Motion Picture Benshi

Sawato Midori

Sawato Midori is originally from Tokyo. She graduated from the Department of Philosophy, Hosei University, and studied under the late Matsuda Shunsui. A benshi representing Japan, she has garnered high praise through her wide variety of performances in Japan and overseas, including France, the United States, etc. She has received a number of awards, includes the Award for Excellence in the field of Dramatic Performance at the Agency for Cultural Affairs Arts Festival, for her vast contributions toward promoting katsuben as modern entertainment, in addition to being a valuable presence carrying on the tradition of katsuben as a Japanese storytelling art. Her vast repertoire of over 500 films includes silent films in a wide variety of genres, for which she provides well-formed interpretations of the work. She is the author of Katsudo Benshi: Sekai o Kakeru (Film Benshi Across the World). (She debuted in 1973.)

  • 2010 Honored the Master of Sound by Japan Audio Society
  • 2002 Received the Award for Excellence in the field of Dramatic Performance at the Agency for Cultural Affairs Arts Festival
  • 2000 Received the 21st Special Award of Yamaji Fumiko Culture Institute
  • 1995 Received the Japan Film Critics Golden Glory Award
  • 1990 Received the Japan Film Pen Club Award

Chikemuri Takada no Baba
Izu no Odoriko
Mabuta no Haha
Flesh and Devil

Overseas Performances

  1. 1988 - Invited to the Avignon Art Festival in France and performs as benshi for several films of Bando Tsumasaburo.
  2. 1989 - Invited to the United States by New York Japan Society, American Museum of the Moving Image, etc. and performs katsuben in New York and three other cities.
  3. 1990 - Invited by the Japan Cultural Institute in Rome and Pordenone Silent Film Festival and performs in Italy.
  4. 1990 - Performs at the Antwerp International Film Festival in Belgium.
  5. 1991 - Performs at the Voice Festival in Holland sponsored by the Rotterdam Arts Society.
  6. 1992 - Performs in Los Angeles.
  7. 1994 - Performs at the Oberhausen Short Film Festival in Germany.
  8. February 1995 - Invited to and performs at the Picture Drama Festival in Evreux, France.
  9. September 1995 - Performs on Taki no Shiraito (The Water Magician) by Mizoguchi Kenji at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney, Australia.
  10. December 1995 - Performs in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
  11. October 2001 - Performs Orochi at the Silent Film Festival in Sacile, Italy.
  12. September 2002 - Invited to the Pacific Film Archive at the University of California, Berkley. Perform on Taki no Shiraito (The Water Magician), Chuji Tabinikki (The Diary of Chuji's Travels)
  13. October 2003 - Performs Umarete wa Mita Keredo (I Was Born, But...) at the 39th Annual Chicago International Film Festival.
  14. April 2004 - Performs Taki no Shiraito (The Water Magician) at the 6th Women's Film Festival in Seoul.
  15. April 2004 - Performs at four venues in Boston and Portsmouth including Boston University, Tufts University and Harvard Film Archive.
  16. July 2004 - Performs at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival.
  17. November 2004 - Performs with the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra in Hawaii.
  18. Fenruary 2008 - Performs at the New York Japan Society


Other Activities

Performs in Hayashi Kaizo's Yume miru yoni Nemuritai (I sleep as to dream) and Nijusseiki Shonen Dokuhon (Circus Boy).
Many works being shown with Sawato's katsuben on the NHK BS2 channel.
Made regular appearances as an interviewer on the "Movies I Grew Up With" corner of the NHK show "Seikatsu Hot Morning" until March 2005.

Sawato Midori website "Midori Sawato Website"


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