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The Missions of the Benshi Archive


The archive has five interrelated missions, each with its own distinctive technical challenges, requirements, and solutions.

Madeleine. Fall of the House of Usher (1928).

Synchronizing audio with silent films

The archive recreates the dynamic, multisensory experience of enjoying benshi performance through the synchronization of digitized benshi audio files (with intermittent music accompaniment) and moving images from silent films.

Musashinokan Theater VR Demo

Creating virtual reality environments

The archive models the theatrical performance aspects of silent movies through virtual reality reconstructions of extinct silent movie theaters.

Sakkaku Magazine 1.4

Curating and preserving ephemera

The archive preserves and charts the constellation of ephemera surrounding benshi performers.

Kyoko Omori with Orochi Ensemble-UCLA April 2017

Reimagining benshi performance for the 21st century

The archive promotes opportunities for contemporary artists to draw on the traditions of benshi through public performances and workshops.

Benshi Interview with Hamilton Students

Pedagogical applications

The archive documents the pedagogical possibilities of benshi in today’s classroom.

Contact Information


Kyoko Omori

Project Director

Contact Information


Digital Humanities Initiative (DHi)

Hamilton College
Clinton, NY 13323
315-859-4125 315-859-4185 dhi@hamilton.edu
Benshi: Silent Film Narrators in Japan
Hamilton College

Benshi: Silent Film Narrators in Japan


A growing digital archive that features a curated collection of historical materials relating to benshi performance and fan culture

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