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1954-55 Theatre Catalog, 12th Edition, Page 54 (20)

1954-55 Theatre Catalog, 12th Edition
1954-55 Theatre Catalog
1954-55 Theatre Catalog, 12th Edition, Page 54
Page 54

1954-55 Theatre Catalog, 12th Edition, Page 54

Theatre Construction in Japan

A Complete Survey of the Motion Picture Theatre Construction Activities and General Industry Conditions in Post-War Japan

BRIEF: The story of the rebuilding of the Japanese motion picture industry . . . which had been almost completely wiped out during World War II . . . offers a revealing study of the progress that has been made in that country during its post-war period.

This article . . which was written by one o/ the leading theatre architects in Japan . . . indicates the great appeal that films have for the average Japanese . There are valuable discussions of early post-war conditions in the theatres . . . the impact of television . . . film production facts and figures . . . the role of the new projection and sound techniques

. as well as details about the many new . . . and exciting theatres that have been constructed in the past two years.

As will be readily seen by the illustrations that accompany this article . . . the new theatres that have been erected in Japanis leading cities . . . are the last word in modern design . . . and combine the qualities of western thinking with that of the oriental to produce structures of imlividual and unusual beauty.

There is much here that will be of interest and value to all who are in the motion picture industry.

At the present time it is safe to say that motion pictures are, by far, the most popular mass entertainment form in Japan. An indication of the popularity of motion-pictures in this country can be gotnteii'lbyvpaying a visit to uAsakusa," ar'lpark'located in the low-lying section

By MICHIRO TOMONO Chief Architect, Takenaka Komuten Co., Ltd.

of metropolitan Tokyo. In the park compound there is a place called the Rokku District, and it is lined on both sides of the street by approximately 20 theatres.

Theatre activity there begins as early as eight in the morning with the maintenance crews cleaning the interiors and washing the fronts in preparation for the days business. The doors are opened at 10 olclock and continuous performances are presented until 10 in the evening. There is a very good chance that you could enter any of the theatres in the Rokku District, at any time of the day, and find them filled to capacity.

Statistics bear out the fact that going to the movies is the number one recreational activity in Japan. The following figures were obtained from the 1953 census, and compares motion pictures with other forms of entertainment:

Motion Pictures . . . . . . . . . . .. 68.6%

Music . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. 34.1%

Baseball . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. 22.0%

ttKabukiii . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. 17.3%

Variety Shows . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13.2% Attendance

During the year of 1953 the average Japanese saw a total of nine movie

THE ROKKU District, in Tokyo, is the site of some 20 theatres. Opening in the morning these theatres are filled to capacity the enitre day.

shows, and it has been estimated that the income from theatre performances

was approximately 125 million dollars. This figure is said to be the highest since the termination of the war, and it is about 20 per cent higher than the gross of the previous year. Of course, when this is compared with motion picture theatre attendance in the United States, which averages 22 shows per person a year, the Japanese figure is not too impressive. However, when it is realized that the average annual income in Japan is only $160, and at least 45 per cent of this must be spent on food and shelter, it can be seen that the Japanese theatre attendance is actually quite high.

Most theatre people in Japan believe that if admissions could be lowered, there would be a decided rise in attendance. A look at the high rate of amusement taxes will quickly reveal the problem which faces Japanese exhibitors. From the year 1946, when the theatre business was revived, through to March 1950, the movie patron had to pay an amusement tax of 150 per cent. After a great deal of public and industry effort the tax was lowered to 100 per cent, and in January of 1953 the amusement tax was again lowered to 50 per cent. Today, in the first-run theatres in Tokyo, the general admission is about 50 cents, while in the second-run houses the admission price is about 30 cents.



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1954-55 Theatre Catalog, 12th Edition, Page 54