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The Family Game

The movie The Family Game depicts a middle-class family in modern Japan and has much to say about post-war Japanese society as it presents a satire in which a tutor hired to assist the youngest son progressively takes over the whole household. The centrality of family life is evident from the first, with the household serving as the center of life, to which everyone returns each day. Meals are given particular importance in the context of this life, and the incorporation of the tutor into that life is indicated by inviting him to remain for meals.

The role of the wife and mother in the film is traditional. Hane notes that the place of women in Japanese society improved after the war, though she also notes that "women continued to play a subordinate role in the family and society," which is evident in the film as the woman keeps the house and serves the needs of her family. The father indeed tells her that it is her role to keep the boys in line and to see that they go to school and behave themselves. She asks why she and her husband should sacrifice themselves for their children, but clearly it is intended by society that they do just that. The son comes home sick from school and expects his mother to prepare his bed for him immediately--the role of mother places the woman in a secondary position to her children as well as her husband.

Considerable emphasis is placed on the role of education as a preparation for a job and so for all of life. The grades and class ranking of the youngest boy are at issue in the film. The emerging middle class is beginning to question certain accepted truths, and significantly it is the mother in the film who voices many of these issues. Still, the importance of education and of the tests and rankings that decide who succeeds and who does not are central. The tutor is hired to see to it that the youngest son's grads improve, his ranking in class rises, and he is better prepared for the...

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The Family Game. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 02:34, May 28, 2020, from