Jasper Sharp jasper_sharp at
Fri Aug 27 17:06:23 EDT 2010

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 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!



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, -rama, 
> etc., employed, including Tohoscope and Daieiscope. It might possibly be of 
> interest to some historically--
> Michael McCaskey
> Georgetown Univ.
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