“Tokyo Matsuri” advertising postcard, 1933.

1930sAmusements & RecreationsArts & CultureCommerce
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Advertising postcard for Nikkatsu Studio’s “all-talkie” motion picture, Tokyo Festival [Tokyo-matsuri, 東京祭], released on September 29, 1933, directed by Ushihara Kiyohiko who had studied filmmaking in Hollywood under the tutelage of Charlie Chapin. Tokyo Festival featured the popular actress Natsukawa Shizue – star of Nikkatsu Studio’s wildly successful 1929 silent feature Tokyo March – and state-of-the-art Western Electric sound-on-film recording and reproduction technology.

“Despite the unevenness of [its earliest sound films, beginning with Hometown (Fujiwara yoshie no furusato) in 1929], Nikkatsu finally saw the light and began to take sound seriously.

“After making its first talkie of genuine value – Tomotaka Tasaka’s Spring and a Girl (Haru to musume), with a script by Murata and Kajiro Yamamoto – Nikkatsu and the Photo Chemical Laboratories parted company. The latter, at first working with a post-recording sound method even now much used, decided to produce films on its own. Nikkatsu, having its own studios, contracted with Western Electric for its sound system.

“The American company was in a position to talk business since, just the year before, it had sent equipment and American technicians over to the small Oriental Company, an independent [studio] which had some backing from Paramount. The Americans engineers, however, had not had enough experience: there was both delay and loss and after only one picture the company failed.

“Western Electric, with expensive equipment going unused in Japan, was eager to come to terms with almost anyone, and when the contract was finally signed, in 1933, Nikkatsu owned the best-quality recording equipment available at the time.”

The Japanese Film: Art and Industry, by Joseph L. Anderson & Donald Richie, 2018

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