Friday, February 26th, 2016
– Lofgren, Erik R. “The Interstitial Feminine and Male Dominance in Rashōmon.” Journal of Japanese and Korean Cinema 7, no. 2 (2015) : 113-132.
, Associate Professor of East Asian Studies
Kurosawa Akira’s 1950 film Rashōmon is frequently understood as an
exploration of truth in the face of four irreconcilably conflicting
testimonies. Frequently missing from the critical conversation is
the originary crime of rape committed against the wife which is
an absent presence in the film: despite its suppression, we are
keenly aware of its essential role in driving the narrative and its
simultaneous effacement from what we see on the screen. The
trace it leaves exists in, and because of, the historical context of
Article 14 in the Japanese constitution, yet this promise of gender
equity in Japan was not achieved in Rashōmon. This unrealized
promise provides one avenue for apprehending the rape’s
implications. Linguistic intimations and visual hints, subtle yet
omnipresent in the male narratives that seek to occlude the wife’s
tale of rape, ask the audience to consider the role of the wife and
the crime against her in the face of a stifling phallocractic order
that seeks not liberation but the status quo in which the male
narratives are dominant. In this way, the visual and linguistic
confront the sexual power dynamics at play in Rashōmon and
offer both a record of the difficult struggle gender equality will
face, and an intimation that the struggle might succeed.
Lofgren, Erik R. “The Interstitial Feminine and Male Dominance in Rashōmon.” Journal of Japanese and Korean Cinema 7, no. 2 (2015) : 113-132.