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date: 20 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This article discusses how the movie audience was imagined in relation to the fashionable term, “minshū” (the people), from the Taishō democracy in the 1920s until the total war regime in the 1940s. The word was predominantly used in the discourse surrounding, as well as the policies impacting on, social education and popular recreation as articulated by the bureaucrats and associated intellectuals of the Japanese Ministry of Education. These authority figures regarded the people who typically flocked to movie theaters as immature. But they also thought that if the people could come to appreciate educational movies, this would lead them to develop willingly into the ideal subjects of a harmonious society that would uphold the imperial state. At this juncture, movie audiences were constructed as “the people,” and this view remained dominant in the film policy of the total war regime in the 1930s and early 1940s.

Keywords: movie audience, Taishō democracy, social education, popular recreation, Japanese Ministry of Education, film policy

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