AW: Tohoscope/Cinemascope

Stefan Nutz nuzumaki at
Sun Aug 29 04:17:00 EDT 2010

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 CF.








Von: owner-KineJapan at
[mailto:owner-KineJapan at] Im Auftrag von Jasper
Gesendet: Freitag, 27. August 2010 23:06
An: kinejapan
Betreff: RE: Tohoscope/Cinemascope


Hi Stefan,

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

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!



Jasper Sharp: Writer & Film Curator Homepage

Midnight Eye: The Latest and Best in Japanese Cinema

Zipangu Fest: Japanarchy in the UK

> 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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