BENSHI

BENSHI
   Commercial cinema came to Japan in the 1900s, and early on theaters employed professional narrators called benshi (silent film narrators), stationed on the side of the audience, to describe the action and imitate the dialogue taking place on the silent screen. Narrative mediation or performance, a commonplace in traditional Japanese theater and puppet plays, served to enhance the experience and often provided Japanese filmmakers with more latitude in edits and scene transitions. The benshi were often professional storytellers (see KODAN; RAKUGO) who by the 1910s found yose variety theaters, their standard source of income, in decline. Because professional storytelling involved a great deal of improvisation, they made an easy transition to the role of benshi. Before a film screening, they would often give background information on the film, and during the show they would even give their own opinions or break into chanted poetry during scenes with no dialogue, coordinating their roles with the live orchestra, if the theater employed one. Benshi were so popular (theaters employed over 6,000 benshi during the late 1920s) that the silent film era lasted nearly a decade longer in Japan than in other countries. Although benshi have been extinct from mainstream entertainment for decades, there are still several actively practicing benshi today, as well as a movement to revive their art in an effort to find new frontiers in film.
   See also BUNGEI EIGA.

Historical dictionary of modern Japanese literature and theater. . 2009.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Benshi — (弁士 in Japanese), or Katsudō Benshi (活動弁士) were Japanese performers who provided live narration for silent films (not only Japanese films, but also Western films).Role of the benshiDuring silent films, the benshi stood to the side of the movie… …   Wikipedia

  • Benshi (73-70 Av. J.-C) — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Benshi (homonymie). Benshi 73 av. J. C. 70 av. J. C …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Benshi (73-70 av. j.-c) — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Benshi (homonymie). Benshi 73 av. J. C. 70 av. J. C …   Wikipédia en Français

  • benshi — benshi, shie variant of banshee …   Useful english dictionary

  • Benshi — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Benshi (homonymie). Les benshi (弁士 ou katsudo benshi 活動弁士) commentaient les films, lisaient les intertitres (pour un public largement analphabète) et énonçaient les dialogues des acteurs durant la diffusion à l… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Benshi (73-70 av. J.-C) — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Benshi (homonymie). Benshi 73 av. J. C. 70 av. J. C. Dynastie Han occidentaux Empereur Xuandi, Liu Xun …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Benshi — Die Benshi (jap. 弁士) waren in den frühen Jahren des japanischen Kinos Sprecher, die neben der Leinwand standen und den Charakteren auf jener ihre Stimme verliehen. Die Erzählungen und Erklärungen der Benshi galten als sehr wichtige… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Benshi (Homonymie) — Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom. Benshi peut désigner : Benshi, interprètes japonais de l époque du cinéma muet ; Benshi (73 70 av. J. C), seconde ère de l empereur Xuandi des… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Benshi (homonymie) — Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom. Benshi peut désigner : Benshi, interprètes japonais de l époque du cinéma muet ; Benshi (73 70 av. J. C), seconde ère de l empereur Xuandi des… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Neo-Benshi — is the practice of producing live alternate voice overs for movies. The art form’s acknowledged starting point is in Korea, Japan, Taiwan and other East Asian nations during the silent film era. Benshi is a Japanese word referring to the oral… …   Wikipedia

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