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The Benshi: Silent Film Narrators in Japan archive seeks to recreate 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. In an effort to display variations among benshi performances in different historical contexts, I use audio from the following three sources: prewar phonograph records (studio-recorded, with highlights only); post-WWII audio recordings of the performances by veteran benshi (either in theater or in recording studio); and contemporary audio recordings of benshi (either in theater and studio).

View some preliminary examples from The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari:

Cesare sneaks into Jane's bedroom

The director is forced to become Caligari

Francis attacks the director

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Kyoko Omori

Project Director

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