[KineJapan] Viewing 'Nippon'

Roger Macy macyroger at yahoo.co.uk
Sun May 16 15:46:32 EDT 2021

Dear All,

I’ve been asked by Wayne Arnold, of the University of Kitakyushu, who is researching ‘ArthurMiller and Japan’about what ‘Japanese films’ Arthur Miller had seen when he wrote, in Paris,on 17 October, 1933(underlining is ours) :-

A most beautiful end to a most wonderful day was Sylvia
Sidney’s performance of Cho-Cho-San—Madame Butterfly. I was
thrilled. More than that, deeply moved. Havingseen the celebrated
films by the Japanese players some time ago (Ancient, Medieval, and
Modem Japan) I had some basis of comparison whereby to judge her
interpretation. All that an Occidental could bring to the role Ifelt
she had brought. It is one of the most restrained, most artistiq films
America hasproduced. A pure film with the operatic melodies well
subdued and never intruding. The dignity of the theme worthy to
make you weep.

Miller had arrived in Parisin 1932 and the range of films with Japanese players to be seen waslimited.  One film fits his descriptionvery well – the European-edited compilation by Carl Koch, Nippon.Pordenone says 

cut versions (each 20 minutes)of three Japanese silent films — two 1928 jidai geki, Tempei Jidai-KaitoSamimaro (The Time of the Tempei Shamimaro) by Eichi Koishi and Kagaribi(Torches) by Tetsuroku Hoshi, as well as Daitokai Rodoshahen (TheLife of Workers in the Big City), a gendai geki by Kiyohiko Ushihara .... Thisanthology is structured as a historical panorama, from the early Tempei era viathe Tokugawa period up to the present.

Clearly, Miller’s yardstick ofthe authentic was heavily pre-digested and seems to accord with hisromanticized view. But Wayne would like to see it and, indeed, so would I.   Does anyone know of a viewing source outsidethe archives ? (I can’t see that anyone could claim copyright on it.)


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