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Japanese cinema was different from the very start. In the days of the silent movie, recitators called benshi, took it upon themselves not only to interpret the action, but to add their own vocal and acting embellishments as self-appointed supra-dramatists.

There were other localized touches. During funeral scenes, for example, it was not uncommon for a member of staff to move stealthily through the darkened emporium lighting sticks of incense as mood enhancers.

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