50000 Films Found?

tetsuwan at comcast.net tetsuwan at comcast.net
Fri Feb 11 16:34:49 EST 2005

Wonder how long before the public gets to view any of these?

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> A colleague has pointed this fantastic news out to me (it is in 
> Japanese): 
> http://www.mainichi-msn.co.jp/shakai/wadai/news/ 
> 20050211ddm041040082000c.html 
> This has also been reported on the Masters of Cinema website and here 
> is their summary: 
> February 11, 2005 
> Mainichi Shimbun newspaper today reports the death of a legendary 
> Japanese film collector, Yoshishige Abe, aged 81. His father was a 
> police doctor who worked for the Korean Consulate, and together they 
> both collected fifty-thousand films both pre and post war at their 
> storehouse. They had previously refused all investigations by scholars, 
> and it is not clear just how many of the films are still viewable. 
> The article focuses mostly on Na Unkyu's debut Arirang (1926), one of 
> the most influential films of early Korean cinema, and long thought 
> lost. North and South Korea apparently each sent representatives to 
> reclaim the film but Abe refused. Thinking of it as an anti-Japan movie 
> he said he would be willing to give the film rolls to both nations only 
> if Korea united. 
> Abe has no heir, so after the lawful procedures, National Film Center 
> [Tokyo] will investigate the films. The catalogue contains Daichi wa 
> Hohoemu [The Earth Smiles] (Mizoguchi, 1925) amongst its many 
> treasures. Thanks to Kimitoshi Sato for sending us this incredible 
> news. -N.W. 
> It's ironic that with the Korean boom in Japan these days, the Arirang 
> news is played up (important news though it is), even though it is much 
> more likely that the grand majority of these films are Japanese. 
> I've heard rumors about this guy for a while, but I only hope these 
> films are in good condition. There are a number of private collectors 
> out there who are hoarding their films, even when they are made of 
> explosive nitrate stock. Let's pray that there are some great films in 
> this collection and that they will be viewable. 
> Aaron Gerow 
> KineJapan owner 
> Assistant Professor 
> Film Studies Program/East Asian Languages and Literatures 
> Yale University 
> For list commands, send "information kinejapan" to 
> listserver at lists.acs.ohio-state.edu 
> Kinema Club: http://pears.lib.ohio-state.edu/Markus/Welcome.html 
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