Date of Final Oral Examination (Defense)

5-2009

Type of Culminating Activity

Thesis

Degree Title

Master of Arts in History

Department

History

Major Advisor

Dr. Shelton Woods

Abstract

This thesis explores to what degree Japanese film accurately reflects the scholarly accounts of Japanese culture and history. It analyzes how four elements of Japanese culture, loyalty, gender roles, foreigners, and the environment, are depicted on screen in films from the 1930s to the 1950s. While there are overt examples and messages regarding loyalty and gender in film, instances of foreigners and the environment are less evident, and in some cases even absent. However, just as much information can be gleaned from their absence. By measuring the scholarly accounts against the films, a conclusion can be drawn regarding the accuracy of historical accounts. This thesis argues that facts historians and other scholars present are consistent with the images on screen. It also makes the case for the increased use of film as a historical document, demonstrating that films are rich resources for analyzing societies and cultures.

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