Dawn of Japanese Animation at the Japan Society, New York, February 13-16, 2008

Four evenings of classic Japanese anime, “talking” silent live-action films,
and benshi performances.

The Japan Society is hosting this event as part of its 2007
centennial anniversary celebrations. Digital Meme is providing the
content for the screenings and performances.

The film program is divided thematically – Chambara Action
& Adventure (Feb 13), Horror & Comedy (Feb 14), Propaganda
(Feb 15), and Music & Dance (Feb 16) – and each evening will
showcase Japan's most sought after benshi, Ms. Midori Sawato.
She narrates, interprets, and breaths new life into these rare
silent films, most of which have never before been subtitled and
screened overseas. The 38 animated films in the program are
drawn from the Japanese Anime Classic Collection, released by
Digital Meme in 2007.

Dawn of Japanese Animation
Screening Program

13 February (Wed) at 7:00 p.m.
Featured films:
Twelve animations, including:
The Tiny One Makes It Big, The Bat,
Animal Sumo.
Fighting in Ashura Town
1938, Daito Eiga
Directed by: Takeshi Yashiro
Starring: Hideto Hayafusa, Kaido Ooka, Momoyo Okawa,
Eiichi Takamura, Mitsuo Matsumura

14 February (Thu) at 7:00 p.m.
Featured films:
Six animations, including:
Our Baseball Match, Sanko and the
Octopus: A Fight Over a Fortune, Dekobo
the Big Head's Road Trip, Hatanosuke
and the Haunted House.
Kid Commotion
1935, Shochiku Kamata Studio
Directed by: Torajiro Saito
Starring: Shigeru Ogura, Yaeko Izumo

15 February (Fri) at 7:00 p.m.
Featured films:
Eleven animations, including:
The National Anthem Kimigayo, Momotaro's
Sky Adventure, Private 2nd Class
Norakuro, The Animal Village in Trouble.
Mother of the Nation
1936, Godo Eiga
Directed by: Shiro Nakagawa
Starring: Namiko Kawashima, Yasuhisa Takeshita,
Kunimatsu Ogawa

16 February (Sat) at 5:00 p.m.
Featured films:
Nine animations, including:
The Black Cat, The Stolen Lump, Harvest
Festival, The Unlucky Butterfly.
Singing Lovebirds
1939, Nikkatsu
Directed by: Masahiro Makino
Starring: Chiezo Kataoka, Ryosuke Kagawa, Takashi Shimura

1925, Bantsuma Production
Directed by: Buntaro Futagawa
Starring: Tsumasaburo Bando, Misao Seki, Utako Tamaki
* Live benshi performance in English by Leon Ingulsrud,
a voice actor based in New York.

Venue: Japan Society, NY
Organized by: Japan Society
Supported by: Digital Meme and Matsuda Film Productions

Japan Society http://www.japansociety.org/
The Japan Society, which commemorated its centennial anniversary
in 2007, annually holds over 100 events for cultural exchange and acts
as a window to Japanese culture in the US.

Matsuda Film Productions http://www.matsudafilm.com/
Matsuda Film Productions, the only Japanese film company spe-
cializing in silent films, was established in 1952 by a famous benshi,
Shunsui Matsuda. It has a film library of approximately 1000 films (over
6000 film reels) and hosts regular screenings for the members of the
Friends of Silent Film Association in Japan. Matsuda Film Productions
is working on the ongoing project of digitizing its collection in col-
laboration with Digital Meme.

Digital Meme http://www.digital-meme.com
Since its establishment in 2000, Digital Meme has devoted itself to
the discovery, digitization, and subtitling of classic Japanese film.
The company aims to carry the cinema meme (gene) of Japanese
heritage into the 21st century. Digital Meme also develops original
DVD products from its film library and coordinates benshi perfor-
mances throughout Japan and overseas. The Talking Silents DVD
series, released by Digital Meme in Oct. 2007, uniquely recreates the
filmic, instrumental and benshi narration of the Japanese “Golden Era”
cinema experience.

Midori Sawato (Silent Film Narrator)
Midori Sawato has been called the greatest
living benshi, and she travels the world per-
forming at the most internationally renowned
cinema events and film festivals. In Japan, she
received the Award for Excellence in the field
of Dramatic Performance at the Agency for Cul-
tural Affairs Arts Festival for her contributions
toward promoting katsuben, the fading Japanese storytelling art. Her
vast performance repertoire includes over 500 silent films in a wide
variety of genres, for which she provides well-formed interpretations
of the work. She commemorated the 35th anniversary of her career
as a benshi in 2007.

Larry Greenberg (Digital Meme, CEO)
A native New Yorker, Larry has been building
new businesses and creating innovative services
in Japan since 1985. Larry has been bringing
classic Japanese film to the world since 1988,
when he translated and promoted Bantsuma:
The Life of Tsumasaburo Bando for Matsuda
Film Productions. He continued to promote
masterpieces of Japanese classic films such as Orochi and The Water
Magician to overseas audiences after he founded Urban Connections
in 1990. He also produced various products such as the bilingual
DVD-ROM database, Masterpieces of Japanese Silent Cinema. In 2000,
he founded Digital Meme and under this banner he produced the
DVD series Talking Silents and the Japanese Anime Classic Collection.

Retracing the origins of Japanese animation!
Japanese Anime Classic Collection
Box set collection of 4 DVDs
Price: 12,800 yen (tax free price)/ 13,440 yen (tax included)
Featuring 55 Japanese classic animations produced from 1920 to 1950 with accompanying benshi
narration (by Shuichi Makino, Shunsui Matsuda, and Midori Sawato) and with available English,
Chinese, Korean, and Japanese (for people with hearing disability) subtitles. Bonus truck features
Japanese kamishibai (picture card storytelling). This collection was released in April 2007.
“Simply stated, this is a must-have for anyone interested in
Japanese anime. A fantastic collection!” Tadao Sato (Film Critic)

Inquiries and offers:

Ms. Inoue, Digital Meme
Tel: 03-5467-4729 Fax: 03-5467-4722 E-mail: [email protected] Yushin Bldg. Shinkan 12F, 3-27-11 Shibuya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0002

Please visit our website for information about our classic film screenings and DVDs.

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