Past News
12 Jan 2007 Digital Meme To Release Rare Classic Anime on DVD
Four-DVD set of rarely-seen anime of the 1920s and 1930s includes unprecedented multilingual translation and traditional benshi narration.

TOKYO, Japan, January 12, 2007
– Digital Meme, the premier publisher of digitized classic Japanese films, today announced the upcoming release of a new DVD collection of vintage Japanese anime. Presenting 55 titles from the Golden Age of Japanese silent film, this collection is the first to offer international audiences many of these classic anime as they were originally experienced by Japanese viewers, with accompanying benshi narration.

Japanese Anime Classic Collection is a digital collection of hard-to-find anime produced from 1928 through 1936. Entertaining, exciting, and startling, the collection will be treasured by enthusiasts, who will find it a valuable reference tool for retracing Japanese animation from its early roots to what is now universally known as anime. Presented chronologically, these anime have been painstakingly digitally reproduced for DVD viewing. Nothing has been altered or edited except for the integration of music in some titles.

All the silent anime in the collection allow the viewer to choose subtitles in Japanese, English, Chinese, or Korean. Many feature live, simultaneous narration by such famed and beloved benshi as Midori Sawato. These one-of-a-kind dramatic benshi performances were a unique Japanese contribution to silent film history. For international audiences, this set will therefore be the first chance to experience many of these films as Japanese audiences did. Silent movie lovers will be especially delighted by “Danemon’s Monster Hunt at Shojoji,” a rare opportunity to compare and appreciate two separate benshi performances for the same title.

Other selections in the set are “record talkies.” These anime came to theaters together with a gramophone record, which provided a separate, simultaneous audio track with music, voice, and effects. The history of record talkies in Japan was shortlived, as fully synchronized talking movies quickly outdated them. These titles will thus be of interest both to those new to Japanese silent film and to fans who have only experienced silents with benshi performances.

With or without accompaniment, each of the 55 anime selections in this set tells a great story in its own right. For anyone with an interest in animation, movies, or Japanese history, Japanese Anime Classic Collection should not be missed as an extraordinary contribution to the mostly unheard story of Japan’s silent film heritage.

For further details, please contact

About Digital Meme
Digital Meme turns the power of the digital age to preserving and promoting the Golden Age of Japanese film. Digital Meme applies 21st century technology and networks to constructing a universal library of cultural and artistic legacies from Japan and around the world, and to creating unique new cultural and entertainment products.
  « Back