on the Train (Uwaki wa Kisha ni Notte) (1931)

The Strength of a Moustache (Hige no Chikara) (1931)

Under the Neighbours’ Roof (Tonari no Yane no Shita) (1931)

Ladies, Be Careful of Your Sleeves (Onna wa Tamoto o Goyojin) (1932)

Crying to the Blue Sky (Aozora ni Naku) (1932)

Be Great! (Eraku Nare) (1932)

Motheaten Spring (Mushibameru Haru) (1932)

Chocolate Girl (Chokoreite Garu) (1932)

Not Blood Relations (Nasanu Naka) (1932)

Apart From You (Kimi to Wakarete) (1933)

Nightly Dreams (Yogoto no Yume) (1933)

A Man With a Married Woman’s Hairdo (Boku no Marumage) (1933)

Two Eyes (Sobo) (1933)

Street Without End (Kagirinaki Hodo) (1934)

Three Sisters With Maiden Hearts (Otome-gokoro Sannin Shimai) (1935) first sound film

The Actress and the Poet (Joyu to Shijin) (1935)

Wife, Be Like a Rose (Tsuma yo Bara no Yo ni) (1935)

Five Men in the Circus (Sakasu Gonin-gumi) (1935)

The Girl in the Rumour (Uwasa no Musume) (1935)

Kumoemon Tochuken (1936)

The Road I Travel With You (Kimi to Iku Michi) (1936)

Morning’s Tree-Lined Street (Asa no Namikimichi) (1936)

A Woman’s Sorrows (Nyonin Aishu) (1937)

Avalanche (Nadare) (1937)

Learn From Experience (Kafuku) (1937) two-part film

Tsuruhachi and Tsurujiro (Tsuruhachi Tsurujiro) (1938)

The Whole Family Works (Hataraku Ikka) (1939)

Sincerity (Magokoro) (1939)

Travelling Actors (Tabi Yakusha) (1940)

A Face From the Past (Natsukashi no Kao) (1941)

Shanghai Moon (Shanhai no Tsuki) (1941)

Miss Hideko the Bus Conductress (Hideko no Shasho-san) (1941)

Mother Never Dies (Haha wa Shinazu) (1942)

The Song Lantern (Uta Andon) (1943)

This Happy Life (Tanoshiki Kana Jinsei) (1944)

The Way of Drama (Shibaido) (1944)

Until Victory Day (Shori no Hi Made) (1945)

A Tale of Archery at the Sanjusangendo (Sanjusangendo Toshiya Monogatari) (1945)

The Descendants of Taro Urashima (Urashima Taro no Koei) (1946)

Both You and I (Ore mo Omae mo) (1946)

Four Love Stories (Yottsu no Koi no Monogatari) (1947) omnibus film, other sequences by Shiro Toyoda, Teinosuke Kinugasa and Kajiro Yamamoto.

Spring Awakens (Haru no Mezam) (1947)

Delinquent Girl (Furyo Shojo) (1949)

Conduct Report on Professor Ishinaka (Ishinaka Sensei Gyojoki) (1950)

The Angry Street (Ikari no Machis) (1950)

White Beast (Shiroi Yaju) (1950)

The Battle of Roses (Bara Gassen) (1950)

Ginza Cosmetics (Ginza Gesho) (1950)

Dancing Girl (Maihime) (1950)

Repast (Meshi) (1951)

Okuni and Gohei (Okuni to Gohei) (1952)

Mother (Okasan) (1952)

Lightning (Inazuma) (1952)

Husband and Wife (Fufu) (1953)

Wife (Tsuma) (1953)

Older Brother, Younger Sister (Ani Imoto) (1953)

Sound of the Mountain (Yama no Oto) (1954)

Late Chrysanthemums (Bangiku) (1954)

Floating Clouds (Ukigumo) (1955)

The Kiss (Kuchizuke) (1955) omnibus film, other sequences by Hideo Suzuki and Masanori Kakei

Sudden Rain (Shu-u) (1956)

A Wife’s Heart (Tsuma no Kokoro) (1956)

Flowing (Nagareru) (1956)

Untamed (Arakure) (1957)

Anzukko (1958)

Summer Clouds (Iwashigumo) (1958)

Whistling in Kotan (Kotan no Kuchibue) (1959)

When a Woman Ascends the Stairs (Onna ga Kaidan o Agaru Toki) (1960)

Daughters, Wives and a Mother (Musume Tsuma Haha) (1960)

Evening Stream (Yoru no Nagare) (1960)

The Approach of Autumn (Aki Tachinu) (1960)

The Other Woman (Tsuma toshite Onna toshite) (1961)

Woman’s Status (Onna no Za) (1962)

Her Lonely Lane (Horoki) (1962)

A Woman’s Story (Onna no Rekishi) (1963)

Yearning (Midareru) (1964)

Stranger Within a Woman (Onna no Naka ni Iru Tanin) (1966)

Hit and Run (Hikinige) (1966)

Scattered Clouds (Midaregumo) (1967)

Bibliography

Surprisingly little has been written on Naruse in English, and no book solely devoted to the director exists. The following sources contain a substantial amount of useful information:

Joseph Anderson & Donald Richie, The Japanese Film: Art and Industry, Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey, 1982 (originally published 1959)

Audie Bock, Japanese Film Directors, Kodansha International, Tokyo, San Francisco & New York, 1978

Audie Bock, Mikio Naruse: Un maitre du cinema japonais, Locarno, Edition du Festival international du film de Locarno, 1983

Noel Burch, To the Distant Observer, Scolar Press, London, 1979

Shigehiko Hasumi & Sadao Yamane (eds), Mikio Naruse, Festival Internacional de Cine de San Sebastian/Filmoteca Espanola, San Sebastian-Madrid, 1998

Donald Richie, Japanese Movies, Japanese Travel Bureau, Tokyo, 1961

Articles in Senses of Cinema

Unsentimental Journey: A Glimpse into the Cinema of Mikio Naruse by Acquarello

The Materialist Ethic of Mikio Naruse by Freda Freiberg

Sound of the Mountain: The Beauty of Pessimism by Dag Sødtholt

Web Resources

Mikio Naruse
Short pieces on Mother, Late Chrysanthemums and When a Woman Ascends the Stairs.

Mikio Naruse and the Japanese Women’s Film
Here you will find a list of resources on Naruse and women in Japanese cinema.

Nightly Dreams
A piece on this silent film.

Click here to search for Mikio Naruse DVDs, videos and books at

Endnotes

  1. The New York Times (April 13, 1937) found it “lethargic of pace, repetitive and awkwardly contrived”, yet admired the performances and the picture’s “sturdy honesty”. Variety (April 14, 1937) criticised a “lack of pace” and “agonisingly underplayed” performances, but praised the film’s “quiet drollery” and “honest human values”, while observing that “Jap femmes are okay for looks”!
  2. Acquarello “Unsentimental Journey: a Glimpse into the Cinema of Mikio Naruse”, Senses of Cinema, Issue 10, March 2001, http://www.sensesofcinema.com/contents/01/12/naruse.html
  3. Quoted in Richie and Anderson: The Japanese Film, first published 1959, revised edition, Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ, 1981, p. 364
  4. Richie and Anderson, pp. 365–6
  5. For a rare favourable evaluation of Naruse’s work during this period, see Sadao Yamane, “Rhythm of Emotions: Mikio Naruse during the prewar to war years” in Yamane and Shigehiko Hasumi (eds), Mikio Naruse, Festival Internacional de Cine de San Sebastian/Filmoteca Espanola, San Sebastian-Madrid, 1998, pp. 37-59
  6. See Burch: To the Distant Observer, Scolar Press, London, 1979, pp. 186–92. His account of the creative formalism of early Naruse focuses largely on Wife, Be Like a Rose and is an important, if tendentious, reading of the film.
  7. Audie Bock, “Naruse Mikio”, in FC (Journal of National Museum of Modern Art Film Center, Tokyo), no. 55, 1979, p. 23
  8. Richie, in Richard Roud (ed.), Cinema: a Critical Dictionary, Secker and Warburg, London, 1980, p. 721
  9. Kurosawa, quoted in Bock, 1979, p. 1
  10. Takamine, My Professional Diary, quoted in Bock, Japanese Film Directors, Kodansha, New York, 1978, p. 64
  11. Catherine Russell, ‘Three Japanese Actresses of the 1950s’, Cine Action, 60, February 2003, pp. 34–44, (p. 39)
  12. Richie, in Roud (ed.), p. 721
  13. Bock (1979), p. 23
  14. Richie and Anderson, p. 367

About The Author

Alexander Jacoby, born in 1978, is a British film critic whose particular interests include Japanese cinema and silent film. His writing has appeared in various publications, both on and offline.