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Coordinates: 35°42′47.25″N 139°47′35.86″E / 35.7131250°N 139.7932944°E / 35.7131250; 139.7932944
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35°42′47.25″N 139°47′35.86″E / 35.7131250°N 139.7932944°E / 35.7131250; 139.7932944

Outside of Denkikan on the opening day of Antony and Cleopatra in 1914.

The Denkikan (電気館) was the first dedicated movie theater in Japan. Originally a hall built in Asakusa's Rokku theater district to present spectacles featuring electricity ("denki" in Japanese), it was converted into a movie theater in October 1903 by Yoshizawa Shōten, the most successful of the film companies at the time. Featuring benshi such as Saburo Somei,[1] it quickly became the symbol of the new phenomenon of the motion pictures and many cinemas around Japan were later created that borrowed the name "Denkikan."[2] It later became a Nikkatsu theater and then a Shochiku theater before finally closing in 1976. A historically accurate model of the theater is currently on display at the Edo-Tokyo Museum in Tokyo. It is also cited in Kaizo Hayashi's film To Sleep so as to Dream.[3]


  1. ^ Tanaka, Jun'ichirō (1975). Nihon eiga hattatsushi (in Japanese). Vol. 1. Chūō Kōron. p. 110.
  2. ^ See, for instance, the home page of the Kumamoto Denkikan Archived 2010-04-03 at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ "Asakusa Rokku eigakangai no ōgon jidai" (in Japanese). Archived from the original on 26 August 2010. Retrieved 4 April 2010.

Further reading