Art & Design

How to become a Benshi! Silent Cinema and the Art of Live Narration

23 June 2017, London

Silent cinema was never truly silent. In Japan, silent films were accompanied not only by live music but also by Katsudo-Benshi. Providing live narration, on-screen voice acting and original commentary, Benshi became an influential and integral part of Japanese silent cinema.


In conjunction with the Barbican's screening of Yasujiro Ozu's I was Born, But... organised as part of The Japanese House exhibition, the Japan Foundation is delighted to present a special evening exploring the art of Benshi. Following an introductory talk by silent cinema specialist Pamela Hutchinson, Katsudo-Benshi Hideyuki Yamashiro and Silent Film Pianist Mie Yanashita will perform a clip from Orochi (1925) recreating an authentic Benshi experience. As part of his illustrated talk, Yamashiro will discuss Benshi as a contemporary occupation as well as the unique appeal of Japanese silent cinema.


This fascinating event will also offer a few audience members the chance to take to the stage and perform the role of Benshi under instruction from Yamashiro himself!



This event is free to attend but booking is essential. To book your place via Eventbrite, please click here


This event is organised by in association with Shindofuji Ireland


Special thanks to Matsuda Film Productions

23 June 2017, from6.00pm
Foyles Bookshop, Level 6, 107 Charing Cross Rd, London, WC2H 0DT
The Japan Foundation, Shindofuji Ireland