Donald Richie, American author, journalist, critic and expert on Japan, dies at 88.
Smilingly excluded here in Japan, politely stigmatised, I can from my angle attempt only objectivity, since my subjective self will not fit the space I am allotted . . . how fortunate I am to occupy this niche with its lateral view. In America I would be denied this place. I would live on the flat surface of a plain. In Japan, from where I am sitting, the light falls just right – I can see the peaks and valleys, the crags and crevasses.
-- from The Japan Journals, 1947-2004[more inside]
The benshi of Japan were live narrators of silent films. "To many 'silent' cinema fans in Japan, benshi were a major attraction. It was usually the film that drew people to the theater, but it was often the benshi which determined which theater a person would attend. Benshi were huge cultural stars of the time, with benshi earning as much, if not more, than many actors." [more inside]
Toshio Matsumoto's (J) first film (E), Ginrin (or "Silver Ring"), once believed lost has been found! Ginrin was an English Language, "relatively avant garde" PR film that had perhaps the first use of Musique Concrete in a Japanese film -- in this case, the first score by Toru Takemitsu. The film was discovered to be lost (as a result of the firm it was made for going under) in the 1980s when it was desired for a retrospective on the 1950's Japanese Avant-Garde at the Pompidou Center. [More Inside]