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Lovable LosersThe Heike in Action and Memory$
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Mikael S. Adolphson and Anne Commons

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780824846756

Published to University Press Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824846756.001.0001

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date: 15 June 2021

Kiyomori and His Family in Postwar Japan

Kiyomori and His Family in Postwar Japan

Mizoguchi’s Shin Heike monogatari (The New Tale of the Heike)

(p.227) Chapter Twelve Kiyomori and His Family in Postwar Japan
Lovable Losers

Hitomi Tonomura

University of Hawai'i Press

This essay examines the changing depiction of Taira no Kiyomori (1118-1181) in the postwar era. Consistently depicted as an embodiment of greed and excessive ambition in accounts of the Heike from the medieval to the Meiji period, Kiyomori is depicted far more positively in Yoshikawa Eiji’s novel Shin Heike monogatari (The New Tale of the Heike, 1950-57), a work that was adapted to film by Mizoguchi Kenji in 1955. The film became enormously popular in a postwar world where many Japanese came to identify Kiyomori with democracy and anti-authoritarianism. The author analyzes Kiyomori and his on-screen family, particularly the roles of his mother and wife, in relation to social conditions in 1950s Japan.

Keywords:   Taira no Kiyomori, role of women, 1950s, film, Yoshikawa Eiji, Mizoguchi Kenji, Shin Heike monogatari

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