AW: Tohoscope/Cinemascope

Jasper Sharp jasper_sharp at
Sun Aug 29 05:19:08 EDT 2010

This, I suspect, is the key, Stefan. The lenses used by 20th Century Fox originally were produced by Bausch & Lomb. 
Given Japan's success in the optics industry, I believe these late formats in Japan used Japanese-produced lenses, as you say, Kowa.

Also, CinemaScope cinema releases in Japan used the Perspecta sound system, not 20th Century Fox's own system.

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Date: Sun, 29 Aug 2010 10:17:00 +0200
From: nuzumaki at
To: KineJapan at
Subject: AW: Tohoscope/Cinemascope

Jasper, Michael, 


Thanks for these useful links!

So I guess nobody knows if Toho and Co developed their own
technique of recording/projecting anamorphic footage or if they used the same
lenses (Panavision?) as 20th Century Fox did, or? 

Actually it would be very interesting to know who – or where
– the glasses haven been made. There are some Japanese lens-companies
that have a great anamorphic reputation as Kowa or Shiga. I know that there
were, and are till this very day, not many optic companies that produce
anamorphic lenses – actually I have only heard from lenses from Germany
(Isco Göttingen), Russia (Lomo), France (Angenieux) and Japan. 

What would be interesting to know, are the differences between
all of those “Scopes” and their stories behind it. 

But I guess, as we expect, this was just a way avoiding paying 20th








owner-KineJapan at
[mailto:owner-KineJapan at] Im Auftrag von Jasper

Gesendet: Freitag, 27. August 2010 23:06

An: kinejapan

Betreff: RE: Tohoscope/Cinemascope



This is a subject I am meant to be researching at the moment, though have yet
to truly sink my teeth into it yet, if you can wait another couple of years...

As far as I can work out though, all of the formats NikkatsuScope, Shochiku
GrandScope and ToeiScope etc were variations on the CinemaScope format,
although DaieiScope was a variation on VistaVision. 

I can give you Japanese sources from Kinema Junpo etc if you can read Japanese.
In the meantime, there's this resource in Japanese:

(actually not hugely helpful)

David Bordwell goes into more detail in this piece too, as to how Japanese
widescreen formats were adopted by the Hong Kong studios Shaw Bros :

My theory is that, as you mention, it was given just a different name so as to
avoid paying 20th Century Fox the license fee. But around the time the Japanese
studios were adopting widescreen, from 1957 onwards, the US majors had all
developed their anamorphic systems suggesting that the Fox patent was pretty
difficult to enforce. The CinemaScope package was not just the anamorphic
projection system, but the curved screen and stereophonic sound system too. A
lot of US exhibitors spurned the stereophonic sound, but if you look at the
first Japanese anamorphic widescreen productions, none of them were produced
using stereo sound. 

Thanks for the other information Michael - this was also very helpful!



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Midnight Eye: The Latest and Best in Japanese Cinema

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> Date: Fri, 27 Aug 2010 16:22:56 -0400

> From: mccaskem at

> To: KineJapan at

> Subject: Re: Tohoscope/Cinemascope


> I'm afraid that these are not really satisfactory answers to your
question, but the 

> first item deals a little with the story of Toho Scope and Toho Pan Scope
and a bit 

> about the US equivalents at the basic early entertainment level--




> while the second is simply a list that categorizes an amazing amount of
films from 

> several countries, 1926-1996, by the kind of proprietary -scope, -vision,

> etc., employed, including Tohoscope and Daieiscope. It might possibly be

> interest to some historically--




> Michael McCaskey

> Georgetown Univ.

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