Lost Japanese Films

Roger Macy macyroger at yahoo.co.uk
Wed Dec 3 08:39:06 EST 2008

Dear Christiane Gruen,
You ask -
"Therefore we ask if anybody knows of any Japanese films, which are believed lost, that they please post to the list or get in touch with me at the email address listed below."
Alas, for Japan, the question is overwhelming, if not mocking, since most Japanese films are lost.  Of the many thousands of films made before 1940 (such as to be found on the JMDb website) all but a few hundred, I believe, are lost.  And plenty after this date are also lost - for example, Jasper Sharp points out, in his new book that most pink films have not been preserved. 
So, for practical reasons, our focus is on what films are preserved.  We have had recent threads on this list as to the availability of information on which films are preserved - see 'Film archive catalogues' and 'Japanese governmental agencies/film culture promotional policies'.  Due to the lack of easy availability of preservation information, Professor High's pointer to his book is particularly useful.

The discussion on your website as to what might constitute a 'lost film' is valuable.  But whilst we have your attention, may I ask one question and make one suggestion, please?

Question: (Assuming the Deutsche Kinemathek is the institution in Germany that holds information on films preserved in Germany,)  Is it one of those institutions that puts on line the listing of those films it has preserved?  If so, what is the link, please.  If not, a listing of any East Asian films up to 1945 that are held would interest scholars, particularly as there are a few films that may have reached Berlin via Moscow.

Suggestion: There is another category of found films that are hidden, in so far as there is no budget to produce projection copies.  Publicity for these might produce the positive result of procuring sponsorship for their projection and distribution.  For example, the only copy of a 1923 film by Conrad Wiene, DIE MACHT DER FINSTERNIS, (with Russian actors and, presumably, a Russian script) exists at Waseda University, Tokyo with English titles - see the report by Dr. Uli Jung in Filmblatt, Summer, 2003.  Perhaps your institution could find the budget to combine the revival of this hidden German film with that of a Japanese film in a similar state?

Roger Macy

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Christiane Gruen" <Christiane.Gruen at gmx.de>
To: <kinejapan at lists.acs.ohio-state.edu>
Sent: Tuesday, December 02, 2008 3:52 PM
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