Review of Nobuko (1940)
Seen in 2016.
Interesting early treatment of a bully. Predictably, in Japanese culture, the offender is portrayed as the greatest victim of her own actions and is tearfully reconciled with the dominant ethics of “sincerity and purity” on the coldly modernistic interior set. Despite the brief presence of a male pervert, the female students are not sexualized, which would be surprising in a modern production, and surprises me even here; the soldiers fighting abroad in WW2 were apparently not the intended audience, or the fascist state brooked no confusion between the posher maidens of Yamato and the comfort women of other nationalities. A folk remedy for asthma is used to characterize the protagonist as a country bumpkin, but its efficacy is not clearly questioned.
References here: A Silent Voice (2016).