Osaka/Tokyo/Kyoto/Kobe: 大阪府道頓堀 松竹座 Osaka Dotonbori Shochikuza/ Kyoto Shochikuza/ Kobe Shochikuza/ Tokyo Shochikuza/ Osaka Donburi Bentenza, 1925-1931. First edition. Softcover. Octavos. 4-10 pages each. Illustrated wrappers. This is a collection of 23 weekly Japanese cinema programs 21 of which are "Shochikuza News" newsletter from the a variety of locations of the Shochikuza theater chain, and 2 are "Bentenza Weekly" from the Bentenza theater in Osaka (which was owned by Shochikuza by that time). The Osaka Shochikuza theater was among the first western-style movie theaters to screen foreign films in the Kansai region of Japan. The pamphlets were published from 1925-1931, and are illustrated with b/w photographic reproductions throughout.
The issues, which range an average of 4-10 pages each, highlight upcoming foreign films (including USA, Germany, France and the Soviet Union) to be screened at the theater, with many mentioning some Japanese films and stage performances as well. The pamphlets include advertisements, most prominently from Osaka-based Club Cosmetics Company (クラブコスメチックス), who seem to have financially supported or sponsored the publication as all issues include their advertisements on the back covers and interior front wrappers, and most include an imprint statement mentioning the company at the bottom right of front cover.
The cover are lithographically illustrated in color, and feature bold, expressive and interesting avant-garde modernist artwork from a number of Japanese artists and designers, including 4 attributed to 山田伸吉 Shinkichi Yamada (1903-1981). The often abstract images display a combination of influences from many concurrent European art movements of the time such as surrealism, expressionism, futurism and art deco. The group of artist who worked on these cover was at the vanguard of Japanese modern and was clearly influenced but the MAVO art movement.
Text in Japanese.
The content of the collection is as follows: 23 Issues discussing the following films among others:
Shochikuza News, Original Osaka Dotonburi Location:
1. 9/3 - 9/10, 1925. Films: The White Sheep (Hal Roach, 1924), "Krimhild's Revenge" (Die Nibelungen) (Fritz Lang, 1924)
2. 1/14 - 1/20, 1926. Films: The Freshman (Harold Lloyd, 1925), The Last Laugh (Dir. F.W. Murnau,1925)
3. 8/1 - 8/7, 1926. Films: The Sea Beast (based on Moby Dick, star. John Barrymore, 1926), (two shorts starring Lige Conley, 1925)
4. 9/2 - 9/8, 1926 Films: Sparrows (star. Mary Pickford, 1926)
5. 2/29 - 5/5, 1927 Films: Resurrection (star Dolores Del Rio, 1927)
6. 11/3 - 11/9, 1927. Films: "The Way of all Flesh" (star. Emil Jannings, dir. Victor Flemming, 1927)
7. 2/24 - 2/29, 1928. Films: Listen Lester (star, Harry Myers, 1924), The Stolen Bride (dir. Alexander Korda, 1927)
8. 6/14 - 6/20, 1928. Films: Feel My Pulse (dir. Gregory La Cava, star. Bebe Daniels, 1928)
9. 7/26-31, 1928. Films: Seven Sinners (dir. Lewis Milesone, star. Marie Prevost, 1925), The Man Who Cheated Life (aka "The Student of Prague", star. Conrad Viet, 1926), The Gorilla Hunt (Documentary, 1926), The Big Parade (dir. King Vidor, 1925)
10. 9/6 - 12, 1928. Cover Missing, Films: Sunrise (F.W. Murnau, 1927)
11. 9/27 - 10/3, 1928. Films : Ben Hur (star, Ramon Navarro, 1925)
12. 11/1 -11/7, 1928. Films: A Girl in Every Port (dir. Howard Hawks, star. Victor Mclaglen and Louise Brooks, 1928), Four Sons (dir. John Ford, 1928)
13. 11/8 - 11/14, 1928. Films; The Wedding March (dir. Erich von Stroheim, star. Fay Wray, 1928)
14. 12/31/29 - 1/6/1930. Films: Spite Marriage (Buster Keaton, 1929), The Secrets of the Orient (1928)
15. 1/7 - 1/14, 1930. Films: The Secrets of the Orient (1928), Welcome Danger (Harold Lloyd, 1929)
16. 3/12 - 3/18, 1931. Films: Way Out West (stars William Haines, Leila Hyams, 1930)
17. No Date?. Films: Greed (Erich von Stroheim, 1924)
Shochikuza News, Kyoto Location:
18. No date?. Films: Tenderloin (Dir, Michael Curtiz. 1928)
Shochikuza News, Kobe Location:
19. 11/8- 11/14, 1929. Films: Show people (dir. King Vidor, 1928), Christina (star. Janet Graynor, 1929)
Shochikuza News, Tokyo Location:
20. 4/24 - 4/30, 1930. Films: The Leatherneck (star. William Boyd, 1929), Nuits de Princes (dir. Marcel L'Herbier, 1930)
21. 10/31- 11/6, 1930. Films: Love Live Laugh (star. George Jessel, 1929), Storm Over Asia (dir. Vsevolod Pudovkin, 1928), They Had to See Paris (dir. Frank Borzage, star. Will Rogers, 1929)
Bentenza Weekly, Osaka:
22. 12/31/29 - 11/6/1930. Films: His Lucky Day (dir. Edward F. Cline, 1929), The Blue Danube ( dir. Paul Sloane, 1928)
23. 9/26 - 10/2, 1930. Films: Circus Rookies (Edward Sedgwick dir, 1928), Bulldog Drummond (star. Ronald Coleman, 1929)
* Also included is an small illustrated insert for a screening of "Robin Hood" (1922) starring Douglas Fairbanks
Wrappers with some light staining, smudges, sunning, rubbing and/or minor chipping. Images over clean and bright. The September 6th issue of the Osaka publication is missing the wrappers, and a few other issue with wrappers loose but present. A few interiors with light sporadic water stains and/or minor markings in pencil. Wrappers in good- to near fine, interiors in very good- to near fine condition overall. Item #43831
The Shochikuza Theater first opened in the Dotonbori neighborhood of Osaka, Japan in 1923. Modeled after the La Scala opera house in Milan, the theater was Japan's first steel and concrete cinema and was designed by Yamaburo Kimura. It presently a weekly rotation of international film imports, and quickly became a local symbol of modernism. The success of the theater was such that they soon thereafter expanded to additional locations in Kyoto (1924), Kobe (1927), Asakusa (1928) and Tokyo (1929).
The Bentenza Theater (弁天座) in Dotonbori, Osaka, was one of five famous and popular theaters for traditional Japanese stage performances since the Edo period. The theater was subsequently bought and managed as a cinema by Shochikuza.