TOKYO — Media conglom Kadokawa Shoten Publishing, which owns the library of Daiei — one of Japan’s six major studios operating during the 1950s and 1960s Golden Age — is celebrating Daiei’s 70th anniversary.
It’s releasing DVDs of select Daiei films and screening classic pics in Kadokawa cinemas in November and December.
Founded in 1942 in a wartime merger, Daiei emerged as a major studio in the postwar years, hosting such major talents as Akira Kurosawa and Kenji Mizoguchi.
In the 1960s, as the industry began a long decline, it found success with monster pics for kids, including the “Gamera” series, and action pics featuring burly star Shintaro Katsu, including 26 “Zatoichi” period swashbucklers.
It went bankrupt in 1971 but new owner Tokuma Shoten revived the Daiei label in 1974 and it continued to produce pics on a smaller scale, including the 1996 international hit “Shall We Dance?”
In 2002, current owner Kadokawa merged Daiei with its new film division and it ceased to exist as an independent entity.