Japan: Promotional and Theatrical Footage ca. 1927
Title supplied by Archives staff (unpublished work) - archival collection
Research on this footage indicates that segments 1, 2, 3, 6, 9, and 13 are probably from the same professionally made film. The women in these segments are either actually are or are dressed and "made up" to look like geishas or some other professional women. Although we will probably never know why this film was created we believe that Theodore Richards, owner of this film, who worked for the Hawaiian Board of Missions as well as the Kamehameha School for Boys, may have used it in his efforts to make Hawaii a multi-cultural or interracial "Christian" society.
Cataloging supported by Smithsonian Institution Women's Committee
Donated by Robert Midkiff in 1993.
Footage of 13 separate segments compiled for unknown reasons of Japanese film. Segment 1: Scenes of Miyajima Island (also known as Itsukushishima Island) off the coast of Hiroshima (deer, shrine gate of Itsukushima Shrine, rice paddles, carved stone marker, foliage, men and women walking and having tea). Segment 2: Three young women (or girls) taking a boat ride in the Htsugawa river. Two of the young women wear elaborate kimonos and have elaborate hairdos. The other young woman is dressed in a more casual kimono and less elaborate hairstyle. An intertitle in Japanese reads "Ko'ayu Waterfall." Segment 3: Five women in short cotton robes descend stairs from building to a mudbank for mudbaths (a man covers one of the women in mud and prepares a space for another and they eat slices of melon, leave their mud bath to enter the water and then to exit). Segment 5: Men work a water wheel with their feet under an umbrella in a rice field. There are phone and/or electric lines in the background. Segment 6: A young girl blows up a paper ball/baloon and tosses the ball in the air. Segment 7: Bon-odori or Bon dance is being performed by men and women.(The dance is usually performed in the summer for the Bon festival which is a time to remember one's ancestors.) Segment 8: From the headdress and kimono worn by the central woman this could be a wedding procession to a shrine for the ceremony. Attendants could be family members wearing dark kimonos that would be appropriate for a wedding. Segment 9: Two young women, one wearing an elaborate kimono with a butterfly on the back panel. One woman uses a "comb" to work on the hair of the other. Segment 10: A sequence from Futagawa Buntaro's 1928 chambara style theatrical samurai film, "Poisonous Snake". Film depicts a clash of men with swords and sticks in what is believed to be the Tokugawa period (1600-1869). Interestingly although guns were not used in Japan during the Tokugawa period, a rifle is fired in this sequence. The clash also involves a Japanese woman. Segment 11: A man is lying on his back and juggling a young boy on his feet. Segment 12: A parade of men in historical costumes of samurai in formal clothing and then in armor followed by what appears to be courtiers of the Heian period. Segment 13: Three young women (possibly girls) dressed in elaborate kimonos with elaborate hairdos. A single woman is shown who then has her elaborate hairdo dismantled and re-done by a professional hairdresser and assistant. Hairdresser is show wrapping up her tools in a cloth furoshiki. Segment ends with a very brief shot of a woman in kimono dancing with a fan.
Repository Loc.: Human Studies Film Archives, Smithsonian Museum Support Center, Suitland, MD
Local number: HSFA 1993.25.2
Date: ca 1927
Physical description: one video cassette (17 minutes) silent b&w DVD reference
Physical description: one video cassette (17 minutes) silent b&w 3/4 inch master
Physical description: one film reel 440 ft (17 min) silent b&w 16mm archival original
Restrictions & Rights: Information on reproduction and fees available from Human Studies Film Archives OK:0