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Showa Monogatari 11: Nee-chan's Starry Sky
That was a melodramatic episode. This episode concludes the sister’s Character development. I thought things will go awry, or something along the lines of Kids on the Slope where they will go and chase trains and elope into a distant land. Whatever the case, it was well done and it ended well.
Conservatism and Radical Perception and Image Expectations
With my thoughts on the episode away, let me focus on the issues presented in this episode. For one, this series tackles a very interesting era in Japan’s history after the second world war. With its image shattered and with most of the nation starting to find themselves some identity. Japan is in the crossroads in regaining their lost pride as well as discover itself after the tragedy has befallen to them. In the meantime, they are also at war between the pre-war generation versus the post-war generation with different set of ideologies and perceptions.
Interestingly enough, to have Japan map itself again the world in a positive light is through the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, which happens to be around the corner. With the issues of Miyuki-zoku or the Ivy league fashion, that is very edgy for the Japanese society at the time. It plays on how society take its conservative and concern toward outsider’s opinion seriously even to the most minute irrelevant detail:
Starting in 1945, Japanese authorities generally viewed all Western youth fashion as a delinquent subculture. Despite looking relatively conservative in style compared to the other biker gangs and greasy-haired rebels, the Miyuki-zoku were still caught up in this delinquent narrative. In fact, they were actually the first middle-class youth consumers buying things under the direction of the mainstream media. It was Japanese society that was simply not ready for the idea that youth fashion could be part of the marketplace.
Since the Ivy fashion is branded as negative in the eyes of the conservative Japanese society, adding to the fact that they are very concerned toward the perception of others, putting the sensitive sociopolitical climate with then the upcoming Tokyo Olympics. The Japanese needs to fix this non-issue and remove anything that doesn’t fit in their already tried and tested, or already recognized standards. The Ivy style became one of the targets of this and was eventually put-off in the relentless campaign by the Police, but eventually accepted in later years.
Overall, the series is putting the important aspects of what makes the 1960’s interesting to those who had lived through it. It also puts perspective what the trends and mindsets of its people with the clash of post-war and pre-war generations and dictating the direction of the country after their defeat. The story with nee-chan is also interesting, that it was a good conclusion for her character and to her development as a teenager experiencing rebellion and her first love.
Episode Rating: 4/5