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

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.

Creating virtual reality environments

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

Curating and preserving ephemera

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

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.

Pedagogical applications

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


Kyoko Omori

Project Director

The $400 million campaign to provide students with a life-altering education.

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