Evangelion after Fukushima (Part 2)

“Mega-Ray Tank”


This is Part 2 of the series. Part 1 is here.

As we learned about the true extent of Fukushima accident and nuclear fallout, our feeling toward the government, the energy industries and the media shifted from distress to distrust, then to disgust. Many people, from independent journalists to political activists, from artists to housewives, used the term “the Great HQ Announcement” to describe this failure of major media to deliver vital information and critical view of the Fukushima incident. Continue reading “Evangelion after Fukushima (Part 2)”

San Francisco, December 9, 1941

via Shorpy
This is the photograph of Cafe Ginza at Buchanan Street in San Francisco on December 9 1941. 
(The photograph is found at Shorpy, the ever-inspiring photograph archive site.)

It speaks volumes, many different stories … the Japanese American Community of the prewar era, the strange calmness of the morning after Japanese attack on U.S. soil, the photographer who took this photograph (John Collier), and the demise that would fall upon the proprietor of the Cafe and the doctor next door in coming years. But for now, we would visit Bukkyo-Kai Hall (Buddhist Temple Hall) and Kinmon Hall (Kinmon is the literal translation of “Golden Gate”) on the nights of 6 and 7 of December, to entertain ourselves with three movies. The prints were shipped all the way from Yokohama, Japan to San Francisco. The movie posters you could see in this photograph are
NIJI NI TATSU OKA (The Hill of Rainbow, 虹に立つ丘, 1938, Toshio Ootani)
O-OKA-SEIDAN, TORIMA (Phantom Killer, 大岡政談 通り魔,1940, directed by Kumahiko Nishina)
FUJIGAWA NO KETTOU (Blood Mist over Fuji River, 富士川の血煙,1939, directed by Shichinosuke Oshimoto)

Both films were shown in the Kinmon Hall on December 6 and 7.
It says so on the very top of the poster.
Two movies, O-OKA-SEIDAN and FUJIGAWA were produced by Shinko Kinema, the movie company specialized in quickies. Well, you may call it Monogram of prewar Japanese cinema, Republic Pictures of the Samurai Land. These two movies seem to be two of those quick, cheap, entertaining fares of weekly productions. These films are not listed in NFC-MOMAT archive database, I’m afraid.
The small flyer attached at the bottom says the film was shown
in Bukkyo-Kai Hall on December 6 and 7  
NIJI NI TATSU OKA was an early TOHO production, starring Hideko Takamine. The print of this film survived, but I haven’t seen the film.

I don’t know if Japanese American community at the time had their own movie theaters in the area. Was Kinmon Hall the theater dedicated to Japanese shows? The small flyer attached to the poster says O-OKA-SEIDAN was going to be screened at Bukkyo-Kai Hall. I imagine that the Japanese Buddhist Temple nearby had the Hall for various activities for Japanese Americans and Japanese movie screening must have been one of them.

The movies are always with us. They witness the critical moments of our time.

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Bluebird Photoplays Ad

One of the reader of this site, Beth, gave me this tip for the full-page ad for Bluebird Photoplays in Internet Archive
I like the use of minimum set of colors, abstract background and quiet, yet evocative typeface. As I discussed before, Bluebird Photoplays had a tremendous effect on early Japanese film-making.
The accompanying text on the next page is interesting as well. “.. BLUEBIRD Photoplays (Inc.) was the first producer to buck the star system – the ruinous practice that has been responsible for the high-priced but low-grade features that have wrecked many an Exhibitor.” If this is true (it seems to be), this lack of movie stars, focus on drama, might have appealed to the pioneers of Japanese cinema searching for their vision.
Thanks, Beth.