Hiroshima Movie Theater Operator To Open Rare Film Book Library

Hiroshima movie theater operator to open rare film book libraryA movie theater operator in the city is preparing to open a movie book library after the widow of a film critic donated 10,000 of his film books.

The widow of Masami Hanamoto, who died two years ago at age 69, gave the large collection to Junko Kuramoto, president of Johakyu, which operates the Hacchoza theater and other movie houses in Hiroshima.


Included in the collection are thousands of movie posters that once adorned the walls of Johakyu's theaters over the years.

The library is scheduled to open in September in a 115-square-meter space on the 10th floor of Fukuya Co.'s main department store in the city's Naka Ward. It will be located next to a beer garden.

The building also houses Johakyu's Haccho-za theater on the eighth floor.

According to Kuramoto, the widow donated her husband’s books because she thought that is what he would have wanted.

"He had collected all kinds of books about movies, including magazines, photo books, as well as books about the relationship between cinema, politics and religion," Kuramoto said.

The collection also contains complete screenplays for Japanese films and other publications that are currently not easily available. Kuramoto came up with the idea of opening the library so movie fans could have access to the rare archive.

In addition to Hanamoto's books, the posters will be sorted out into groups according to year, director and actor, and will be displayed on a rotational basis.

Currently, Kuramoto and other staff at Johakyu are organizing the collection.

Two posters in particular stopped Kuramoto in her tracks when she discovered them in a cardboard box: Victor Erice's 1973 classic "The Spirit of the Beehive" and Federico Fellini's 1960 masterpiece "La Dolce Vita."

"I just get carried away by the memories and can't get ahead with my work," she said, laughing.

Kuramoto is planning to charge several hundred yen (100 yen is about $1) for admission.

She says they will not rent out the books in the beginning but are planning to do so in the future. She is now looking for volunteers with library experience to help her organize and run the facility.

For more information, visit Johakyu's official website at (http://www.saloncinema-cinetwin.jp).