Database for Animation Studies


"Moved" and "Moving" Gentō: Gentō-kai (Gentō Screening) as a Place for "Movements."

In Japanese, gentō 8magic lantern, slide, filmstrip) means that the visual medium that usually projects still images onto a large screen. It thrived over the 19th century in Japan and then revived in the Showa period, from World War II to the post-war 1960s. Dring the 1950s, gentō flourished as a grass-roots medium in several social movements; labor disputes, anti-US-base, anti-nuclear, and Settlement.
In this article, I would like to focus on "animated" aspects of gento filmstrips. Among the post-war gentō filmstrips, there are several images could "moved" during the screening process by shaking the gentō projector (gentō-ki) with hands. Gento presenters often tried to add the sensation of "movement" to gentō images on the screen by live performances like singing, clapping hands or tapping feet, choral speaking. The audience also could participate as if they had "moved" the characters within each frame by their voices and bodily movements. By synchronizing themselves with images on the gento filmstrips throught these screening live performances, the audience could also be "moved" by gentō filmstrips many of which represented or recorded actual social movements.

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