Title: The Transformation of Soundscape From Benshi’s Voice to Talkie System in Japan
Stream: Film History
Presentation Type: Oral Presentation
Eun Jeong Choi, New York University, United States
This chapter is part of my dissertation project entitled “The Soundscape and the Formation of Public in Japan 1920s-1950s.” This chapter seeks to explore the transformation of the concept of ‘sound’ in cinematic experience from the silent film era, when Benshi’s voice (film narrators and performers) functioned as a cinematic sound along with other off-screen sounds such as live music, people’s chatting, urban noise, and so forth, to the era of talkie system, which pursued the synchronization of screen image and on-screen sound, by eliminating the off-screen sounds. I will show what impetus brought this transformation in light of ‘sound’ and the space(s) that was created by sound, and also explore how this transformation newly conceptualized the ‘public’ and ‘private’ sphere for the audience in experiencing cinema as a modern media. In doing so, this chapter will ultimately answer the question about mass, subjectivity, and modernity in the early 20th century of Japan.
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