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This article examines the figure of the panpan, or streetwalker, as a compelling example of a young working female population, concomitant to the radical transformation of sexual mores, familial relations, and consumption in Japan during the Allied Occupation. It compares the heterogeneous lived experiences of panpan with their representations in cinema, as well as in literature, pulp publications known as kasutori, and women's journals to explore how this problematic social figure was transformed into a marketable icon of popular culture. I agrue that the trope of panpan became an ambivalent signifier of youth, nation, and female sexuality that appealed to different audiences and was used by different groups to advance their own political agendas. The potential eroticism and political criticism of so-called "panpan films" lay primarily in the audiences' ability to decode metaphors, absences, and intertextual references.