Author Archives: Beth Katzoff

About Beth Katzoff

I am the Archivist for the Makino Collection as well as a Public Services Librarian at C.V. Starr East Asian Library. I began processing the Collection in mid-September, 2008. In 2000, I received a Ph.D. from Columbia University in Japanese History. My dissertation focused on Japanese feminist responses to the Asia-Pacific War (1931-1945). I have been working in libraries ever since - The Library of Congress, Cornell University's Asia Collections, and now Columbia.

Coterie magazines (Dōjinshi/同人誌)


Within the Makino Collection, there are 7 archival document boxes containing 115 folders of prewar and some postwar coterie magazines (dōjinshi/同人) or self-published journals (what we might call fanzines today) from student clubs at universities and other film and fan clubs.These publications were non-commercial periodicals that had limited circulation and contained the writings of amateurs as well as some well-known film critics. Many of these magazines cannot be found in libraries in Japan (or in the U.S.).Some of the pre-WWII coterie magazines in the Makino Collection were formerly owned by Kishi Matsuo/ 岸松雄 (1906 – 1985) the film critic, director, and screenwriter who was also a leading member of the Proletarian Film League of Japan (Prokino) in the 1920s. Some of the magazines in this collection list Kishi as the publisher.Some are also stamped as a gift to Prokino for Kishi with Aji (阿字) stamped on them for Kishi’s real name – Aji Shūichirō.  Since the Prokino office was most likely at his home at that time, it makes sense that they were addressed to Prokino and sent to Kishi. The rest of the coterie magazines were collected by Mr. Makino to supplement Kishi Matsuo’s collection.

The term dōjinshi/同人 is commonly used today for amateur works related to comics (manga), but the prewar materials in the Makino Collection are not manga or anime but film and fan clubs.

In the Collection, there are 89 titles with a total number of 274 issues of these coterie magazines.We have them divided into two main sections. The first contains university coterie publications (50 titles) and the second contains coterie publications that are not related to a specific university (39 titles). The Japanese universities from which these coterie magazines emerge include Chūō University, Dōshisha University, Keiō Gijuku University, Kyoto Teikoku University, Meiji University, Nihon University, Rikkyo University, Tokyo University, Waseda University, among others.Among the coterie magazines are 23 original issues of Eiga zuihitsu/映画随筆 dating from July 1925 to July 1929, along with a photograph from a 1942 Kyoto University academic conference (it is not clear why this photo was with these particular magazines). Some of the coterie magazines, including Eiga zuihitsu/映画随筆and Illusion were stamped Nihon Puroretaria Eiga Renmei/日本プロレタリア映画連盟/ the Proletarian Film League of Japan (Prokino).  These magazines are useful for those interested in the left-wing film movement in Japan.The coterie magazines are located at our offsite facility in New Jersey, known as ReCAP.


Our Symposium, "The Makino Collection at Columbia," was a success. A total of 64 people attended throughout the day. The week following the symposium, we had extended viewing of the Collection (for 5 hours per day).  Several visitors to the Makino Collection  viewed portions of the Collection, with many of you emailing me with great interest in returning to do research.  If any of you who attended the symposium have thoughts about it, please share them with me (either here or through email). Did you like the format? Were there things you wanted to know that weren’t covered? What did you appreciate most?  While this symposium opened up discussion for three main areas for which the collection has great research possibilities – East Asian Cinema, Early Japanese Cinema, and Documentary Film – we know there is much more to explore.

As I was processing the collection last week, I found some interesting items. In looking at some boxes that are Russian related (it turns out there are 4 boxes and they are mostly Japanese monographs but about Russian film or film theorists), I found 1 box  that actually had more Charlie Chaplin monographs.  Although most will be sent off for cataloging at a later date, I found 2 books that were signed by Charlie Chaplin himself.  His autograph includes a fantastic drawing of himself as well as musical notes and a little sun with a face in it. Those books will go in the Special Collections with our Chaplin and Kono Toraichi materials.  Chaplin signed them on the same date, March 16, 1971. One of the books  is the original German written by Friedrich Luft in 1957 and the other is its 1971 Japanese translation by Koshibe Noboru. 

Symposium – The Makino Collection at Columbia, 11/11/11

Today is the first day of November and that means we are only a little more than a week away from the first daylong symposium on the Makino Collection at Columbia.  On 11/11/11, we will welcome 8 panelists, 3 discussants, and many visitors to 403 Kent Hall (EALAC Lounge) at Columbia University to hear presentations and discussions at the symposium, "The Makino Collection at Columbia: The Present and Future of an Archive." These include my overview of the archive in process and three panels.

Yesterday, the Makino Symposium web page went live:

Here is the press release.

Eventually, papers and digital presentations will be added.

Here is the PROGRAM again…

9:00am-9:30am: Welcome and Opening Remarks
Paul Anderer, Jim Neal, Robert Hymes, Jim Cheng

Beth Katzoff, "The Makino Collection at Columbia: An Archive in Process"

Panel 1
10:00am-12:00pm: "The Makino Collection, Film Archives, and East Asian Cinema"

Weihong Bao, Assistant Professor, Department of East Asian Languages and Culture, Columbia University
"Pudovkin’s Fellow Travelers: The Introduction of Montage to China"

Theodore Hughes, The Korea Foundation Association Professor of Korean Studies in the Humanities, the Department of East Asian Languages and Culture, Columbia University
"Archive Phobia: Korean Cinema and its Colonial Pasts"

Reiko Ikegawa, Adjunct Lecturer, Jissen Women’s University & Otsuma Women’s University
"Japanese Female Director Sakane Tazuko, the Manchurian Film Association, and Archival Materials for Japanese Colonial Films"

Discussant: Jane Marie Gaines, Professor, School of the Arts – Film Division, Columbia University

Panel 2
1:30pm-3:30pm: "The Makino Collection and Early Japanese Cinema"

Joanne Bernardi, Associate Professor, Modern Languages and Cultures Department, University of Rochester
"Destination Japan: The Personal Collection as Alternative Archive"

Aaron Gerow, Associate Professor, Film Studies Program/East Asian Languages and Literatures, Yale University
"Makino Mamoru and Film Theory: The Case of Nakagawa Shigeaki"

Atsuko Oya, Staff Member, Film and Information Section, The Museum of Kyoto
"Onoe Matsunosuke and Materials Related to the Film, Chushingura (The Royal Forty-seven Ronin) in the Makino Mamoru Collection"

Discussant: Paul Anderer, Mack Professor of Humanities, Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, Columbia University

3:30pm Coffee break

Panel 3
3:45pm-5:30pm: "The Makino Collection and Documentary Film"

Abé Mark Nornes, Chair of the Department of Screen Arts & Culture and Professor in Asian Languages and Cultures, University of Michigan
"Paul Rotha/Poru Ruta and the Politics of Translation"

Mika Tomita, Associate Professor, College of Image Arts and Sciences, Ritsumeikan University
"Aspects of Small-Gauge Film Culture in Prewar Japan"

Discussant: Hikari Hori, Assistant Professor, Japanese Film and Visual Culture, Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, Columbia University

5:30pm-5:45pm: Concluding Remarks

6:00pm-7:30pm: Reception (Starr Library Reading Room)

The symposium is open to the public, but please R.S.V.P. to

The symposium is sponsored by The Weatherhead East Asian Institute, the Japan Chamber of Commerce, the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, the C.V. Starr Foundation, C.V. Starr East Asian Library, the Donald Keene Center of Japanese Culture, and the School of the Arts-Film Division.

Charlie Chaplin and Kono Toraichi

In addition to Japanese and East Asian materials in the Makino Collection, there are items related to Western film stars.  This includes materials related to Charlie Chaplin. Chaplin visited Japan four times in his life and was clearly a popular star there – as everywhere else in the world.  Chaplin was even in Japan in 1932 during the May 15th Incident when the Prime Minister was assassinated by young naval officers.  Chaplin happened to be with the Prime Minister’s son during the attack and was apparently a target of the original assassination plan.

Mr. Makino collected original editions of books by and about Chaplin including the one that Mr. Makino wrote was the inspiration for his CollectionMy Trip Abroad (1922). Referring to this book, in "Chaplin Among the Ashes" (trans. by Joanne Bernardi), Makino writes that he had "no idea why I bought the book, or how I felt at the time.  Around that time I was absorbed in writing poetry. I often saw movies, but I doubt that I had an interest yet in buying books about film…. In my life with books ever since, I resigned myself to disposing of my library a number of times, but for some reason this one volume always ended up back on a corner of the bookshelf.  I realized that it was no ordinary book twenty years later, after I had entered the world of film production, and in due course began my research in film history."  (In Praise of Film Studies: Essays in Honor of Makino Mamoru. edited by Aaron Gerow and Abé Mark Nornes, Yokohama: Kinema Club, 2001, pp. 69-70). 

Now this Chaplin book that inspired Mr. Makino in his youth, along with its translation into Japanese (1930), are in the Makino Collection at Columbia University!  See a photograph of the title page of the original 1922 book at the beginning of this post.

This book also spurred Mr. Makino’s interest in Chaplin’s long term Japanese assistant Kono Toraichi/高野虎市,who worked for Chaplin for more than 20 years, was eventually arrested by the U.S. government on suspicion of spying for Japan, was released, and then interned during the war. For an overview of Chaplin and Kono’s relationship in English, see Bruce Wallace, "Charlie Chaplin’s Japanese Connection," April 19, 2006. Ono Hiroyuki who is interviewed in Wallace’s article, wrote his own book on Kono and Chaplin, Chappurin no kage: Nihonjin hisho Kono Toraichi /チャップリンの影:日本人秘書高野虎市, Tokyo: Kodansha, 2009.  Mr. Makino also wrote about Kono in "Chaplin Among the Ashes" and gathered all sorts of materials about him.

The Collection materials include a karuta (card) game from the 1910s with images of Charlie Chaplin and Roscoe Conkling “Fatty” Arbuckle on it.  (Known endearingly as “Debu-chan” or "Fatty" in Japan – Arbuckle was another Western comedy star popular in Japan). There is also a Chaplin sugoroku poster game from 1922 (sugoroku is a kind of board game), a movie theater gift poster, programs and fliers for Chaplin films shown in Japan, several popular magazines special issues on Chaplin, bank, post office, and film study group fliers, a filmography, newspaper clippings, a still photograph of Chaplin with his one-time wife Paulette Goddard, items from a 1971 Chaplin film convention, as well as a scrapbook containing photocopied articles about Chaplin’s 1932 Japan visit, and 6 scrapbooks with articles from the 1930s and early 1940s about Kono. A portrait photo album once owned by the popular actress Kurishima Sumiko/栗島すみ子 has two photographs of Charlie Chaplin possibly taken during his 1932 visit as well. Sorry for the long list, but this is a really interesting assortment of items.

Amateur film and Small gauge film

Today, when teenagers and street demonstrators can document their activities through their phones and instantly upload photos or digital video or share them through email (and then blog about them), one cannot help but be struck by the transformative power of such technology.  In the archive, it is fascinating to see what can perhaps be argued as the birth of amateur film (film scholars can correct me on this). Through the early camera catalogs that offered the cameras for sale to those who could purchase them, one can see the potential access to film-making and what that might have meant.  The Pathé Baby home film system from the Pathé-Cinéma camera equipment company used cameras with smaller gauges and was first imported to Japan in 1924. The 8mm camera was introduced in 1932.

The Makino Collection includes Pathé bebī/パテーベビー camera catalogs from the 1930s (see above image) as well as many magazines and books related to amateur film in Japan. This is a  great area for historical research – whether one is interested in the technical aspects of early film-making, the social and political environment in which amateur films were made, or even the cultural aspects – the art of the films in Japan. The amateur film movement included people who made "home movies," and used small gauge cameras (kogata eiga/小型映画, 8mm, 9.5mm and 16mm).  Many of these filmmakers were also associated with the Proletarian Film League of Japan (日本プロレタリア映画同盟,/Nihon Puroretaria Eiga Dōmei or "Prokino"), as well as with documentary film (culture films (bunka eiga or kiroku eiga) in Japan. (See Nornes, Abé Mark (2003). Japanese Documentary Film: The Meiji Era through Hiroshima. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press). The Makino Collection does not contain the films (reels) made by Prokino, but it does have many of the group’s publications as well as writing by member and film critic Iwasaki Akira and others.  There are 11 archival boxes with 80 folders of amateur film items in the series covering amateur film and small gauge film in the Makino Collection (Series 6 Subseries 1). There are 12 archival boxes with 82 folders of proletarian film movement materials (Series 6 Subseries 12), and more than 20 archival boxes for documentary film materials (Series 6 Subseries 7). I am still adding to this section.

Here is the cover of a fantastic manga (comic), 8 miri Hacchan, by author Hara Yasuo/原やすをfrom Nov. 1946 about a boy who shoots his own film with his 8 millimeter camera. Here he captures the movement of a worm, what else might he learn about the world?

Here are 2 issues of a kogata eiga magazine, Baby Cinema, published the same year the Chrysler Building in NYC was completed – 1930.

Welcome to the Makino Collection Blog

The Makino Blog is a place to share interesting materials and announcements about the Makino Mamoru Collection on the History of East Asian Film (牧野守コレクション, Makino Collection) as it is processed.

The Makino Collection is a vast treasure chest of things I have only begun to uncover. Those who have been fortunate over the past 20 years to use the collection at Mr. Makino’s home in Tokyo, know what I mean, but it is full of so much information that I felt a blog might give me the opportunity to let you know where I am at in the processing as well as to give you a peek at some of its holdings. To use the archival materials that are already processed, patrons can contact me to use them in the C. V. Starr East Asian Library, Kress Rare Books and Special Collections Reading Room. Since some items are off-site, it is best to allow time for their retrieval.  As I process, I am creating a finding aid which will eventually go online.
Here are some goals for my blog:
1. to cover processing status
2. to give you an insiders view at processing
3. to make announcements related to the Makino Collection
4. to allow reader comments

Collection Overview:
Mr. Makino’s Collection of approximately 80,000 items are mostly located at our off-site facility in New Jersey (ReCAP) and are processed at C.V. Starr East Asian Library, Columbia University. The Collection focuses on print materials related to Japanese film that Mr. Makino collected over the course of fifty years. Mr. Makino began collecting materials related to Japanese documentary film, and then expanded his collection to cover film theory, movements, censorship, and other non-film film-related materials. Many of the print materials in the Collection – books, magazines, film scenarios, company documents, ephemera – date to the 1910s and 1920s, when books and critical reviews about cinema proliferated.
For more information about the collection, see the Makino Collection website

Symposium Announcement:
We will hold our first daylong symposium to examine research in the field of Japanese film studies emerging from the rich holdings of the Makino Collection.
"The Makino Collection at Columbia: the Present and Future of an Archive"
Date: 11/11/11
Time: 9am-5:45pm, with a reception afterward
Place: 403 Kent Hall, Columbia University (at the corner of 116th and Amsterdam Avenue, NYC)
The symposium is open to the public, but please R.S.V.P. to

For a list of panelists and their presentations, check the Makino website.

To start us off with an item from the collection, here is a poster for the film, A Thousand and One Nights in Tokyo (Tokyo sen’ichiya), a 1938 film directed by Uchida Tomu/内田吐夢 (1898-1970). There are about 50 posters in all in the Makino Collection.

A Thousand and One Nights in Tokyo (Directed by Uchida Tomu, 1938)

There are many Uchida related materials in the Collection, including 6 scrapbooks created by Mr. Makino that contain photographs and photocopied scenarios pasted together in a storyboard type format all concerning Uchida’s film, Earth (Tsuchi/土), which was made in 1939. Tsuchi was a story of peasant life that was shot in northern Japan.

There is even an interesting copper plate engraving (dōban/銅版) from this film, along with photo albums, photographs, and negatives shot both on location and from a later research visit made by Mr. Makino in 1983 to cameraman Midorikawa Michio/碧川道夫, and to the home and grave of Tsuchi’s author, Nagatsuka Takashi/長塚節 in Ibaraki prefecture.  Uchida materials are organized in the Director Files (series 1) and Photographs and Posters (series 16).