Date of Award

Spring 5-2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Film Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Nam Lee

Second Advisor

Dr. Michael Wood

Third Advisor

Dr. Federico Pacchioni


By using Happy Hour as a case study, this thesis argues Ryusuke Hamaguchi's approach to the Japanese home drama genre presents a changing perspective on the institution of marriage in contemporary Japanese society, reflecting shifts in gender roles and the growing trend of singlehood amongst Japanese youth. This perspective contrasts with the values portrayed in Ozu's films, which emphasize the vitality of marriage and the necessity of forming a family for happiness. The thesis analyzes the thematic and narrative elements of Happy Hour, focusing on the portrayal of marriage as a source of alienation and loneliness. It also discusses the film’s aesthetic form – largely its cinematography and framing – which helps to convey Hamaguchi's view of marriage as disintegrating, and his unconventional approach to portraying married life in contrast to the traditions of the Japanese home dramas. To contextualize this shift within the home drama genre, the thesis refers to Ozu's films Late Spring (1949) and An Autumn Afternoon (1962), as well as Kore-eda's films Still Walking (2008) and Our Little Sister (2015). By examining the connections between Happy Hour and the broader trends in Japanese society, this thesis aims to shed light on the ways in which Happy Hour represents the disintegration of marriage and the impact of social and cultural changes in 21st-century Japan on individual experiences and notions of marriage and family life, establishing the film as a latest addition to the Japanese home drama genre.

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Creative Commons License
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