Arashi Kanjuro Productions (嵐寛寿郎プロダクション)
Arashi Kanjuro Productions (established April 1928, disbanded in February 1929, established again in August 1931 and then disbanded in 1937) was a film company located in Kyoto. Established by the actor named Kanjuro ARASHI, who resigned from Makino Productions along with Chiezo KATAOKA in April of 1928, it had a 'First Period' where it produced five silent films shot at the rentable Narabigaoka Studio, and a 'Second Period' when it moved to Uzumasa after regaining the studio in the same location in 1931. It produced over seventy works and was known for debuting Sadao YAMANAKA as a film director. It was commonly referred to as "Kan Pro."
The First Period
After entering Makino Productions in March of 1927, Kanjuro ARASHI changed his name from Wakadayu ARASHI to 'Chozaburo ARASHI,' given to him by Shozo MAKINO, and made a flamboyant film debut with the life-long role of 'Kurama Tengu' (a humanoid monster with a long nose and crow wings that lived on Mt. Kurama) in "Kuramatengu-ibun Kakubeejishi." He appeared in twenty eight (twenty five) films, but resigned from Makino in April of 1928, changed his name to 'Kanjuro ARASHI,' and established 'Arashi Kanjuro Productions' (Kan Pro).
Other actors working at Makino Productions, such as Chiezo KATAOKA, Toshio YAMAGUCHI (a new school actor), Ryutaro NAKANE and Kobunji ICHIKAWA also resigned from Makino to establish their own productions and formed the 'Japan Film Production Association.'
The association consisted of five separately established companies including Kan Pro and used the rentable 'Japan Cinema Studio' in Narabigaoka, Kyoto owned by Hiroshi KAWAI and Juzo TANAKA to start producing films. Tokujiro YAMAZAKI made an appeal to eliminate the exploitation of productions and performances by establishing 'Nihon Katsudo Josetsukan Kanshu Renmei Eiga Haikyu Honsha' (Distribution Company Headquarters for Movie Theater Owners in Japan) (also known as "Kanshu Renmei" [the Theater Owner's Association]) and began supporting the five production companies' production fees and promotions.
The first work produced by Kan Pro was "Kurama Tengu," released in 'Kikusuikan Theater' in Kobe, which was the main hall of the Theater Owner's Association, on July 2 of the same year. However, the association collapsed at the end of July and three out of the five production companies were forced to disband. Chiezo Productions and 'Kan Pro' continued with their productions, but Kan Pro disbanded after its fifth work called "Kishin no Chikemuri" and Kanjuro ARASHI was invited to Toa Kinema Kyoto Studio (Tojiin Studio) in February of 1929 as an actor with administrative authority similar to one in a star production.
Works with Arashi playing a central role were once again being released with the name 'Arashi Kanjuro Productions' provided by Toa Kinema in May of 1931. After the first work called "Miyako Ichiban Furyu Otoko" (The Most Refined Man in the Capital) as well as four other works with the same name were released, Arashi resigned from Toa with the department head of Toa Kinema Kyoto Studio named Masatsugu TAKAMURA in August of 1931. Arashi then established the second period of 'Kan Pro' and in September of 1931 announced a production made in a partnership with Shinko Kinema which had regrouped from Teikoku Kinema (Imperial Cinema Entertainment Co. Ltd.). Arashi led fifty members, including actors and staff, and established Narabigaoka Studio as a base.
Kan Pro' produced many works during its second period providing income for Shinko Kinema.
The film studio was expanded in 1933, then in April of 1935 a new studio was built in Uzumasa and turned into 'Arashi Kanjuro Productions' Uzumasa Studio.'
However, Shiro KIDO, who became the CEO of Shochiku and directed the productions of Shinko Kinema in 1936, abandoned the contract with the Star Production. Bando Tsumasaburo Productions and Takada Minoru Productions were forced to disband in December of 1935. The second period 'Kan Pro' eventually disbanded on August 6, 1937 after releasing its final production on July 29, 1937 called "Gozonji Kuramatengu Senryo Koban," passing all 110 of its staff members to Shinko Kinema Kyoto Studio where Masaichi NAGATA worked as department head.
Arashi became independent and enjoyed his freedom until he was hired at Nikkatsu Studio in 1938.