In the bustling city of Tokyo, Japan people must constantly work to stay alive. Mr. Goda, the head in advertisement at World Caramels, has come up with an exciting new campaign that features a unique girl named Kyoko. Kyoko’s rise to fame and her growing image reflect a star system in which an ordinary girl can be transformed into celebrity. Looking at the Avant-garde aspects and the proletarian nuances that arise in the film reveal the machinations that help Kyoko rise to stardom.
Masumura Yasuzo’s Avant-garde filming techniques further the image of Kyoko as a star. Masumura uses vivid images that cause a disconnect in logic. For instance, the opening sequence in which Kyoko’s face is multiplied and transformed into something that resembles Andy Warhols Pop Art along with the tribal, daunting music in the background supports the idea that Kyoko is a commodified, created image.
The mass production of caramels is directly correlated with the mass production of her image. Likewise, the menacing music, which talks about tribes hunting, reflects the cutthroat business world that makes her a star. Even though the pop art-esque images and the music do not necessarily go together logically (the Avant-garde quality of the opening sequence), they both further the idea that Kyoko is an artificially manufactured superstar. The artificiality of Kyoko’s stardom is seen especially when she is being interviewed. Mr. Goda tells her what to say, even if it’s not true. Thus this correlates with the mass production of her image and connects back to the opening sequence.
Kyoko’s answers are appealing to everybody. For instance she says she gives all of her money to her sick father. This furthers her image as a kind hearted person, thus allowing her stardom to increase. Although she is universally appealing, this is not who she truly is. This reveals that she is really just a commodified object being used to increase sales—a quality of the star system that is shown through the Avant-garde genre.
Proletarian literature also furthers the progression of Kyoko’s image. Taking a close look at proletarian literature and film such as Factory Ship and Battleship Potemkin shows that proletarian characters are well to do, nice, humble men. For instance, the proletariats in Odessa sympathize with the workers of Battleship Potemkin. This naturally sympathetic characteristic of proletarians enables Kyoko to be a prime marketing tool for World Caramels. Her humble beginnings allow consumers, or proletarians, to connect with her. For instance, a local florist advocates Kyoko’s friendly personality. Because a local florist who is also from lower class advocates Kyoko, this makes Kyoko more relatable to the working class of Japan. Her fame amongst the proletarians of Japan reveals a key component to Mr. Goda’s star-making system. By using a girl from the working, lower class he is able to target his consumers and thus increase sales. Another one of Kyoko’s qualities that allows her to connect with the working class is her facial appearance. Although she is not the most attractive girl and has rotten teeth she is an “attractive” model to the working class. They can relate more easily to her than a supermodel because she is a “real” girl who does “ordinary” things like they do.
Photographing Kyoko in her “everyday” environment allows consumers to relate to her, as well as, highlights a key component of the star system that allows Kyoko’s fame to skyrocket.
Both the Avant-garde and proletarian genre help further Kyoko’s success and emphasize key components of the star system in media.