chapter  2
13 Pages

All for Money: Mizoguchi Kenji’s Osaka Elegy (1936)


The year 1936 was a seminal one for Mizoguchi Kenji, just as it was a key moment in the history of Japanese film in general. In that year, Mizoguchi made his sixtieth film, Osaka Elegy (Naniwa erejı¯), which is now widely regarded as his first successful sound film.1 The critical consensus is that the film not only opened up a new chapter in the director’s career, but with his subsequent film The Sisters of Gion (Gion no kyo¯dai, 1936) often being invoked in association, it was also the first true Japanese ‘realist film’ (Shindo¯ 1976: 45-6).