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Nippon konchuki (The Insect Woman)

Nippon konchuki (The Insect Woman) (1963)


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Critic Reviews: 1
Fresh: 1 | Rotten: 0



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Movie Info

The Insect Woman covers 45 years in the life of long-suffering Japanese woman Tome Matsuki, played brilliantly by Sachiko Hidari. Thrust into the cold world at age 20, the pregnant Tome takes a factory job. She gives this up for the relative comfort of the life of an American GI's mistress. Once her American benefactor heads home, she seeks shelter in a house of prostitution, eventually becoming the Madam. Late in life, she is introduced to the daughter she'd abandoned years earlier, whose life

May 19, 2009

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All Critics (9) | Top Critics (2) | Fresh (6) | Rotten (1) | DVD (3)

Darkly elegant.

February 13, 2001 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

an intriguing, albeit rough-edged, portrait of the struggles of womanhood in modern Japan

June 30, 2009 Full Review Source: Q Network Film Desk
Q Network Film Desk

continues to impress and elude us more than 45 years later.

April 2, 2009 Full Review Source:

Reflects on many significant social concerns including the exploitation of women, how cruel people can be and the effects of westernization on Japan.

November 19, 2008 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

The wide variety of social concerns addressed is astounding...

January 11, 2008 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Audience Reviews for Nippon konchuki (The Insect Woman)

As she is growing up, Tome is happy enough, even though there are rumors that Chuji(Kazuo Kitamura) may not be her biological father, which maybe has something to do with marrying her mother En(Sumie Sasaki) months after she became pregnant with her. As an adult(Sachiko Hidari), Tome works in a munitions plant during the war but is called home due to a family emergency. While she is thrilled that her father is still alive, she is depressed at the thought of being shopped out to a neighboring farm to pay off her family's debts. They are right that her virtue will not remain intact, but the pregnancy is a little bit of a surprise, as she also keeps the baby.

Directed by Shohei Imamura, "The Insect Woman" is a rambunctious tragicomedy that pauses occasionally long enough for the characters to catch their breath. That's a good thing since there is a lot of post-war Japan to get through here.(And I think some knowledge of that time period would have proved helpful going in, having to look up May 1, 1952 myself.) Inflation is a key, as an important amount early on is 10 yen, while later on, there are negotiations for a loan of 200,000 yen. That's not to mention the innovations introduced from outside that the characters try to understand like land reform and democracy, forcing them to adapt that is a painful process at the best of times. On the one hand, there are the prostitutes who do not understand the big deal about virginity(That cat does not seem to be enjoying itself, though.) while others just go around in circles. And I understand why some people might find the ending a bit anticlimactic after all of that, but this is just a cycle that is broken with the help of a new way of thinking.
February 18, 2012
Walter M.

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    1. Nobuko: Is that Godzilla I hear approaching?
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Foreign Titles

  • Nippon konchuki (DE)
  • Insect Woman, (Nippon konchuki) The (UK)
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