prewar Japanese films set in film studios

Roger Macy macyroger
Mon Dec 15 11:52:56 EST 2008

Some nugget, Roland !  This a gold-mine of information.  I ought to thank listmembers for their awesome answers generally, but I'd be spamming.  So thank you all, but I would like to give appreciation for the way Roland has opened out the topic.
So, do any of the films of this network survive ?

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Roland Domenig" <roland.domenig at>
To: <KineJapan at>
Sent: Monday, December 15, 2008 7:44 AM
Subject: AW: prewar Japanese films set in film studios 

Matsuda eiga shohin shu ? Yuki was one of three omnibus films made by Takamatsu Production in 1926, the other two being Matsuda eiga shohin shu ? Kumo and Matsuda eiga shohin shu ? Sora. Takamatsu Production is another quite interesting production company of the prewar era that, as Zensho Kinema mentioned in an earlier posting, has fallen into oblivion. 
It was founded in 1925 by Takamatsu Toyojiro, a very unique and fascinating figure in Japanese film history. A well know labour movement activist and social reformer Takamatsu was also one of Japan?s film pioneers and enjoyed a considerable stage career under the name Nonkiro Zanmai. He firmly beliefed in film as tool for social change and used in for his ?socialist activities?. He was one of the first to bring film to Taiwan where he spent some ten years in the 1900s and early 1910s, combining film exhibition with labour movement activities. In 1919 he founded Katsudo shashin shiryo kenkyukai (Moving Pictures Material Study Group) which distributed and produced mostly educational films. The first film produced at the company?s new studio in Azumamachi in Tokyo was Nihon rodo mondai (Japan?s Labour Problem) directed by Yamane Mikito, the co-director of Ekisutora gaaru mentioned by Roger. Yamane started out as a critic for Katsudo no sekai, one of Japan?s first film magazines, and founded himself the film journal Katsudo junpo. In 1919 he joined Katsudo shashin shiryo kenkyukai and married Toyojiro?s daughter Yuki. Among the staff working for Katsudo shashin shiryo kenkyukai was also Tomei Jiro (the father of director Inagaki Hiroshi), Tomonari Yozo (director of Matsuda eiga shohin shu ? Kumo) and Mori Iwao. Mori eventually became one of Japan?s most important producers and vice-president of Toho. 
The Katsudo shashin shiryo kenkyukai was short-lived and ceased operation in late 1921. The last film produced was Shukaku (Harvest) directed by Yamane and worthwile mentioning because it was the last film featuring Yanayagi Harumi, Japan?s ?first film actress?.   
The studio in Azuma was revived with the establishment of Takamatsu Toyojiro Production in 1925 also known as Takamatsu Production or just Takamatsu Puro. The first film of the newly established company, which was run by Toyojiro?s eldest son Takamatsu Kan?ichi was the jidaigeki Gifun no chikemuri, directed by Toyojiro?s third eldest son Takamatsu Misao (who later changed his name into Yoshimura Misao) and with Toyojiro?s second eldest son Kotani Saburo as cameraman. The lead role, by the way, was played by Muromachi Jiro in his second film role. Muromachi later changed his name to Okochi Denjiro and became one of the biggest jidaigeki stars of all times. 
The history of the Azuma studio is a little complicated because it was not only used by Takamatsu Production, but also by the production companies of Bando Tsumasaburo and Makino Shozo. In these cases the names Bando Tsumasaburo Production Azuma Satsueijo respectively Makino Production Tokyo Satsueijo was used. 
Takamatsu Production itself was as short-lived as its predecessor Katsudo shashin shiryo kenkyukai. After less than one and a half year production came to a halt in late 1927. Although the history of Takamatsu Production and the Azuma studio was short-lived it nevertheless played an important role. The list of directors working for Takamatsu Production includes names such as Kondo Iyokichi, Tomonari Yozo, actor Egawa Ureo (who made his directorial debut with Takamatsu Production) and most prominently Yamamoto Kajiro, who directed among others the third film of the Matsuda eiga shohin shu series Kumo.  The leading role, by the way, was played by Kinugasa Eiko (later Kinugasa Junko), the younger sister of Kinugasa Teinosuke?s first wife Toyoko. 
Although not as extensive and important as the Makino-Clan, the ?Takamatsu-Clan? left its mark on the map of Japanese cinema. The daughter of Toyojiro?s eldest son Kan?ichi, Takamatsu Fukuko, became a famous scripter working for Toho and Shintoho. She also wrote several screenplays together with her husband, director Sawashima Tadashi (under the penname Takazawa Kazuyoshi). The daughter of Takamatsu Misao, Okamoto Ikuko, also became a scriptwriter, working mostly for radio and TV. She has, however, also co-written several screenplays for her cousin?s husband Sawashima Tadashi. 
Takamatsu Production and the Takamatsu-Clan serves as a good example of how complex and interwoven the relations in Japanese cinema were before the war and in fact still are. 

Roland Domenig
Vienna University

Von: owner-KineJapan at [owner-KineJapan at] im Auftrag von Roger Macy [macyroger at]
Gesendet: Sonntag, 14. Dezember 2008 12:39
An: KineJapan at
Betreff: Re: prewar Japanese films set in film studios

I can't spot quickly any mention of Ekisutora gaaru in Kinugasa's autobiography, but this might be more the work of the other credited director, YAMANE Mikito [?], who, according to JMDb, also made something called Matsuda eiga sh?hin sh? (yuki) - is that 'A compilation of Matsuda out-takes in the snow' ??   Could these have been PR trailers, rather than full features ?  But who.or which Matsuda was famous at this time?
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