Old Japanese Film Conventions?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Michael Taylor, Aug 20, 2002.

  1. Michael Taylor

    Michael Taylor Stunt Coordinator

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    I have seen several Japanese films set in the feudal period where the women shave their eyebrows and then draw them back on in the middle of their foreheads. Was that the fashion for that period? Also, why do the women often times have their teeth blacked out?

    Are these simply stylistic choices or do they have any cultural significance? I have always wondered about these things and am hoping that someone here in the forum will be able to enlighten me.
     
  2. andrew markworthy

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    I think it's just one of these cultural things, like some Japanese women emphasising the nape of the neck (apparently to a heterosexual Japanese male, it was the same erotic draw as a woman's cleavage has in Western culture).

    Incidentally, shaving off eyebrows and painting them back on is not uniquely Japanese. A lot of British women used to do this in the 1940/50s.
     
  3. Pascal A

    Pascal A Second Unit

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    The feudal period is key here, because most of these customs were no longer practiced (at least on a large-scale) after the nineteenth century. These conventions were roughly twelfth to nineteenth century.
    The eyebrow shaving (and re-painting midway on the forehead) was used to indicate that a woman was of noble class (literally highbrow [​IMG] ). These were called silkworm-moth eyebrows, presumably because the silkworm moth has the most beautiful eyebrows (I haven't seen one up close myself though, so I can't confirm that [​IMG] ).
    Tooth blackening is called ohagura, and it is most commonly used to signify that a young woman of nobility (or samurai class) was of marrying age. The ritual evolved over the centuries though, and you may also see some men or even married women practice this as an indication of their social class.
     
  4. Michael Taylor

    Michael Taylor Stunt Coordinator

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    Thank you so much for that great information. I knew that someone in this forum would have the answer!
     

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