The Makino Mamoru Collection on the History of East Asian Film (Makino Collection/牧野コレクション) was purchased by Columbia University in 2006, processing began in September 2008, and continues today. The collection focuses on print materials mostly related to Japanese film that were collected over the course of fifty years by former documentary filmmaker and film researcher, Makino Mamoru.
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. These include such themes as 1930s modernism, the proletarian film movement (Prokino), and prewar film regulations. They cover various genres of film, including experimental film, educational film, documentary film, news film, amateur film, and animated film, among many others.
The Collection contains over 1,000 pre-war scenarios, valuable because many are handwritten, and may include several versions of the same script or even related storyboards, sketches, or photographs (see below). In addition, there are over 3,000 leaflets or handbills (chirashi) from regional movie theaters (more than 70 theaters, mostly in Tokyo) from the 1910s through 1940s. Film production companies and movie theaters relied on the distribution of these handbills or programs to promote their films, enticing viewers to theaters and notifying them of weekly schedules.
Mr. Makino developed an early interest in film due to his purchase of a book written by Charlie Chaplin in a used bookstore. Prewar materials in the Collection therefore include items related to Charlie Chaplin and his Japanese assistant, Kono Toraichi. In addition, the Makino Collection contains valuable company documents and reports relating to major Japanese film production companies (film studios) including Tōhō (P.C.L.), Shōchiku, Nikkatsu, and independent film studios. It also has the complete works and personal collections of film critics, including Kishi Matsuo, Tanaka Jun’ichirō, Iwasaki Akira, Iijima Tadashi, and Yodogawa Nagaharu. There are also photographs and albums once belonging to cameramen such as Miki Shigeru and Kikuchi Shū and materials related to the films they worked on with the documentary filmmaker Kamei Fumio. There are full runs of commercial film magazines and issues of harder to obtain minor film publications such as coterie magazines, university film research journals, and amateur film publications (kogata eiga).
Japan has cultivated a vibrant print culture related to cinema since the beginning of Japanese film production over a century ago. Many of the print materials found in the Makino Collection - books, magazines, film scenarios, company documents, and ephemera - date to the early twentieth century when books and critical reviews about cinema proliferated. Due to their ephemeral nature and association with popular culture, many of the texts and promotional materials from early Japanese cinema production and distribution were not collected by libraries and archives. Although mainly a collection of Japanese film materials, Mr. Makino broadened his collection to include sources from Okinawa, China, Taiwan, the former colony of Manchuria, and South Korea. It also includes postwar materials, film theory, movie theater programs and when fully archived will be a useful resource for those interested in film and history more broadly.