Figure 1.--The Japanese boys in film generally appear in casual clothing, like this boy in an English movie about the son of a Japanese ambassador.
HBC has little information on the Japanese film industry and Japanese films. Hopefully a Japanese reader will provide some information to us. The various Godzilla film, have been widely shown on American television and they often have roles for children in which the boys usually wear the short short pants so popular beginning in the 1950s. In a few instances there are also parts for American boys who always wear long pants--often jeans. Occasionally the Japanese boys appear in traditional clothing. There are also some American and other foreign films set in Japan.
HBC has little information on the Japanese film industry and Japanese films. We know nothing about the pre-World War II film industry. It did exist, but was unknown in the West. After the War a very active film industry emerged. It was best known for the cheaply made Godzilla films--at least in the West. Gradually the production qualities of the Godzilla films improved, but never reaching levels in the West. Japanese films in fact became a subject of satire in the West. Saturday Live had a Samari chracter played by ??? Belushi. Woody Allen even took an entire Japanese action film and replace the dialog with English text making it a commedy--"??? ??? Tiger Lily". Besides the monster films, there was also a series of nostalgic films. They were somwhat similar to German Heimat films, but not as unrealistically sentimental. I forget now just what they were called. We note that Sony bought Universal Stydios. I'm not sure what impact that had on the Japanese film industry. One interesting recent development is the growing importance of Japanese animated films. Japanese movies have never cutting edge, but the Japanese animated films are today cutting edge. Hopefully a Japanese reader will provide some information to us.
We believe that the costuming in many Japanese movies is a relatively accurate relection of actual Japanese children's fashions. This in part because so many Japanese films were low budget productions. One way of limiting costs is to have actors wear their own clothes when the film has a contemporary setting. This thus guarantees that the children's clothes depicted are an accurate depiction of actual clothing styles.
We have only limited information on individual Japanese Films. The various Godzilla monster film, have been widely shown on American television and they often have roles for children in which the boys usually wear the short short pants so popular beginning in the 1950s-80s. In a few instances there are also parts for American boys who always wear long pants--often jeans. Occasionally the Japanese boys appear in traditional clothing. There are also some American and other foreign films set in Japan.
Another dreadful Japanese monster film. Gamera is not quite as well known as Godzilla. As with several of these films, children fit in the plot. This one has a boy as part of the cast. His two school friends are also involved. The main character and his friends wears the short short pants that were so popular in Japan. This boys wears brown shorts and white socks throughout. I would say he is
about 9 years old. It is winter and he often wears a jacket. Two friends are pictured briefly, both in shorts. Later at school, one of the friends and most of the other boys wears longs, the hero and his other friend, however, stay in shorts. The other friend wears knee socks while the hero wears ankle socks. Our hero is pictures extensively throughout the film.
Here Gamera takes on the evil Guiron. This is another good example of the Japanese monster films. This one includes school children. space travel, earth's twin planet Terra, and brain earing alien babies. The main characters include an American and Japanese boy. The children's costumes see to be a good reflection of contemprary children's clothes.
The Japnaese film "Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters" (1985) is about the life of Yukio Mishima, the famous Japanese novelist. The director is Paul Schrader film. Curiously few Japanese have seen the film. Mishima’s family will not permit into be shown in the country. The wonderfully crafted film, as the title suggests, is divided into three chapters recealing Mishimas different lives: public, private and literary. Mishima's final day is counterpointed by sgowing his childhood and adolesence in black-and-white sequences and winderfully staged color dramatizations of his novels, Temple of the Golden Pavilion, Kyoko's House, and Runaway Horses. Mishima is depiced as boy about 5-6 years old in the first segment of the movie. He is unhappy because he has been separated at an early age from his mother.
We only have limited information on this film at this time. The English tutor (David Niven) of a Japanese ambassador's son (Ando) finds he must live up to his greatly exaggerated tales of heroism when the boy is kidnapped by terroists. He acts out his dreams of heroism. This comedy stars David Niven. The boy wears a variety of outfits, mostly casual Japanese style "T" shirts and short and long pants. At the time it was very common for Japanese boys to commonly wear short pants, even in the winter. Ando in this film often appears in lng pants, perhaps because he is not in Japan.
The series " Otoko wa Tsurai yo " or " It's tough being a man " is arguably the most loved movie series in Japanese film history. There were 48 films made altogether in the series, 1969-95, usually two a year timed for release at New Years and the summer holidays.
The hero, known as "Tora-san", is sort of ne-er do well travelling salesman with a gruff exterior but a heart of gold. He was played by Kiyoshi Atsumi whose death in 1995 ended the series. In each of the films, Tora-san meets a woman. They become close and it looks as if they will fall in love, but something always happens to break up their relationship
(often due to a particular Japanese inability to express feelings directly). Playing the woman (known as the "Madonna" role) has been a series of Japan's top actresses -- it was almost a rite of passage for an actress entering the big time.
Ringu was directed by Hideo Nakata, based upon the novel "The Ring" by Koji Suzuki. starring Nanako Matsishima (Reiko), Hiroyuki Sanada (Ryuji), and Takashi Yamamura (Yoichi).The title, "the Ring" refers to a water well and the lid that covers it and the secret surrounding the young girl entombed within it. A chilling supernatural chiller with a moralistic ending that doesn't qute work in today's humanistic culture, where there are no absolute "right" or "wrong," good or evil choices. A mysterious video tape was discovered by a group of high school kids; onced watched, the legend has it you have seven days before you die. Reiko's neice has recently died in a bizarre way. Being a newspaper reporter, Reiko decides to look into the strange deaths of her neice and the three other high school students who had shared a weekend at a remote cottage, all dying on the same day, at the same time. While she and her son attend the funeral wake for her neice, Reiko follows
Yoichi, her son, up to neice's room and discovers a receipt for photgraphs; the photographs reveal the location of the cottage, and one bizarre image of distorted
faces brings about the revelation of the cursed video. Reiko herself discovers the video at the cottage, watches it, and recieves a phone call thereafter (as the legend
Starman (USA versions late 1960's) aka SuperGiant (Japan, circa late 1950's). The series starred Ken Utsui as Satman (Super-Giant, the man of steel). Japan's first cinematic super-hero influenced by the American television show, "The Adventures of Superman," and created by the Toho Studio's rival Shintoho Studios. Imported to the US by Walter
Manly Enterprises, re-edited and re-titled into four Starman features which aired on American television from late 1960's through the 1970's. Staman was the creation of The High Council of the Emerald Planet from the Marpet Galaxy, being a lone agent for the High Council to intervene in the affairs of Earthmen when disaster threatened Earth
and the universe. Little is known about Starman, the character, except that he was literally a "man of steel" created by the High Council, but being a robot, android of
some organic sper-creature is unknown. Starman is an excellent fighter with the strength of a thousand mortal men, and is equipped with The Globe Meter. The Globe Meter is worn on the wrist and has three functions: to fly through space, to detect radiation, and to translate all Earthly languages. Starman wears a simple costume of white tights and boots, an open-faced cowl equipped with a single antennea, and a rounded cape which is attached to his sleeves fluttering like wings when he flies; he also has a black waist belt with a large crystal as a buckle. Like the gigantic flying turtle called Gamera, Starman is the friend to all earth children.
Japanese film makers have made numerous films about monsters. They are usually monsters gebnerated by pollutioin or from out of space. Godzilla is the most famous Japanese monster. Gamera is the next most famous. We are not sure why these monsters have proven so popular to Japanese moviegoers. We are not sure, but we do not think it was just children who attended these films.
Japan has a very large and active movie industry. Unfortunately we have very limited information about Japanese actors or the films themselves. We have several clips from Japanese films, but have been unable to identify the specific films involved. Hopefully our Japanese readers will help us here. Many of these films until relatively recently were rather low budget productions, usually set in modern times and thus relatively accurate reflections of contemprary fashions.
Navigate the Boys' Historical Clothing Web Site:
[Return to the Main country movie page]
[Introduction] [Activities] [Biographies] [Chronology] [Clothing styles] [Countries] [Theater] [Topics]
[Bibliographies] [Contributions] [FAQs] [Glossaries] [Satellite sites] [Tools]
[Boys' Clothing Home]