Heterotopia in Dystopia: Analysis of the Film Himizu

Conference: The Asian Conference on Media, Communication & Film (MediAsia2021)
Title: Heterotopia in Dystopia: Analysis of the Film Himizu
Stream: Film Criticism and Theory
Presentation Type: Live-Stream Presentation
Miyoung Gu, Waseda University, Japan


The research explores the Japanese dystopian landscape of the 2010s. First, I have highlighted the Great East-Japan Earthquake, an event that transferred the paradigm of the Japanese society, and then examined the major discussions surrounding it. This research argues that this period is as important as the post-WWII defeat in the Japanese society, with a closer look into the changes of the Japanese society after this disaster. And I then analyze the film related to this disaster, Himizu (dir. Sono Sion, 2011). I, in particular, paid attention to the place in the film and then applied Foucault's theory of heterotopia to the places represented in the film. This dissertation argues that the place shown in the film serves as perfect examples of heterotopia. In other words, the place certainly exists as a place that reveals the interior of the dystopia of the Japanese society in the 2010s, although I argue that the place is generally considered a hidden or forgotten space by the splendor segment of the society. Furthermore, the characters and the place shown in the film do not exaggerate the post-disaster Japanese dystopia, rather they signify Japanese society as it is. This research concludes that the Japanese society eventually remains aporia, which means that it is at a dead end.

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