The Insect Woman

The Insect Woman (にっぽん昆虫記, Nippon Konchūki, lit. "Entomological Chronicles of Japan"[1]) is a 1963 Japanese film directed by Shohei Imamura. It was entered into the 14th Berlin International Film Festival where Sachiko Hidari won the Silver Bear for Best Actress award.[2]

The Insect Woman
Directed byShohei Imamura
Written byKeiji Hasebe, Shohei Imamura
StarringEmiko Aizawa, Masumi Harukawa, Sachiko Hidari
Music byToshiro Mayuzumi
Edited byMatsuo Tanji
Distributed byNikkatsu
Release date
  • November 16, 1963 (1963-11-16)
Running time
123 minutes


A woman, Tome, (Sachiko Hidari) is born to a lower-class family in Japan in 1918. The film is a metaphor for life in Japan through the middle twentieth century, including World War II. The title refers to an insect, repeating its mistakes, as in an infinite circle. Imamura, with this metaphor, introduces the life of Tome, who keeps trying to change her poor life.



The Insect Woman was released in Japan on November 16, 1963.[3]


"Mich." of Variety declared the film as "potent adult film fare by any nation's standards" and praised the camera work by Masahisa Himeda and performances by Sachiko Hidari, Kazuo Kitamura and Jitsuko Yoshimura.[4] The review noted that the film takes place over a period of 45 years in an episodic technique that "consciously causing viewer alienation"[4]


  1. Tessier, Max (1997). Shohei Imamura. Cinematheque Ontario. p. 60. ISBN 9780968296905.
  2. "Berlinale 1964: Prize Winners". Retrieved 2010-02-19.
  3. "にっぽん昆虫記" (in Japanese). Nikkatsu. Retrieved June 19, 2018.
  4. Variety's Film Reviews 1964-1967. 11. R. R. Bowker. 1983. There are no page numbers in this book. This entry is found under the header "June 24, 1964". ISBN 0-8352-2790-1.

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