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I just watched the 1948 film "A Hen in the Wind," directed and co-written by Yasujiro Ozu. I'm guessing the title is a reference to a Japanese proverb or traditional metaphor. Does anyone recognize it? Does anyone know what it means? (I don't speak or read Japanese, but Wikipedia has the following translation in Japanese characters: 風の中の牝鶏【めんどり】.)

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  • The English title is a direct translation of the Japanese title, fwiw.
    – senshin
    Feb 8, 2015 at 7:01
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    The only proverb I could think of that contains "hen" in it is 「雌鶏歌えば家滅ぶ。」 but I have no idea if it has anything to do with the film title as I have never seen the film myself.
    – user4032
    Feb 8, 2015 at 14:01
  • I don't think there's another obvious proverb on which this film was based, either.
    – naruto
    Feb 9, 2015 at 2:48
  • L'electeur: Thank you for responding. Unfortunately, I don't read or speak Japanese, so could you – or whoever happens to be reading this at the moment – respond with an English translation of 「雌鶏歌えば家滅ぶ。」? Thanks, Ron Stringer Feb 9, 2015 at 7:33
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    Literally, it means "If the hen sings, the home will perish." Figuratively, it means that if the wife gains more power than the husband, their home will be ruined.
    – user4032
    Feb 9, 2015 at 14:06

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It doesn't seem to be based on a proverb or expression. (Maybe there's a hint that the husband is a "weathercock" (cock in the wind) -- opportunistic, unprincipled ... .)

The first thing the heroin Tokiko did was to sell her wardrobe one by one -- she had to pluck her feathers like a hen. Then she had to be plucky and strong in the cold wind.

As the following comment says, the title may refer to the women in general at the time. I suppose that when the movie came out, the meaning of the title was obvious to the general public.

http://ameblo.jp/jahyon2002/entry-10937011475.html

  1. タイトルの意味 -- おっしゃる通り、風の中の牝鶏はヒロインの事であり、 不本意な形で自立を余儀無くされた女性全般なのでしょうね。

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