Ichikawa Kobunji Kabuki Eiga Productions (市川小文治歌舞伎映画プロダクション)

Ichikawa Kobunji Kabuki Eiga Productions (established in June 1928 and dissolved in August) was a film company in Kyoto. The company was established by Kobunji ICHIKAWA, an ex-kabuki actor who belonged to Makino Productions, and it shot one silent film in the rentable Narabigaoka Studio. It was also known as Kabuki Eiga Productions. A shortened version of its name was "Kabuki Eiga Pro."

Brief History and Summary

Kobunji ICHIKAWA joined Toa Kinema Tojiin Studio at the end of 1924, making his debut in a film in 1925 and although he stayed with Toa when Shozo MAKINO established Makino Productions in June of 1925, he joined Makino in August of 1926 and then established 'Ichikawa Kobunji Kabuki Eiga Productions' (Kabuki Eiga Pro) in June of 1928 after leaving Makino.

As prelude to this establishment, in April of 1928 Tokujiro YAMAZAKI of Sankyo, which had been distributing Makino films in the Shikoku area, conspired with the top executive of Bando Tsumasaburo Productions named Ryosuke TACHIBANA to ask 150 independent theater owners throughout Japan, including Kikumatsu OSHIMA of Kikusui Kinema in Kobe, to cooperate in establishing 'Nihon Katsudo Josetsukan Kanshu Renmei Eiga Haikyu Honsha' (Distribution Company Headquarters for Movie Theater Owners in Japan) (also known as "Kanshu Renmei" [the Theater Owner's Association]) in Osaka and declaring policies of directly releasing films as well as funding for production costs of independent productions. Chiezo KATAOKA, having had trouble with Makino over renewal of his contract, left Makino in April and established 'Kataoka Chiezo Productions' (Chie Pro) in May, while Makino's chief stagehand Hiroshi KAWAI and cameraman Juzo TANAKA were inspired by YAMAZAKI, left Makino and established the rental studio called 'Japan Cinema Studio' (Narabigaoka Studio) in Narabigaoka, Kyoto.

Concurrently with KATAOKA, Kanjuro ARASHI, Ryutaro NAKANE, Toshio YAMAGUCHI (an actor belonging to Shinpa-Geki) and Reizaburo YAMAMOTO establishing their own productions, the 'Japan Movie Production Federation' was formed with Kobunji's 'Kabuki Eiga Pro' and started to supply YAMAZAKI's 'Kanshu Renmei with films that were shot using the rentable Narabigaoka Studio operated by KAWAI and TANAKA. Kobunji appeared in the first film during this movement called "Tenka Taiheiki" (Peace on Earth) produced by Chie Pro and released in theaters such as the 'Kikusuikan' in Kobe on June 15, 1928. Following Chie Pro's film, 'Kabuki Eiga Pro' produced the film "Nozaki-mura Village" starring Kobunji. The film was directed by Shinro TOMIZAWA who had been recruited away from Makino, shot by TANAKA of Narabigaoka Studio, and released in theaters such as the 'Kikusuikan' on July 1, 1928 as a dual feature with "Sukedachi Shobai" (Business of Backing up Somebody) directed by and starring NAKANE and produced by 'Nakane Ryutaro Comedy Productions' (Nakane Pro).

Kabuki Eiga Pro,' in cooperation with Nakane Pro and YAMAGUCHI's 'Yamaguchi Toshio Productions,' Kobunji acted in the first films that were produced by these two production companies and Yoshinosuke ICHIKAWA (later known as Kiyoshi SAWADA), who had come from Ayameike Studio of Ichikawa Utakemon Productions (Uta Pro) in Nara and joined 'Kabuki Eiga Pro,' also acted in "Aizo Ketsurui" (Love and Hate, Blood and Tears) produced by Chie Pro, but YAMAZAKI's 'Kanshu Renmei' fell apart early at the end of July in 1928. As a result, 'Kabuki Eiga Pro' was dissolved without producing a second film along with other production companies that had been established at the same time. Chie Pro and Arashi Kanjuro Productions (Kan Pro) survived, but Kan Pro liquidated for the first of two times in 1928 (this is why it was called The First Arashi Kanjuro Production) and only Chie Pro went on to build its own studio in Sagano.

After the dissolution, Kobunji acted in films produced by Chie Pro and Kan Pro and then joined Nikkatsu Studio with Yoshinosuke in 1928, while the director TOMIZAWA moved to Teikoku Kinema Engei Kabushiki Gaisha (Imperial Cinema Entertainment Co. Ltd.).

[Original Japanese]