Japanese companies love to celebrate landmarks, and Shochiku, a major film producer and exhibitor, is no exception.
Founded by brothers Takejiro Otani and Matsujiro Shirai in 1895 to manage kabuki theaters (which it still does), the company launched a film subsidiary, Shochiku Kinema Gomei-sha, in 1920.
This year, Shochiku is commemorating its centennial with exhibitions, broadcasts and screenings, although these are at the mercy of the ongoing coronavirus crisis and some have already been canceled. Still on schedule at the National Film Archive of Japan is an exhibition (May 29-Aug. 30) and screenings (June 25- Sept. 6). Shochiku had also planned an anniversary film, Yoji Yamada’s “God of Cinema,” that was set for a December release until its star, Ken Shimura, died in late March after contracting COVID-19. Production has since been suspended.