JFLA Lecture Series 33

Madame Butterfly and The Birth of
The Motion Picture Actress in Japan 

Lecturer: Prof. Daisuke Miyao





Thursday, June 23


The Japan Foundation, Los Angeles
(5700 Wilshire Blvd. # 100, Los Angeles, CA 90036)

Street parking is available near JFLA. Click here for Parking Info
Admission: FREE


In Japan, motion picture actress did not exist until 1918 when Hanayagi Harumi starred in "Sei no kagayaki" (Radiance of Life).  Before this film, the majority of female characters in motion pictures were played by onnagata, female impersonators in kabuki.  One exception was Aoki Tsuruko (1891-1961), a female Japanese star in early Hollywood.  The popular narrative of "Madame Butterfly" played a significant role behind Aoki’s stardom.  How did Aoki become a star in Hollywood in the 1910s?  What impact did Aoki’s star image have on Japanese cinema?


About the Lecturer

Daisuke Miyao is Professor and the Hajime Mori Chair in Japanese Language and Literature at the University of California, San Diego.  Miyao is the author of The Aesthetics of Shadow: Lighting and Japanese Cinema (Durham: Duke University Press, 2013), Eiga wa neko dearu: Hajimete no cinema sutadizu [Cinema Is a Cat: Introduction to Cinema Studies] (Tokyo: Heibonsha, 2011), and Sessue Hayakawa: Silent Cinema and Transnational Stardom (Durham: Duke University Press, 2007).  He is also the editor of Oxford Handbook of Japanese Cinema (New York: Oxford University Press, 2014).  Miyao is currently writing a book, tentatively titled Japonisme and the Birth of Cinema.