The Insect Woman (にっぽん昆虫記,Nippon konchūki) is a 1963 film directed and co-written by Shōhei Imamura and starring Sachiko Hidari. It is a pivotal film in the director's career, and the first appearance on screen of the "Imamura woman". It tells the story of an earthy woman from the Japanese countryside who leaves village life for Tokyo where she is lured into working as a prostitute, serves a prison term, and finally returns home. The lead character's life is designed as a commentary on the experiences of Japan in the 20th century, and her character is Imamura's rebuttal to Japanese womanhood as previously portrayed in film. Though the film was controversial at the time of its release, Imamura and lead actress Hidari were lauded with domestic and international awards. In 1999 critics for Kinema Jumpo named it one of the the best Japanese films of the 20th century.