Karayuki-San, The Making of a Prostitute
DIRECTOR: SHOHEI IMAMURA
Never one to steer clear of controversy, with this incendiary documentary Imamura confronted his native Japan’s wartime history of sexual slavery, interviewing Kikuyo Zendo, a 74-year-old former “karayuki-san”—an impoverished woman sold into sex work—now living in Malaysia with a shopkeeper husband and a trove of terrible wartime memories which she unpacks before the camera. A fearless film, in which Zendo lends her experience to Imamura’s stated artistic mission: “I am interested in the relationship of the lower part of the human body and the lower part of the social structure on which the reality of daily Japanese life supports itself.”
Screening in the series Icarus Films at 40.