On Thursday, I took my class to the Edo-Tokyo Museum, which is a nice introduction to Tokyo history in the last 400 years. My main aim, however, was to show them the models of the river-side, temporary theaters in the Edo era, and the model of the Denkikan they have in their modern section (which also features a model of Ryounkaku, or "Twelve Stories," that reaches the ceiling). I had shown them where the Denkikan used to be in Asakusa, but it was nice to show them what it looked like in the mid-1910s. The colorful painted scenes from the movies showing, the excessive decoration, the statue on top--all communicate the cacophony of stimuli that was the thrill of Asakusa, while also rendering it out of this world. The model shows it when it was showing Marcantonio e Cleopatra, a 1913 Italian historical epic directed by Enrico Guazzoni that was a big hit in Japan. Somei Saburo, the great benshi at the Denkikan, made a name for himself narrating this film.  


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