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The oldest extant moving picture of the Japanese traditional puppet play obtained;
Theatre Museum (Global COE) reveals the moving pictures in the late Taisho era

The Global Center of Excellence (GCOE) Tsubouchi Memorial Theatre Museum of Waseda University (director/GCOE leader: Mikio Takemoto) has obtained the film, which contains the short film "Bunrakuza-Ningyo-Joruri" (see the figure) produced by Shochiku Cinema in July 1921 and shown at Meijiza in Tokyo for only 7 days in the following August, and several additional scenes, from Albert-Kahn Museum in France. This is considered as the oldest extant moving picture, and a first-class reference material for the researches into bunraku (Japanese traditional puppet play) and early Japanese movies. We will further study this from the viewpoints of theatrical performance and filming. This film will be revealed at the research-reporting session of the Global COE Tsubouchi Memorial Theatre Museum of Waseda University on Tuesday, December 22.

The Global COE Theatre Museum purchased three volumes of the film that recorded the above mentioned moving pictures (35 mm; monochrome; silent; about 42 min.) from Albert-Kahn Museum in France in 2009. The detailed background is unknown, but it is considered that the version of "Bunrakuza-Ningyo-Joruri" with additional scenes was exported to France. In the movie, there appear Kotsubodayu Toyotake (later named Yamashiro-no-shojyo Toyotake), Seiroku Tsuruzawa, Eiza Yoshida, Bungoro Yoshida (later named Naniwanojyo Yoshida), et al., who flourished in the late Taisho period. This film is not only the oldest but also has the longest record time. At the reporting session, we plan to report on the research results as of now, while showing the movie.

Research-reporting session of Global COE Theatre Museum "Bunraku Film 'Japanese Puppet Play' "

Date:Tuesday, December 22, 2009, 13:00-around 16:30
        The venue will be opened at 12:30. (Numbered tickets will be distributed from 11:30.)
Venue: Ono Auditorium of Waseda University (second basement of Ono Azusa Hall [Building No. 27])
Capacity: 206 *If the hall is crowded, we may reject your entry. We would appreciate your understanding.

For inquiries: Office for Global COE Theatre Museum of Waseda University (Tel: 03-5286-8110)

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