Demographics &/of killers

anne mcknight akmck
Sat Feb 19 06:23:26 EST 2005


When did movie people start to care how old killers were, and make this the
focus of pathos in telling their stories?

I was talking with a friend who works on shonen hanzai (the 90s rash of
crimes by male adolescents), and a question came up. When did it start to be
so important how old a character was, and is this linked to films about
criminal profiling? I just watched the 1970 Shindo Kaneto film Hadaka no
19-sai (A 19-year-old stripped bare), which uses a lot of
documentary/reportage techniques to tell a story modelled on the Nagayama
Norio case. (In 1969, Nagayama stole some weapons from a US army base & went
on a 4-city killing spree. He's the one Wakamatsu Koji made a film about, in
the late 70s.) The same year of 1970, there's a TV series called Tsuma wa
18-sai (My wife is 18).

In the Nagayama case, 19 was important because he was a mi-seinen, underage,
and thus technically under the threshold of adulthood (although he was later
executed). Although there are tons of student-movement novels, as far as I
have read (in books and conversations), the obsession is with the politics
of the student as institutional flak or rebel. It's not about his age.

The prototypical angry-young-man literature story of the 70s, Map of a
19-year old (Nakagami Kenji, 1973), though, is all about being underage and
shut out of upwardly mobile school-oriented national society. It was made
into a film by Yanagimachi Mitsuo a couple years later.

Around this time, or even slightly earlier, people like Oshima Nagisa are
already starting to talk about identity as something that is not "inside"
you as your individual private property, but expressed through your
differentiation from other people, thus placing you in a hierarchy, via
statistics. He reads this as based on an obsession with GNP rankings, to
summarize it crudely.

Are there earlier movies people can think of in which "18" or "19" is an
important marker?  Other twists of this demographic dissection of the
"criminal mind", so to speak, that make themselves heard in numbers?

Thanks for any leads.

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