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Campus Now

New Year Issue (Jan. 2014)


Meiji and Taisho Periods movie film collected since the museum’s opening

Verification for precious movie film existing only at the Tsubouchi Memorial Theatre Museum

Scene from Matsuo Shimo Yashiki (1910)

The Tsubouchi Memorial Theatre Museum has a collection of movie film taken during the dawn of Japanese film. A joint survey of conducted by the Theatre Museum and the National Film Center of the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo confirmed that the Theatre Museum’s collection contains films which exist nowhere else in the world. On November 2 and 3, a special screening for a portion of these movies was held at the Film Center under the title of “Legendary Movie Collection.”

Since its opening in 1928, the Tsubouchi Memorial Theatre Museum has collected approximately 1,000 rolls of film. This collection contains Japanese movies filmed during the Meiji and Taisho Periods, silent movies from overseas, national policy films made in Indonesia during World War II, and home movies taken by actors using 8-millimeter cameras. The majority of movie film from the Meiji and Taisho Periods was lost during the Great Kanto Earthquake. The film studied in the joint survey is extremely precious material for movie history. The survey’s findings also substantiate how Japanese movies were made during the same period as Western movies, making Japan a leading film nation together with Western nations.