Omori Gives Two Talks in Tokyo
Kyoko Omori, associate professor of Japanese, gave two talks at Tokyo University of Foreign Studies (TUFS) in Japan. The first lecture on Sept. 14 was titled “The Sound of Silents: Silent Cinema and Benshi” (given in Japanese), and was part of the school's yearlong public lecture series, “What Global Japan Studies Aims For – Its Many Faces and Possibilities.”
The second was a presentation at an international conference, “Sound Culture Studies and Modernity in Asia,” also held at TUFS. Omori's talk, “Recreating the Silent Film Experience: Benshi, Movie Theaters, and Audience in Early Twentieth-Century Japan” (presented in English) had three foci: The live oral performing arts of benshi, which developed in direct response to technological advancements of the early twentieth century and helped to form a new modern soundscape; the constellation of the mass-produced and mass-reproduced popular cultural items surrounding the transitory performance of benshi; the digital archive she has been developing to preserve historical ephemera and other materials related to benshi, as well as to recreate the VR experience of silent film theaters in Japan with a virtual reality model of a historical movie theater, Musashino-kan.