Human Face of Japan, The


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1982, Total Running Time 168 Minutes (6 Episodes x 28 Minutes)

The world continues to look to Japan as a highly industrialised, future-oriented country that has retained much of its ancient tradition. This series provides an insight into the character of a highly complex nation by examining the lives of nine Japanese from widely diverse backgrounds in the context of social and economic developments.

Lifetime Employment Examines the relationship between one family and a corporation by focusing on the family of Mr Uchida, who works on the Mazda car assembly line. It also considers the broader issues of automation, small subcontractors, productivity circles, unions, day labourers and nuclear power.

Tomorrow and Yesterday Mr Kimura is a design engineer in a large construction company. As it follows the life of his family, this episode reveals different aspects of Japanese society, from rich traditions and brilliant festivals to highly advanced technology and forward-looking attitudes. It examines how these two poles meet in the upbringing of children, social relationships, the workplace and spiritual life.

Raw Fish and Pickle Depicts life in the traditional rural province of Iwate Prefecture where the Vice Governor of Iwate, Mr Shinohara, and the family of salmon boat crewman, Mr Oikawa, make their own contributions to the goal of making Japan self sufficient in food. The Vice Governor is working to move Iwate Prefecture towards modern agricultural methods to improve Japan’s self sufficiency. The Oikawa family allows us the opportunity to observe traditional fishing songs, traditional dancing and the Morioka Snow Festival.

Career Escalator, The The intense competition and unique processes of Japanese commercial life are revealed through character studies of Yuichi Noza, a “ronin” student studying for his entrance exams at a top university, and Mr Oka, a senior executive at Mitsubishi.

Working Couple, A Most Japanese live in big cities, and many of them are salaried company workers, living in housing estates and travelling long distances to work. The Yokoyamas are featured in this episode. Mr Yokoyama is a clerk in a pharmaceutical company and Mrs Yokoyama runs a small shop. Through them we gain insight into what it means to be two among Tokyo’s millions.

Rice Ladle, The Although in the distant past Japanese society was partly matriarchal, the feudal system and Confucianism subjugated women. Today Japanese society emphasises woman’s traditional role as homemaker. Two different perspectives on women in contemporary Japan are presented through the lives of Mrs Suda, a widow working as a cook’s assistant in a sushi restaurant, and Fumiko Sawada, a girl studying to be a pop singer at the Watanabe Music Academy.

Produced by Film Australia in conjunction with Australia Japan Foundation. © 2011 National Film and Sound Archive of Australia.



Writer/Director: Oliver Howes

Year: 1982

Running Time: 168 Minutes (6 x 28 Minutes)

Classification: Exempt from classification

Curriculum Links: Asian Studies; Economics; Environmental Studies; Religion; SOSE; Work and Business studies (Business Management/Industry and Enterprise)


SKU 197804900
Brand Film Australia

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