Early Summer

October 24th, 2010

I’m a big fan of Japanese culture, and I was really excited to watch “Early Summer.” It was a really great movie. I loved the opening credits, and the first scene, with the family eating breakfast together. There was a peaceful feeling, but some suspense that something might occur to break them apart. This came true when Noriko marries and moves away from her family.

It’s interesting that the movie is about a woman who is forced to marry. It’s somewhat reminiscent of the fact that there were new laws in Japan at the time, which dictated how films were to be made. These laws prohibited certain subjects, and favored others; and those who broke these laws were deemed “war criminals”.

However, despite these laws, most Japanese filmmakers thought that things were better under the Occupation Forces than they had been under their own military. They believed that they were given freedom of creation, even with these strict new laws. To me, that parallels the fact that, at the beginning of the movie, Noriko doesn’t really complain about her arranged marriage, even though it feels very restrictive to the viewer. It is interesting that though Noriko seems to be okay with her arranged marriage in the beginning, that she, in the end, marries a man of her choosing. It feels like in a country that would consider those who broke the laws pertaining to filmmaking as “war criminals, that her family would object more to her non-arranged marriage.

I was also struck by the  extreme misbehavior of the two boys. They seemed to disregard their parents completely. Even the most innocent request of washing their faces was not obeyed. I was especially fascinated by the scene when the younger boy, Isamu, told the older relative that he loved him for candy, and when he was finished giving him candy, he told him bluntly that he hated him. It felt to me that the film was making a stark contrast within one family between the obedience of Noriko and the disobedience of the boys.

Do you agree? Do you see parallels between the Japanese censorship laws and Noriko’s arranged marriage? Do you feel there was a specific message to the story of the boys’ misbehavior?

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2 Responses to “Early Summer”

  1. Amy Herzog on November 3, 2010 1:15 PM

    Interesting questions! I’m not sure if I have an answer, but I do know that the U.S. censors were very interested in promoting messages of democracy and equality, including women’s issues, so this consideration of the politics of marriage might have been a welcome one….

  2. cmstemplate.net on June 8, 2016 2:49 AM


    Early Summer at Media Studies 144

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