The changing family values in contemporary Japan as represented in Tokyo Sonata (2009).
《Tokyo Sonata》, as the name said, this film’s structure is familiar with Sonata form. There is an Exposition that includes the four main roles and the internal problem of this family as film’s First Tonal Area and Second Tonal Area; a Development that we can see the First and Second Tonal Area occurs simultaneously and being more and more exciting, and it adds some new elements into this part to enhance the tension and get a new idea. Finally, in the Recapitulation, family understands each of them mutually. Ryūhei Sasaki and Megumi Sasaki go to the Kenji Sasaki’s music school examination and the film works to the end with the amazing Sonata in C sharp min. The whole film is talking about the cruel social realities, the outcome and influence of social unemployment, the dissection of paternalism in a traditional family, the different family value of each member and the “American” influence, in term of only a family. But this family links with japan, and japan links with the world. From a family of many things happened that reflect the society and style. Each one has their own family value, so it will be discussed in term of individual.
FOR THE FATHER: Unemployment? Dignity? Paternalism?
He was a manager of a big corporation. But it had been past. Under the influence of financial crisis, it is normal and high frequency to see the phenomenon the many companies discharged large amounts of people. And Ryūhei Sasaki is also to be the unlucky one of these “unemployed workers”. At that day, he went home earlier than usual and met his younger son Kenji. After Kenji entered into house, father was pacing around and consider whether entering the house from the main door of the building. Film uses a high-angle shot, to compress the father, and enlarge the building. Father becomes very small, and at last he entered into room from the window like a thief. It seems when father are fired that he will be so small but the house is so big, that he can not hold it anymore. But Why? Why did he want to avoid this fact and not let families know his situation? Dignity?
After losing his job, Ryūhei still gets up early and goes to “work” with a formal suit and brief case. For what? Dignity? Why did the unemployed father always want to hide her distress, and maintain the authority of the own family? It has its own historical and cultural basis. As the characteristic of an Ie family (the 1898 Family Law), Japan's family and the social hierarchy accept and reinforce the traditional patriarchal order. When the Emperor announced surrender, Japan military must accept it, rather than seppuku. It is succession based on primogeniture. In the family, when the previous male leader is gone, the eldest son in the transfer of powers will soon be upon, and widowed mother is impossible to manage the whole family. The position of leader would never change and be doubted. Developing until now, it still has a big impact on Japanese family value but it also has something changed. Like this film, family was built on the basic of the power of the father, because he can provide happiness for their children, provide stability life for his wife, and he was the only one who can get the income. Naturally he had his sole position. But under the economic crisis, the only source of income stopped, the position of father does not exist, that means he would be not a leader if he loses his function to the family. The economic basic determines the bottom of structure, traditionally dependent on a person's family is also destined to be affected. So after 1990, it was rising divorce rates for all adult ages (silver divorce). So he wanted to maintain his original situation not only to keep the father’s, the economic ownership of the family's dignity but also keep the stability of this family. In the past, continuation of a child is not only the professional identity of...
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