Yamaguchi Toshio Productions (山口俊雄プロダクション)

Yamaguchi Toshio Productions (established in June 1928 and dissolved in August) was a film company located in Kyoto. It was established by Toshio YAMAGUCHI, an actor that belonged to Shinpa-Geki (a New-School Play) in the Shochiku family who acted in films produced in conjunction with Makino Productions; it produced one silent movie by renting Narabigaoka Studio.

Brief History and Summary

In March of 1928, triggered by being featured in two films while he was in the new school drama group called 'Shinchoza' that was partnering with Shozo MAKINO's Makino Productions, YAMAGUCHI left the group on his own and joined Makino Productions in April.

At about that time, Tokujiro YAMAZAKI of Sankyo, which distributed Makino's movies in the Shikoku area, conspired with Ryosuke TACHIBANA, the top executive of Bando Tsumasaburo Productions, to ask 150 independent theater owners throughout Japan, including Kikumatsu OSHIMA of Kikusui Kinema in Kobe, to cooperate in 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]) in Osaka and declaring policies on directly releasing movies and funding for production costs of independent productions. In conjunction with this establishment, Chiezo KATAOKA left Makino in April and established 'Kataoka Chiezo Productions' (Chie Pro) in May, while Kanjuro ARASHI, Ryutaro NAKANE, Kobunji ICHIKAWA and Reizaburo YAMAMOTO, who left Makino at the same time also established their own productions. This led to YAMAGUCHI leaving Makino as well, and he established 'Yamaguchi Toshio Productions' (Yamaguchi Pro) in June of 1928.

Inspired by YAMAZAKI, Makino's chief stagehand Hiroshi KAWAI and cameraman Juzo TANAKA also left Makino and established the rentable studio 'Japan Cinema Studio' (Narabigaoka Studio) in Narabigaoka, Kyoto. All of the separately established production companies, including Chie Pro, came together to form 'Japan Movie Production Federation' and began supplying films to 'Kanshu Renmei' (the Theater Owner's Association) which were shot while using the 'Narabigaoka Studio' operated by KAWAI and TANAKA.

For the first film, Yamaguchi Pro shot "Hanpeita TSUKIGATA," the hit shinkoku-geki (realistic period-drama) written by Rifu YUKITOMO, at 'Narabigaoka Studio' by recruiting Makino's Hiroshi INNAMI, who had written the screenplay of "Adauchi Junjo Roku" starring YAMAGUCHI, and appointed him as a director; Shuichi OTSUKA of Toa Kinema Kyoto Studio was selected as a cameraman; costars included Kobunji ICHIKAWA, who had set up 'Ichikawa Kobunji Kabuki Eiga Productions' (Kabuki Eiga Pro); Yoshinosuke ICHIKAWA (later known as Kiyoshi SAWADA), who had come from Ichikawa Utakemon Productions' (Uta Pro) Ayameike Studio in Nara and acted in "Nozaki-mura village," the first movie produced by Kobunji's "Kabuki Eiga Pro"; Tamiji FUJII, who had been recruited away from Makino; Atsushi TAKADA and Sakura MIYAKO, who had been recruited away from Toa Kinema Kyoto Studio; Ayako CHIYODA, who acted for Makino while belonging to Kinugasa Eiga Renmei; and Katsuyo ISSHIKI, who had acted in films in Bando Tsumasaburo Productions' Uzumasa movie studio.

Although the film was distributed by 'Kanshu Renmei' and released in theaters such as the 'Kikusuikan' in Shinkaichi, Kobe on July 19, 1928, YAMAZAKI's 'Kanshu Renmei' fell apart only days later. As a result, Yamaguchi Pro was dissolved without producing a second movie along with other production companies that had been established at the same time.

After the dissolution, YAMAGUCHI went back to the stage, director INNAMI and actress KOJIMA went to Toa Kinema Kyoto Studio, OTSUKA went to Makino after shooting "Onboro Zoshi" for Nakane Ryutaro Comedy Productions, Kobunji and Yoshinosuke went to Chie Pro, TAKADA went to Shochiku Kyoto Studio, MIYAKO went to Uta Pro, and CHIYODA went to Tsukigata Productions (Ryunosuke TSUKIGATA) and then to Kawai Eiga Seisakusha in Tokyo.