Sea Change: Japan's New Wave of Female Film Directors
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Since the mid-2000s, there has been a significant increase in female directors in Japan. Organized around the central feature of this emerging wave, this dissertation is a multifaceted project that combines historical research with reception studies, industry studies, gender studies, and formal analysis of films and marketing paratexts. In exploring the connections between film production, reception, exhibition, and auteur personas, I argue that the recent emergence of women into commercial cinema is fueled by gendered marketing tactics that seek to target contemporary female consumers. This focused gendering of auteur, product, exhibition space, and presumed spectator is changing the landscape of cinema in Japan, a process some refer to as "feminization." My dissertation rethinks the history of Japanese cinema with regards to the relationship between filmmakers as gendered bodies, distribution companies and marketing as patriarchal power structures, and the capital wielding demographic of female spectators as influential, but often neglected, consumers.