Category Archives: rare books

A Hidden Collection to be Revealed: Makino Collection Film Ephemera and Rare Book Project

Council on Library and Information ResourcesThe final phase of the project to make hidden treasures from the Makino Collection available to the public has started moving ahead.
The Makino Mamoru Collection on the History of East Asian Film has been lauded for its scholarly value and awarded a generous grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, through the administration of the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR), as a Hidden Collections project. The final phase to make these hidden treasures available to the public has resumed. According to an initial survey, total number of materials in this collection reaches nearly 80,000 items. While approximately half of the entire collection has already been processed, the CLIR project consists of two main goals: to process the remaining film ephemera and catalog the rare books and monographs. The archival materials awaiting processing are mainly post-war film ephemera. Approximately 6,500 items in the “hidden collection” are to be arranged, described, and preserved in order to enhance access, expand research potential, and inspire new theories on East Asian Film.

As is often observed in academic film studies, Japanese film scholars have had difficulty obtaining comprehensive research materials, which has undervalued the importance of collecting and preserving materials on this subject. Unfortunately, this trend has moved the focus onto less valuable forms of media in the field of Japanese film studies. In a 2011 publication, the collector, Mr. Makino Mamoru explained the reason for the absence of academic resources, using a term, “le septième art [the seventh art],” coined by an Italian film theoretician, Ricciotto Canudo in 1911: “In the past, when discussing the culture or artistic genre of each period, film was long considered a sub-culture, and treated as le septième art, in contrast with existing traditional artistic fields such as literature, painting and music.” Because of this attitude, very few resources have been accumulated. Moreover, collectors generally focus on film stills and posters, which represent the esthetic aspects of movies. Aware of this issue, Mr. Makino has endeavored to collect print materials related to film history in addition to images. He decided that this vibrant print culture needed to be collected before being completely lost.

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