In the past, screenings of silent films in Japan were extremely lively events that featured various sounds. Katsudo benshi, or motion picture narrators delivered passionate and eloquent narrations. Live music accompanied their performance. The period drama films in particular featured a new performance format that combined music played on Western and Japanese instruments, a collaboration impossible in a normal concert. The music of trumpets and violins blended with the sounds of shamisen and Japanese drums. In the climax scene, when our hero, the righteous samurai Kurama Tengu, rushed in on his horse to fight the Shinsengumi, the audience erupted in applause. Between sets, children selling rice crackers and other delicacies crisscrossed the theater shouting “Senbei, caramels” at the top of their lungs. In the Kurama Tengu series, the plot revolved around the adventures of the brave samurai Kurama Tengu and his loyal friend, the boy Sugisaku, so crowds of enthusiastic children loudly applauded the feats of their heroes.
A word from the Benshi
Commentary by Tadao Sato
both with English subs
Subtitles:Japanese English Chinese Korean sub/idx