Kabuki Bromides from the Meiji Era to the Prewar Period have been published in the ARC Shochiku Otani Library Theater Photos Search and Browsing SystemOctober 17, 2023(Tue)
As part of the FY 2023 ARC-iJAC project 演劇上演記録データベースを活用した、演劇資料画像検索閲覧システムの構築に関る研究 (A Study on the Construction of a Search and Browsing System for Theater Photo Materials using a Database of Theater Performance Records), the Shochiku Otani Library has released a digital archive of Kabuki bromides (photographic portraits of Kabuki actors) from the Meiji era to the prewar period. Online public access to this archive is provided by the Art Research Center (ARC), Ritsumeikan University.
The Shochiku Otani Library undertook a crowdfunding project in 2019 to raise funds for the digital photography and preservation of 12,000 Kabuki bromides.
Since launching the project, the construction of the digital archive, data entry, and other preparations for web release have progressed, and we are pleased to announce that a portion of the archive has now been made available to the public through the "Theater Photos Search and Browsing System" developed by the ARC-iJAC.
With this online release, users are able to search and view Kabuki stage photographs from the Meiji era to the prewar period, as well as photographs of famous actors of the past in costume. We hope that along with a greater number of people being able to make use of the Shochiku Otani Library Collection, greater contributions to the study of Japanese theater will be possible. We humbly ask your cooperation in sharing the announcement of this release.
Digital Archive of Shochiku Otani Library's Collection of Valuable Materials "Theater Photos Search and Browsing System"
Since 2013, the Shochiku Otani Library has been engaged in crowdfunding projects to digitize and preserve valuable materials and has achieved continued results every year.
The Shochiku Otani Library and the ARC have been working together on the construction of the digital archive and to make it available to the public through an online browsing system by preparing the input of bibliographic data (titles, dates of performances, names of theaters, names of roles and actors), and other information. Approximately 5,500 of 12,000 items in the digital archive have now been released as of October 17, 2023.
The Theater Photos Search and Browsing System allows users to search for photographs based on the program name or actor name. Clicking on a thumbnail image in the search results will open an information screen that displays detailed information such as program name, role, and actor name, as well as an enlarged image.
We hope that the release of the digital archive of Kabuki bromides--valuable materials that record Kabuki performances and famous actors of the time--will enable users to experience the appeal of Kabuki and contribute to the development of research by scholars and those associated with the theatre.
We will continue to investigate and verify the data to improve the digital archive beyond its release.