Love Letter (恋文 / Koibumi) (1953)

  • October 8, 2022 | 8:00 PM - 9:40 PM | Saturday
  • Oldham Theatre


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Director: Kinuyo Tanaka
Runtime: 97 minutes
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Rating: PG

Full Synopsis

Released a year and a half after the end of the American Occupation, and based on a popular serialised novel by Fumio Niwa, Kinuyo Tanaka’s debut feature is a male-centred melodrama about Reikichi, a repatriated naval veteran. Making a living helping panpan (independent sex workers in post-war Japan) write romantic letters to American soldiers, a shocking revelation about his longlost lover Michiko causes him to spiral into moral outrage and judgement.

Even before its release, the making of the film became a paradoxically gendered spectacle. Critics and the media praised the film and Tanaka’s foray in directing, while simultaneously attempting to discredit her authorship based on the guidance and assistance she received from filmmakers such as Keisuke Kinoshita (who wrote the film’s screenplay). However, in 1953, Tanaka—who represented an exemplary image of Japanese femininity in popular imagination—dressed in male fashion and commanding an all-male crew, was a rare sight at a time when few women were visibly commanding managerial positions. Tanaka’s star image and persona can be seen as a prism through which the public witnessed a time of redefinition, when Japan was struggling to negotiate what was perceived as modern and traditional gender mores.


Retrospective: Kinuyo Tanaka is held in conjunction with Japanese Film Festival Singapore, and has been made possible with the generous support of the Japan Foundation.

For the full Retrospective: Kinuyo Tanaka programme, please visit here.

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Important Notice:
Do note that Oldham Theatre operates on a free seating arrangement. Doors will open 20 minutes before showtime so arrive early to choose a seat and avoid disrupting the screenings as AFA does not play ads and screenings will start promptly.
All patrons are encouraged to purchase your tickets online. If you choose to purchase tickets or merchandise at Oldham Theatre’s box office, cashless payment is preferred.
Measures will be taken to ensure the health and safety of all patrons at Oldham Theatre. Mask-wearing is optional as of 29 August 2022.

Concession tickets apply to Students (Local & Overseas), Full-time National Servicemen (NSF), Senior Citizens (55 years and above) only.
Please check film ratings before purchase of tickets. Please note that you may be asked to present your ID at the door (this applies to concession tickets as well). Only physical photographic identification is allowed, digital copies of identification are not allowed. AFA reserves the right to turn away any members of the public without physical photographic identification.
Upon confirmation of your order for Tickets, no exchange of Tickets will be made under any circumstances and Tickets are not transferable. No refund on Tickets will be made under any circumstances except due to cancellation of the event. The resale of Tickets at any price is prohibited.