Toho Studio

I will be taking my students in the Yale Summer Session class to the Toho Studios, so I went there today to discuss the visit with the studio officials. They were quite open, friendly, and cooperative, so I really look forward to the tour. I got a mini-version today, seeing both the oldest stages (the first stages from 1932 when the studio was started as PCL--you can see an old aerial photo here, at the bottom of the page) and the newest ones. As with the Yachiyo-kan, it was nice to see old film buildings still surviving--they really smelled of history!--but the story is that the old stages--now Stages 1 and 2--are probably not long for this world. 

I arrived early and walked around the studio a bit. It is located in Tokyo's Setagaya Ward, about a 10 minute walk from Seijo Gakuenmae Station. Next to the studio proper is the Toho Nichiyo Daiku Center (literally: the Toho Sunday Carpenter's Center), which is basically a big hardware store. It reminds you how the studios branched off into different businesses when the movie biz was not going well (apparently there was a bowling alley located there before--another business many film companies tried). The Sengawa River runs through the studio, lined with cherry trees which are quite a sight in the spring. They also have placards on the railings, like the one below. The Sengawa was the river that ran by the village in The Seven Samurai.

Update: I also took my class on a Toho tour in 2009.


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