Nowhere to see a movie!

Wei Ting Jen intewig at
Wed Jan 25 13:18:10 EST 2006

In my research on 1930s cinema, I came across an essay by a filmmaker who
traveled to the countryside outside Tokyo and was hounded with complaints
from the villagers. "We've heard all about these films, we want to see them
but can't"; "News radio and shibai just dont cut it". He reports being in
tears after listening to their pitiable state and witnessing their burning
desire to watch movies (specifically in this case, to watch war propaganda
"Think about it, in Kanagawa, Shizuoka, Chiba, Saitama, Ibaragi, Tochigi,
these tiny villages far from the cities which contribute the most troops yet
receive the least benefits." (Nihon Eiga quote, sometime in 1938 I think)

Nothing really changes, huh?


On 1/25/06, drainer at <drainer at> wrote:
> I don't know the figures, but I am sure they count many tiny little
> theaters
> in Tokyo as multiplexes...
> Not quite sure how many there are in Chiba; but it would be safe to say
> that
> there aren't more than 5-10 outside of Ichikawa/Funabashi/Makuhari.
> -d
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Aaron Gerow" < aaron.gerow at>
> To: "KineJapan" <KineJapan at>
> Sent: Wednesday, January 25, 2006 8:26 AM
> Subject: Nowhere to see a movie!
> > An article that just hit the wires confirms that not everything is rosy
> > when it comes to seeing movies in Japan. Those who live in Tokyo or
> Kansai
> > enjoy a large variety of movies, but when you move out of those areas,
> > sometimes it takes hours just to get to the closest theater.
> >
> > The article said the last movie theater in Maebashi City in Gunma
> > Prefecture will close on the 29th, making Maebashi the first prefectural
> > capital without a movie theater. Luckily, a multiplex is scheduled to
> open
> > in April, but until then this city of over 300,000 people will not have
> > one single movie screen. Currently, there are four other cities in Japan
> > with populations over 300,000 that have no theaters.
> >
> > The number of screens in Japan hit a low of 1743 in 1993 (after a peak
> of
> > 7457 in 1960), but has risen to 2926 at the end of 2005 with the spread
> of
> > multiplexes. I would suspect, however, that the number of actual
> theaters
> > is now actually lower than 1743 (anyone with figures on that?).
> >
> > 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
> > Kinema Club:
> >

"The other ambassadors warn me of famines, extortions, conspiracies, or else
they inform me of newly discovered turquoise mines, advantageous prices in
marten furs, suggestions for supplying damascened blades. And you?" the
Great Khan asked Polo, "you return from lands equally distant and you can
tell me only the thoughts that come to a man who sits on his doorstep at
evening to enjoy the cool air. What is the use, then, of all your
-- Italo Calvino, "Invisible Cities"
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