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Arranging for Benshi Performance


We take orders for silent film screenings with live benshi performances for all types and sizes of gatherings, from large halls to smaller rooms and private parties. Perhaps you would like to try sponsoring a benshi performance. We are sure that you will get a response above and beyond your expectations. For more information, E-mail us!

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About Benshi Performance Prices

Special Package Plan Silent Film Screening with Sakamoto Raiko as Benshi

Special Package Plan "Chushingura Taikai"

New Package Plan: Become a Silent Film Narrator, The Origin of Voice Actors! "Katsuben Workshop"

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    Top 16 Japanese Films
    [Production Year] / [Production Company] / [Director] / [Original Story] / [Script] / [Cinematography] / [Cast]

    Orochi (Serpent)
    [Production Year] 1925 / [Production Company] Bantsuma Production / [Director] Futagawa Buntaro / [Script] Susukita Rokuhei / [Cast] Bando Tsumasaburo, Mori Shizuko, Tamaki Utako / 80 min.
    This is the masterpiece of Bando Tsumasaburo's youth, and the climax is said to be the best duelling scene in Japanese film history. The main character is one low-ranking samurai who has been persecuted, and even called a villain because he tried to see justice carried out. The story illustrates how he eventually gets enraged.

    Taki no Shiraito (The Water Magician)
    [Production Year] 1933 / [Production Company] Irie Production / [Director] Mizoguchi Kenji / [Original Story] Izumi Kyoka / [Cast] Irie Takako, Okada Tokihiko, Sugai Ichiro, Urabe Kumeko / 98 min.
    Mizoguchi Kenji turned Izumi Kyoka's novel "Giketsu Kyoketsu" into this emotional film, which is the best of all Mizoguchi's silent films. The image of a woman devoting herself to a man she loves is sorrowfully and beautifully depicted. Shiraito, a master water magician, commits herself to paying for the tuition of Murakoshi Kinya whom she met by coincidence. Taki no Shiraito ranked No.2 in the Kinema Junpo Top Ten.

    Umaretewa Mitakeredo (I was born, but...)
    [Production Year] 1932 / [Production Company] Shochiku / [Director] Ozu Yasujiro / [Cast] Saito Tatsuo, Yoshikawa Mitsuko, Sugawara Hideo, Tokkan Kozo, Sakamoto Takeshi / 91 min.
    Director Ozu Yasujiro brilliantly portrays the reactions of children when they first encounter the stark realities of the world of adults. This is a classic film of the common man and is often labeled as the best ever Japanese film. A pair of brothers witness their father, who they had thought so wise and important, bowing to a superior at his company, Iwasaki, who also happens to be the father of their friend. They are disheartened and disillusioned. Umaretewa Mitakeredo ranked No.1 on the Kinema Junpo Top Ten.

    Banba no Chutaro Mabuta no Haha (Banba no Chutaro, In Search of Mother)
    [Production Year] 1931 / [Production Company] Chie Production / [Director] Inagaki Hiroshi / [Original Story] Hasegawa Shin / [Cast] Kataoka Chiezo, Yamada Isuzu, Tokiwa Misako / 72 min.
    This is the masterpiece of great director Inagaki Hiroshi's youth, and also the definitive example of the emotional period films that he excelled at. Yamada Isuzu in her teens appears as a pretty daughter. Chutaro leaves for Edo in search of the mother from whom he has been separated since infancy, with her image in his mind, just by relying on people's rumors. However, the mother he meets there is...

    Kurama Tengu
    [Production Year] 1928 / [Production Company] Arakan Production / [Director] Yamaguchi Teppei / [Original Story] Osaragi Jiro / [Cast] Arashi Kanjuro, Yamamoto Reizaburo, Gomi Kunie / 75 min.
    This is the first film Arashi Kanjuro made after he left Makino Productions. Kurama Tengu was such a successful character for Arashi that the character became synonymous with Arashi. Kurama Tengu, who runs around the country to bring down the shogunate for the emperor, was a hero for younger viewers. Kurama Tengu, lured with a false letter, fights a bloody battle against the patrols led by Sasaki Tadasaburo. Kurama Tengu is quite a delightful film.

    Izu no Odoriko (The Dancing Girl of Izu)
    [Production Year] 1933 / [Production Company] Shochiku / [Director] Gosho Heinosuke / [Original Story] Kawabata Yasunari / [Cast] Tanaka Kinuyo, Obinata Den, Kobayashi Tokuji, Takeuchi Ryoichi / 93 min.
    Director Gosho's challenging dramatization of Kawabata's story is a subtle and painful love story between Kaoru, a dancer, and Mizuhara, a student. Tanaka Kinuyo excellent performance in the pretty dancer's role made this film her representative work. Mizuhara, traveling around the Izu area, becomes acquainted with the members of an itinerant troupe. After spending days together, Mizuhara becomes attracted to Kaoru's pureness. Izu no Odoriko ranked No.8 on the Kinema Junpo Top Ten.

    Dekigokoro (Passing Fancy)
    [Production Year] 1933 / [Production Company] Shochiku / [Director] Ozu Yasujiro / [Cast] Sakamoto Takeshi, Obinata Den, Iida Choko, Fushimi Nobuko, Tokkan Kozo / 101 min.
    This is the definitive example of so-called "Kihachi films," comedies about the kindness of people in downtown Tokyo, which director Ozu excelled at. It is also a basis for the "Otoko wa Tsuraiyo" series. Kihachi, a widower, lives in a slum with his son Tomio, and next door to his friend Jiro. One day, Kihachi meets a young, mysterious girl named Harue. Dekigokoro was ranked No.1 on the Kinema Junpo Top Ten.

    Oatsurae Jirokichigoshi (Jirokichi The Ratkid)
    [Production Year] 1931 / [Production Company] Nikkatsu / [Director] Ito Daisuke / [Cinematography] Karasawa Hiromitsu / [Cast] Okochi Denjiro, Fushimi Naoe, Fushimi Nobuko, Takase Minoru / 65 min.
    This is one of the many great period films such as Chuji Tabinikki created by the wonderful trio of Ito Daisuke, Karasawa Hiromitsu, and Okochi Denjiro. Oatsurae Jirokichigoshi is also one of the valuable films that has been almost entirely preserved. A tender love between Nezumi Kozo, running away to Osaka, and two women is depicted heartily. Oatsurae Jirokichigoshi ranked No.2 on the Kinema Junpo Top Ten.

    Umon Torimonocho Rokuban Tegara Jinenji Kidan (Detective Umon's Diary, Story No. 6)
    [Production Year] 1930 / [Production Company] Toa Kinema / [Director] Nishina Kumahiko / [Script] Yamanaka Sadao / [Cast] Arashi Kanjuro, Hara Komako, Toyama Keinosuke, Onoe Monya / 70 min.
    Yamanaka Sadao, the genius auteur who passed away at the age of 29, wrote the script for Umon Torimonocho, this valuable work, which is also one of the early films of the "Umon series," featuring Umon, Arashi Kanjuro's most successful character next to Kurama Tengu. The speedy and thrilling plot development makes it the definitive example of the sword-fighting genre. Discovering the surviving Toyotomi retainers' plan to assassinate the Shogun, Umon on his white horse rushes to the Shogun.

    Jitsuroku Chushingura (Chushingura: The Truth)
    [Production Year] 1928 / [Production Company] Makino / [Director] Makino Shozo / [Cast] Ii Yoho, Moroguchi Tsuzuya, All star cast / 65 min.
    Makino Shozo, considered the father of Japanese film, made Jitsuroku Chushingura commemorating his fiftieth birthday. There is a story that most of the film was lost in a fire during the editing process. Tired of the repeated harassment of Kira, Takuminokami finally wounds Kira with his sword. Kuranosuke vows to get revenge for his lord after an unfair judgment.

    Ukikusa Monogatari (A Story of Floating Weeds)
    [Production Year] 1934 / [Production Company] Shochiku / [Director] Ozu Yasujiro / [Cast] Sakamoto Takeshi, Iida Choko, Yagumo Rieko, Tsubouchi Yoshiko, Mitsui Hideo / 87 min.
    This is an excellent film meaningfully depicting the lives of those living nobly in pursuit of familial love and everyday happiness, and one of the "Kihachi films." The town where Kihachi, who is wandering around earning money, arrives with his company has a story. Love and hatred between men and women, parents and children are intricately intertwined... Ukikusa Monogatari ranked No.1 on the Kinema Junpo Top Ten.

    Kutsukake Tokijiro
    [Production Year] 1929 / [Production Company] Nikkatsu / [Director] Tsuji Kichiro / [Original Story] Hasegawa Shin / [Cast] Okochi Denjiro, Sakai Yoneko, Katsuragi Koichi / 63 min.
    This was Okochi Denjiro's first film after his return to Nikkatsu. The original story was written by Hasegawa Shin. Also the moving theme song, "Kutsukake Kouta" was the first theme song of period film. Tokijiro must slay Mutsuda Sanzou to do his duty, but he can't leave Mutsuda's pregnant wife and child, and so he embarks on an aimless journey with them...

    Koina no Ginpei Yuki no Wataridori (Migratory Snow Bird)
    [Production Year] 1931 / [Production Company] Bantsuma Production /[Director] Miyata Tomikazu / [Original Story] Hasegawa Shin / [Cast] Bando Tsumasaburo, Mochizuki Reiko, Okada Kikuya, Kojima Saburo / 60 min.
    Bando Tsumasaburo made this movie soon after he established a studio at Yatsu Beach in Chiba Prefecture, when he was 30 years old and coming to the pinnacle of his career. This is the first of the many films that were made based on Hasegawa Shin's masterpiece about the wanderings of gamblers. Koina no Ginpei and Unokichi fight a duel over Oichi, but another man appears and the plot develops in an unexpected way.

    Mari no Yukue (The Missing Ball)
    [Production Year] 1930 / [Production Company] Sawata Eiga / [Director] Sawata Junsuke / [Original Story] Sato Koroku / [Cast] Yamaguchi Sadae, Sasaki Miyoko, Tsutsui Tokujiro / 51 min.
    The original story is by Sato Koroku, the author of many masterpieces of children's literature and is also famous as the father of the poet Sato Hachiro. Mari no Yukue was so well made as an educational film that it is often shown in elementary school classes and courses on human rights. Kazuko, the daughter of a poor horse driver, overcomes many hardships with warm friendships and the encouragement of her teacher, and lives her life with all her might.

    Kodakara Sodo (Kid Commotion)
    [Production Year] 1935 / [Production Company] Shochiku / [Director] Saito Torajiro / [Cast] Ogura Shigeru, Izumo Yaeko, Tani Reiko, Soga Mutsu, Nomura Akio / 34 min.
    This is a surviving example of the silent film era slapstick comedy that Saito Torajiro, called a god of slapstick comedy, excelled at, and an excellent work of biting satire. Kodakara Sodo depicts the struggle of an unemployed husband chasing a pig for whose recapture a reward is offered.

    Hatamoto Taikutsu Otoko (The Bannerman Taikutsu Otoko)
    [Production Year] 1930 / [Production Company] Uta Production / [Director] Furumi Takuji / [Original Story] Sasaki Mitsuzo / [Cast] Ichikawa Utaemon, Oe Michiko, Takei Ryuzo / 20 min.
    This film is the unforgettable first part of the "Hatamoto Taikutsu Otoko" series, the masterpiece of the wonderful major film star Ichikawa Utaemon. Oe Michiko, the first film star to be lured away from the Takarazuka Theater appears as a co-star. Saotome Mondonosuke breaks into the hideout of the kidnappers of a group of women. The hideout turns out to be a ninja house. What happens to him?

    Top 16 Western Films
    [Production Year] / [Director] / [Original Story] / [Script] / [Cinematography] / [Cast]

    The Kid
    [Production Year] 1921 / U.S.A. / [Director/Cast] Charles Chaplin / [Cast] Jackie Coogan, Edna Purviance / 57 min.
    The Kid was the first feature film that Charlie Chaplin ever made. The film is a masterpiece that contains Chaplin's "philosophy of tears and laughter," and is a popular subject for high school art appreciation classes. Charlie is bringing up an abandoned child and living a poor but happy life. However, things change after the child gets ill.

    [Production Year] 1916 / U.S.A. / [Director] D.W. Griffith / [Cast] Lillian Gish, Mae Marsh / 114 min.
    This film is acclaimed as a masterpiece of not only the silent era but also the world film history. Intolerance is divided into four stories, Babylonian, Jewish, Medieval French, and the Modern, on which the film is centered, which run concurrently and make the film a great epic in which Griffith states his protest against mankind's intolerance and the evil of self-righteousness that exist in every period of history.

    The Marriage Circle
    [Production Year] 1924 / U.S.A. / [Director] Ernst Lubitsch / [Cast] Adolphe Menjou, Marie Prevost / 85 min.
    This is a representative work of the genius director E. Lubitsch, the "god of films," who inspired the phrase "Lubitsch Touch," and a masterpiece of the sophisticated comedy that he excelled at. A middle-aged couple who want to divorce fight a battle of love, which eventually involves even their friends. The Marriage Circle ranked No.2 on the Kinema Junpo Top Ten.

    The Black Pirate - Color
    [Production Year] 1926 / U.S.A. / [Director] Albert Parker / [Cast] Douglas Fairbanks, Billie Dove / 85 min.
    The Black Pirate is noteworthy in film history as the world's first color feature film. It is splendid, dazzling entertainment, filled with "love and adventure," which critics lauded as an "exciting fairy tale for adults." This is an adventurous action film, set in the seventeenth century, telling the tale of a youth whose father is killed by a gang of pirates. The youth joins the gang disguised as a pirate in black and finally achieves revenge. The Black Pirate ranked No.7 on the Kinema Junpo Top Ten.

    The Gold Rush
    [Production Year] 1925 / U.S.A. / [Director/Cast] Charles Chaplin / [Cast] Georgia Hale, Mack Swain / 82 min.
    This is Chaplin's masterpiece of the silent film era, the story of Charlie trying to realize his dream of making a quick fortune, and of love, in an Alaska abuzz with gold rush excitement. The scene in which Charlie and his buddy eat boiled old work shoes is one of the best scenes in film history. The Gold Rush ranked No.1 on the Kinema Junpo Top Ten.

    Way Down East
    [Production Year] 1920 / U.S.A. / [Director] D.W. Griffith / [Cast] Lillian Gish, Richard Barthelmess / 105 min.
    This is L. Gish's masterpiece, a melodrama with a flavor of suspense, making full use of Griffith's "last minute's rescue" technique. The climax, the rescue on the ice, is one of the best scenes in the history of film. A girl with a past meets a pure youth, and finally attains a true love.

    [Production Year] 1926 / U.S.A. / [Director] William Beaudine / [Cast] Mary Pickford, Roy Stewart / 81 min.
    This is a masterpiece of Mary Pickford, who was called America's sweetheart. Sparrows is an excellent film depicting children's vitality that inspired and moved audiences. A group of orphans are gathered at a farm and are forced to work like slaves. One day, they attempt to run away. Alligators troll the bottomless swamp on the way...

    The Mark of Zorro
    [Production Year] 1920 / U.S.A. / [Director] Fred Niblo / [Cast] Douglas Fairbanks, Noah Beery / 89 min.
    This is a masterpiece of Douglas Fairbanks, Hollywood's first superstar, and an outstanding and thrilling action film. When California was still a Spanish colony, a savior appeared to the people, who were suffering under an evil governor and his army. The name of the savior, a handsome man wearing a black costume and a black mask, is "Zorro."

    Seven Chances
    [Production Year] 1925 / U.S.A. / [Director/Cast] Buster Keaton / [Cast] Ruth Dwyer, T. Roy Barnes / 56 min.
    The charm of Keaton is fully displayed in this excellent comedy, and the scene where he is attacked by rocks, which even used in TV commercial, is very thrilling. Jimmie will receive a large inheritance if he marries by the age of 27. When Jimmie reveals this to his girlfriend, he is dumped. He then places a newspaper advertisement to find a bride. Lots of women seeking to get wealthy through this marriage respond...

    [Production Year] 1927 / U.S.A. / [Director] F. W. Murnau / [Cast] George O'Brien, Janet Gaynor / 95 min.
    This film is considered to be the last masterpiece of American silent film, and is highly praised by critics as an outstanding work of art. Sunrise received Oscars for cinematography and actress (Gaynor) at the first Academy Awards. It depicts the struggle of a farmer who is seduced by a woman from the city and tries to kill his wife, but eventually realizes what real love is. Sunrise ranked No.1 on the Kinema Junpo Top Ten.

    City Lights
    [Production Year] 1931 / U.S.A. / [Director/Cast] Charles Chaplin / [Cast] Virginia Cherrill, Harry Myers / 84 min.
    This is a funny but at the same time sad love story about the relationship between Charlie, who is homeless, and a blind flower girl. The film, revealing social evils, is filled with pathos. The boxing scene is the best comedy scene of all Chaplin films, and people around the world applauded the moving last scene.

    The Son of the Sheik
    [Production Year] 1926 / U.S.A. / [Director] George Fitzmaurice / [Cast] Rudolph Valentino, Vilma Banky / 68 min.
    The Son of the Sheik is the posthumous work and the best work of Rudolph Valentino who was considered the most beautiful man of the twentieth century. This film is the sequel to "Sheik," and a vivid, romantic film from the last period of the silent era, set in the desert. Ahmed, the son of Sheik, falls in love with Yasmin, a dancer he meets by accident... The Son of the Sheik ranked No.8 on the Kinema Junpo Top Ten.

    Das Kabinett des Dr.Caligari
    [Production Year] 1919 / Germany / [Director] Robert Wiene / [Cast] Werner Krauss, Conrad Veidt, Friedrich Feher / 51 min.
    Dr. Caligari commits murders one after another using a sleeping man with hypnotic spells. Investigations at a mental hospital where a criminal seeks refuge reveal that the director is... The story draws to an unexpected conclusion. The film is regarded as the popular narrator Tokugawa Musei's specialty, a masterpiece of German expressionism and one of the best films in history.

    Steamboat Bill Jr.
    [Production Year] 1928 / U.S.A. / [Director] Charles F. Reisner / [Cast] Buster Keaton, Ernest Torrence / 69 min.
    This is Keaton's masterpiece of the close of the silent film era. Steamboat Bill Jr. makes great use of Keaton's devices, such as "the sudden crisis that the main character is unaware of but escapes, helped by the blessings of chance." Keaton, who has returned to Mississippi, makes a spectacular showing of controlling an old ship in a storm.

    Safety Last
    [Production Year] 1923 / U.S.A. / [Director] Sam Taylor, Fred C. Newmeyer / [Cast] Harold Lloyd / 67 min.
    This definitive example of slapstick comedy makes full use of Lloyd's comedy charm, making the audience laugh at the same time as making their pulse pound. Lloyd, a department store clerk, ends up climbing up to the twentieth floor by the windows in order to attract customers... The thrill of acrophobia is a breath-takingly good scene. Safety Last ranked No.3 on the Kinema Junpo Top Ten.

    The Phantom of the Opera - Part Color
    [Production Year] 1925 / U.S.A. / [Director] Rupert Julian / [Cast] Lon Chaney, Mary Philbin / 75 min.
    This is a masterpiece of the silent horror genre and the first of countless interpretations of Gaston Leroux's original story, which has been dramatized both on film and on the musical stage. In the late nineteenth century, the rumor circulates that there is a phantom in the Paris Opera. The phantom, hiding his ugly face with a mask, commits a horrible crime... The Phantom of the Opera ranked No.6 on the Kinema Junpo Top Ten.

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