Makino Production (マキノ・プロダクション)

Makino Production (established in June, 1925, reorganized in May 1931, the new company was liquidated in October) was a movie company once existed in Kyoto. It was established by Shozo MAKINO in the age of silent films. It produced a lot of great films by joining hands with Sanjugo NOKI, Teinosuke KINUGASA and Daisuke ITO (film director) as well as young actors of independent movie studios such as Tsumasaburo BANDO and Yotaro KATSUMI. It tackled the study on talkie films and released a pioneering talkie film during the last stage of the company, and such efforts led to Makino Talkie Seisaku-jo after the death of Makino.


Shozo MAKINO's Makino Eiga Seisaku-jo, which had 'Tojiin Studio,' was absorbed by Toa Kinema in July 1924, and Makino was appointed to the head of Toa Kinema's 'Koyo Studio' and 'Tojiin Studio.'
In January 1925, half a year later, 'Toa Kinema Tojiin Studio' was renamed 'Toa Makino Tojiin Studio' in order to settle the confrontation between the members of Toa group and those of former Makino group (people came from Makino). At that time, Mikito YAMANE, who was then 31 years old and a film director at 'Toa Kinema Koyo Studio,' became the deputy head. Yamane was the husband of Yuki, a daughter of film producer Toyojiro TAKAMATSU in Tokyo, and he was a film director of Takamatsu's 'Katsudo Shashin Kenkyukai' as well as the head of its Azuma Studio.
Makino cooperated with 'Rengo Eiga Geijutsuka Kyokai,' which was established in Nara by a novelist Sanjugo NAOKI, and produced its first film "Tsukigata Hanpeita" at 'Toa Makino Tojiin Studio.'

In March of the same year, 'Toa Makino Tojiin Studio' was burnt down by an accidental fire. The company suffered a big loss by the above accident.

Cooperation with independent movie studios

In June of the same year, Makino resigned from Toa Kinema. Then 46-year-old Makino established 'Makino Production' at Omuro Tenjugaoka in Kyoto. He constructed 'Makino Production Omuro Studio' and handed over 'Tojiin Studio' to Toa Kinema. Most of former Makino group employees of 'Toa Makino Tojiin Studio' joined the company. After Makino left, Masato OZASA, the manager of advertisement department of Yachiyo Insurance Company, the parent company of Toa, became the head of Tojiin Studio. Yamane, the deputy head of Tojiin Studio, also joined forces with Makino.
In concert with the above movement, Takamatsu established 'Takamatsu Azuma Production' in Tokyo, restarted Azuma Studio under the name of 'Makino Production Tokyo Studio,' and formed 'Makino Tokyo Group.'

Makino Production joined hands with 'Bando Tsumasaburo Production' (Bantsuma Pro), which was established by Tsumasaburo BANDO, who became independent around the same time, under the patronage of Ryosuke TACHIBANA. Makino presided over the production of "Orochi," which was the first film produced by Bantsuma Pro and the second film distributed by it, and "Ijin Musume to Bushi," the first film distributed by Bantsuma Pro, was produced at Azuma Studio (Makino Tokyo Group) and distributed by Makino Production.

In January 1926, four major movie companies boycotted independent movie studios in the same manner as they did against Makino Eiga Seisaku-jo three years before, but Makino endured such pressure. The company strengthened both kyugeki (historical films) sector and shingeki (contemporary films) sector, and it challenged to create novel films by producing historical films that eliminated 'tachimawari' (fight scene), which was then considered to be indispensable for historical films. In the same year, the company began to cooperate with "Katsumi Yotaro Production" that was established by Yotaro KATSUMI after he resigned from Shochiku Kamata Studio.

In January 1927, Makino started to produce a blockbuster movie, "Chukon Giretsu Jitsuroku Chushingura" (The treasury of Loyal Retainers). In May of the same year, the company established "Makino Production Chubu Studio" (currently, Dotokushin-machi, Minami Ward (Nagoya City), Nagoya City), and Makino's oldest son Masahiro MAKINO, who was a film director and was only 18 years old, became the head of studio. Makino constructed a set of "Matsu no Roka" (literally, a corridor of pine trees) for "Chukon Giretsu Jitsuroku Chushingura" in this studio and began filming.

In March 1928, film of "Chukon Giretsu Jitsuroku Chushingura" took fire in the process of cutting and Makino's residence as well as a lot of negatives were burnt down. Although Makino was in the depth of despair, he started the study on talkie films as early as in November of the same year, only one year after the world's first talkie film "Jazz Singer" was produced in Hollywood and released across the U.S. "Modoribashi" (directed by Masahiro MAKINO), a pioneering domestic disk-method talkie film, was released on July 5, 1929.
On July 25 of the same year, only two weeks after the release, Shozo MAKINO died at the age of 50, and a big company-sponsored funeral was held at 'Omuro Studio.'

After the death of Shozo MAKINO

New regime of 'Makino Production' was publicized in September of the same year, 50 days after the death of Makino.

Ozasa, who had resigned from Toa Kinema in March of the year, became the head of studio, then 21-year-old Masahiro MAKINO became the manager of filming department and then 19-year-old Mitsuo MAKINO became the manager of general affairs department respectively.

Around the end of the year, a couple of actor Douglas FAIRBANKS and Mary PICKFORD, who established United Artists Entertainment LLC in 1919, the same year in which Shozo MAKINO established 'Mikado Shokai,' visited the company's 'Omuro Studio.'

Strike and the end

Employees went on strike in December 1930, protesting unpaid wages. The oldest son Masahiro MAKINO sided with employees and led the negotiations with Makino family (his mother and representative director of the company, Chiyoko MAKINO, and his younger brother Mitsuo MAKINO) as the leader of strikers. Although there was an incident in which the leader of strikers was slapped by the representative director, the dispute was settled thanks to the mediation by Konosuke SAKAMA of Makino Kanto.

In January 1931, the company assigned the right of production/distribution to the employees side and restarted the production. The company produced and distributed six films in January, two films in February including a compilation of old films "Makino Daikoshin" and ten films in March respectively, but the labor disputes became serious due to the recurrence of unpaid wages. Under such circumstances, the company produced only four films in April. "Kyo Kouta Yanagi Sakura," a film which was directed by Bansho KANAMORI and was released on April 24 of the year, was the last film produced by the company.

Although the company established 'Shin Makino Eiga Kabushiki Gaisha' in May of the year, production at Omuro Studio was not resumed and actors resigned from the company successively. In August of the year, a couple of Tomoko MAKINO and Kunitaro SAWAMURA and director Eisuke TAKIZAWA (Ken TAKIZAWA) etc. resigned from the company and joined Tokatsu Eiga-sha Flim Company. Shin Makino Eiga Kabushiki Gaisha"was liquidated in October of the year, and Masatsugu TAKAMURA established "'aishu Bungei Eiga-sha' in cooperation with Sanjugo NAOKI. Omuro Studio was burnt down in 1932, the following year.

Then 23-year-old Masahiro MAKINO was put into the position to bear the management of Makino Production as well as a huge debts of '370,000 yen' which he inherited from Shozo MAKINO.

[Original Japanese]