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Deutsches Institut für Japanstudien



Deutsches Institut für Japanstudien
Jochi Kioizaka Bldg. 2F
7-1 Kioicho, Chiyoda-ku
Tokyo 102-0094, Japan
Tel: 03 – 3222 5198, Fax: 03 – 3222 5420


Registration Info

The lecture will be given in English. It will take place on Thursday, June 21st 2007 at 6.30 p.m. at the DIJ.
Admission is free, space is limited, so please register with Ms. Dinkel at the DIJ.

The Agony of Eldercare: Two Japanese Women Directors Study an Age-Old Problem

June 21, 2007 / 6:30 P.M.

Keiko McDonald, Professor, University of Pittsburgh

Alzheimer’s Disease and senile dementia have become household
words East and West in recent years. Cinema’s close ties with
contemporary life should make it the ideal venue for depicting this
social phenomenon. In Japan, two women directors in particular
responded to the problem of an aging population with thought-provoking
studies of the problems of eldercare and dementia, Haneda Sumiko (b.
1929) and Matsui Hisako (b. 1946).

Haneda’s The
World of the Senile
(1984) and Matsui’s Oriume (2002) stand
out as the most dynamic explorations to date of old age in crisis. Both
skillfully conjoin the pity and the horror of the victim’s
plight with the equally troubling and complex consequences for the

Questions to be addressed in this lecture include: What is the salient
feature of each director’s treatment? How does each resolve
the ageless moral issue of filial obligation (giri) in conflict
with personal inclination (ninjō)?
How do you account for each director’s mode of
representation? And how does she generate the desired audience

Keiko McDonald is Professor of Japanese Cinema and Literature at the
University of Pittsburgh. Her publications include Cinema East: A Critical Study of
Major Japanese Films
(1983), Mizoguchi (1984), Japanese Classical Theatre in
(1994), From
Book to Screen: Modern Japanese Literature in Films
and Reading a Japanese
Film: Cinema in Context

Related Research Projects

Challenges of Demographic Change