“Japanese Educational FIlmstrips in 1950s” in Films about Yamagata, YIDFF 2011

Event Announcement about "Seasons of Magic Lntern 2: Japanese Educational
FIlmstrips in 1950s" in *Films about Yamagata, *YIDFF 2011

Date: Sunday, Oct. 10  16:15 - 18:15 p.m

Location: Yamagata Museum of Art (

Co-sponsored by Waseda University Collaborative Research Center for Theatre
and Film Arts 2011 Research Project ' Empirical Studies about Alternative
Practices in the History of Japanese Post-war Visual Culture: Focusing on
the Revaluation of Filmstrips / Slide Media and the Verification of Their
Cooperation with Cinema and Theater'

With collaboration by Kobe Planet Film Archive

Narrated in Japanese by Kataoka Ichiro (Silent film benshi)

Handout in English available


*$B#1!%(BQu Yuan, the Patriotic Poet (1952) (Yu-koku no Shi-jin Kutsu Gen)*
Production: Zenshinza Theatre Company Kinuta Yokocine Slide Company
Cast: Kawarazaki Chojuro (Qu Yuan / Kutsu Gen)    Imamura Izumi (Chan Juan /
Sen Ken)

Guo Moruo$B!G(Bs *Qu Yuan *(1942) was one of a popular work of the 
historical play during the Second Sino-Japanese War. In September 1952, the
Zenshinza Theatre Company staged the first performance in Japan of the play,
which was filmed and edited into this filmstrip version. The title roll was
one of the postwar hit performances for the actor Kawarasaki Chojiro.

* 2. Green Peace (1953)   $B!J(BMidori-no Heiwa$B!K(B*
Plan and production: Rural Culture Association Japan
Support: Forestry Agency of Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry/ the
Ministry of Education, Science, Sports and Culture/ Miyagi Prefecture
Location: Tomino village, Kurihara country, Miyagi prefecture
Cast: People from Tomino village
Original story: The Greenery Club of Tomino junior high school
Dramatization: Shirahama Kenichiro
Direction: Yamada Tamio
Shooting: Shima Minao
Production: Ukita Saburo

A filmstrip depicting a reforestation campaign waged by junior-high school
students in Tomino Village, Miyagi Prefecture. The story is based on real
events and features the students on location in their village. This
filmstrip was produced by the Rural Cultural Association (Nobunkyo). Since
the wartime, Nobunkyo had produced many filmstrips and slides aimed at
providing cultural enrichment and entertainment in the rural villages of

*3. The Mountains Belong to Us (circa 1954)   (Yama-wa Ore-tachi no Mono-da)
Production: Okutama Mountain Village Campaign Group (Okutama Sanson
Distribution: Nihon Gento Bunka-sha

In 1951, the *Sanson Kousaku-tai* (the mountain village campaign group) was
established as a covert organization for the Japanese Communist Party, who
was taking an anti-U.S. line by means of armed struggle. This group was
dispatched to a mountain village in the Nishi-tama area to stop the
construction of the Ogouchi dam which was regarded by the left wing
communists at that time as a $B!H(Bmilitary dam$B!I(B built to supply 
power to the
Tachikawa U.S. Base. They were also assigned to liberate the mountain
village people from the rule of feudal landowners. This film is one of the
few made that gives us a real concrete picture of the situation and the
activities of Sanson Kousaku-tai. They were known to use picture-story show
(*kamishibai*) and gento as well as printed material such au propaganda
handbills and newspapers when conducting their cultural campaigning.

*4. My Mother (1953)   $B!J(BBoku-no Kaa-chan$B!K(B*
Production: The Kawasaki Committee for Children in Tokyo University
Construction: Kako Satoshi
Cooperation and distribution: Nihon Gento Bunka-sha

Kako Satochi, who is still active as one of Japan$B!G(Bs leading picture 
artists, attended a meeting for the management of the Kawasaki Committee for
Children in the Tokyo University Settlement. There he tackled the creative
activities of picture-story shows and gento. At that time, the activists of
the Kawasaki Committee for Children agreed on a policy that encouraged
children to actively and autonomously get involved in the process of
creating and screening filmstrips. They were encouraged by the movement to
write about and record their life---a movement revived as a result of the
success of *School of Echoes*.

*5. How We Fought: The 63-Day Struggle (1953) $B!J(BWare-ra Kaku Tatakau: 
Production: The Japan Coal Labor Union
Distribution: Nihon Gento Bunka-s

This is a long filmstrip of about 90 frames in total, which records a 63 day
dispute over the raising of wages initiated by the Japan Coal Labor Union
(Tanro), it started on October 17, 1952.
Focusing on two coal mines, the Fukushima Jouban Coal Mine, which went back
to work as usual and dropped out of the Coal Union during the strike and
Kyushu Kaho Coal Mine which continued the dispute with the help of the union
members belonging to Tanro throughout the whole of Kyushu, this film sums up
the events leading up to the end of the strike because of the Japanese
government$B!G(Bs invoking of emergency laws which gave them the right to 
work to commence on December 15 of 1952 and also made them accept the
proposals for settling the dispute.

*About this program *

The Waseda University Collaborative Research Center for Theatre and Film
Arts 2011 Research Project, ' Empirical Studies about the Alternative
Practice in the History of Japanese Post-war Visual Culture: Focusing on the
Revaluation of Filmstrips / Slide Media and the Verification of Their
Cooperation with Cinema and Theater' (Research Representative :Washitani
Hana) project team has researched *gento *(magic lantern, slide, filmstrips)
material despite the regrettable situation of it being scattered and lost
without any proper or systematic archives. We have done research into* gento
* from the days of the occupation of Japan up until now, with the aim of
making them open to the public. In the process of this endeavor, the team
has found that the Kobe Planet Film Archive (co-sponsor of this program) has
hundreds of* gento*-related materials which were donated from the former
collection of the $B!H(B*Kansai Gento Center*,$B!I(B an organization 
selling and
renting *gento* films, scripts and equipment. The Kobe Planet Film Archive
collection includes a large number of independent *gento* films and scripts
produced during the social and labor movements of the 1950s and 60s.

The five *gento* filmstrips shown in this program have been selected out of
more than three hundred *gento* films/scripts from the former collection of
the Kansai Gento Center, now preserved in the Kobe Planet Film Archives. All
of them are extremely valuable sources that tell us about the missing links
in the history of post-war visual culture and about the yet undiscovered
contacts made between visual media and society. They are also vitally
important examples of experimental works that sought out the particular and
unique possibilities of *gento* that can no longer be regarded as just a
simple and inferior substitute to motion picture.
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