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Multiculturalism and alienation in contemporary Japanese society as seen in the films of Takashi Miike

by Balsomico, Steven A.

Abstract (Summary)
Ronald E. Shields, Advisor Through his films, Takashi Miike reminds audiences of the diverse populations within Japan. He criticizes elements of the Japanese sociological structures that alienate minorities and outcasts. Through the socialization process, Japanese youth learn the importance of “fitting in” and attending to the needs of the group. Clear distinctions of who are “inside” and “outside” are made early on and that which is “outside” is characterized as outcast and forbidden. In three of his films, " Blues Harp, " " Dead or Alive, " and " Deadly Outlaw: Rekka, " Miike includes individuals who have been situated as outsiders. In " Blues Harp, " Chuji, due to his obvious heritage, cannot find a place in society, and thus exists on the fringes. In " Dead or Alive, " Ryuichi has felt that the country in which he lives has placed him in a disadvantaged status: therefore, he must strike out on his own, attempting to achieve happiness through criminal means. In " Deadly Outlaw: Rekka, " Kunisada, an outsider by blood and incarceration, cannot relate to his peers in the world. As a result, he lashes out against the world in violence, becoming an individual who is portrayed as a wild beast. When these outsiders attempt to form their own groups, they often face eventual failure. Their outsider status, and the methods available to them to survive, drives wedges within the groups. They long for a group identity, forming bonds made with fellow outsiders. However, society shatters these bonds, circumstances break the group, and the end is often tragic for all involved. Miike’s films exist as surreal parallels to the real world. Using these dramatic and tragic scenarios as morality tales, Miike shows the need for group formation within Japanese society, beginning at the very early stages of youth, and the consequences of not being a part of a group. Through the tragic end that meets these iii characters, Miike criticizes this system, illustrating how these outsider characters have been placed into the fringes of society, and though all the long for is some form of happiness and contentment in their lives, they are unable to do so because they do not “fit in.” iv To Rich and Fran, For everything v
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:

School:Bowling Green State University

School Location:USA - Ohio

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:miike takashi alienation social psychology in motion pictures multiculturalism japan

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