Representations of Suicide in Japanese Cinema

Jerry Turner jdturner1 at
Thu Feb 26 21:41:51 EST 2009

There are a ton of films to check out, but two that deal with suicide pacts
or groups is Sono's *Suicide Club* and the pink film *Ambiguous* by Toshiya

There is an hour long documentary that aired in the States on the now
defunct Trio channel called *Suicide: Life in Japan*. However, it was not
produced in the U.S. I think it might have been a BBC or British TV
production, so I'm not sure if that was the original title. I could never
find any online info about it. I managed to tape a rerun of it before Trio
disappeared. It's pretty interesting.

On Thu, Feb 26, 2009 at 8:37 PM, Roger Macy <macyroger at> wrote:

>  Dear Edel,
> If you haven't got to it already, I would look at Keiko McDonald's book
> 'Japanese Classical Theater' in Films, 1994, which has chapters on 'The
> Ballad of Narayama' and Shinoda's 'Double Suicide'.  I'm sure others could
> give sources for some more contemporary examples.  But for some reason, two
> counter-examples spring to mind, of women who won't, which might help your
> argumentation:  *Face* by SAKAMOTO Junji, 2000, in Jasper's current
> touring programme; and IMAMURA Shōhei's *Intentions of Murder*, 1964.
> I hope others can help you more,
> Roger
> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Edel Quinn" <delquinn at>
> To: "Kine Japan" <kinejapan at>
> Sent: Thursday, February 26, 2009 11:48 PM
> Subject: Representations of Suicide in Japanese Cinema
> > Hi there,
> >
> > My name is Edel. I'm a Masters student at the Huston Film School, in
> > National University  of Ireland. I am in the early stages of
> > researching my thesis on Representations of Suicide in Japanese
> > Cinema. The extent to which suicide is mentioned and depicted in
> > Japanese arts has always interested me, especially since,
> > statistically speaking, Japan's title of being one of the world's
> > 'suicide nations' has only in recent years been warranted.   With this
> > in mind I am looking at both contemporary and classical films and
> > emphasis will be placed on how representations are made and whether or
> > not there are links between cultural depictions and sociological
> > trends.This will involve a discussion of traditional forms of
> > committing suicide such as seppaku. Also Shinjyuu, the form of suicide
> > committed among couples, to forms of familial suicides such as boshi-
> > shinjyu along with more contemporary trends amongst young people in
> > particular.
> >
> > I am also considering cross cultural analysis comparing western
> > representations of Japanese suicide with Japanese depictions.
> >
> > However, I am having great difficulty finding resources on my topic.
> > Obviously the fact that I am limited to English resources makes
> > everything more difficult. I would be most grateful if anyone has
> > encountered interesting texts, studies and films that deal with
> > suicide in film generally and particularly within the Japanese context.
> >
> > If anyone has any thoughts, opinions or ideas on how I should go about
> > this study they would be most welcome! As I mentioned I'm in the early
> > stages of my research so I'm still figuring out what direction to take.
> >
> > Thanks so much for your time.
> >
> > Regards, Edel Quinn
> >
> > delquinn at
> >
> > May I commend Kine Japan organisers and contributors on continually
> > insightful discussions!
> >
> >
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