Trend in Japan Web Japan
Arts and Entertainment
Business and Economy Lifestyle Science and Technology Fashion Arts and Entertainment Sports People
Arts & Entertainment
Theaters Specializing in Asian Films Open in Tokyo and Osaka (May 24, 2006)

The exterior of Cinemart Roppongi (SPO Inc.)
The broadcast of the South Korean TV series Winter Sonata in Japan in 2003 ignited a boom in South Korean pop culture. Numerous TV series and films from South Korea were shown, and Japanese audiences subsequently grew interested in works from China, Taiwan, and other parts of Asia. Amid this burgeoning interest in Asian culture, Japan's first theater specializing in Asian films opened in Tokyo in March 2006.

A Base for Asian Entertainment
Most of the movies shown in Japan are either homegrown or from Hollywood. Though South Korean actors and actresses are now riding a wave of popularity and the films they appear in are a focus of attention, only a small number of Korean works are actually screened in Japan, and those that are tend to be shown at small theaters for only a limited period of time. Works from China, Taiwan, and other parts of Asia are also coming into the spotlight, but they continue to be overshadowed by their Hollywood counterparts.

An advert for a Chinese cinema event running from June 3 to July 14 (SPO Inc.)

Cinemart Roppongi opened its doors in March 2006 as Japan's first theater specializing in Asian films. The complex is located in the Roppongi district of Tokyo. A second theater opened one month later in April in the Shinsaibashi district of Osaka.

The theaters are operated by SPO Inc., a Tokyo-based company that distributes Korean films and organizes the annual Hanryu Cinema Festival. The 2005 festival drew 270,000 people to 86 locations across the country. SPO describes the new theaters as mini complexes that are designed to serve as bases for information on the Asian entertainment industry. The theaters feature shops selling goods related to Asian films and provide a variety of Asian entertainment for visitors while they wait.

More Than a Passing Fad
The opening event at Roppongi Cinemart was Hanryu Cinema Festival 2006, which ran from the theater's opening on March 11 until April 7. The festival showcased movies that had not been released in Japan and gave exposure to up-and-coming stars from South Korea.

Inside Cinemart Roppongi (SPO Inc.)

SPO plans to screen movies from South Korea, China, Taiwan, and elsewhere in Asia targeted at women, who are a mainstay of the South Korean pop culture boom. It will also show Japanese works that cannot be seen elsewhere.

The lineup of upcoming films includes Fighter in the Wind, which costars Japanese and Korean actors and actresses; Innocent Steps, a love story; the much talked about Duelist, which features young Korean stars; and Divergence, a film that brings together top stars in the Hong Kong film industry.

In a newspaper interview, an SPO representative commented, "We would like to provide a place where Asian films are always shown. We aim to open up theaters in all of Japan's major cities in the future, so that the boom in South Korean culture is not just a passing fad."

 Page Top

Copyright (c) 2006 Web Japan. Edited by Japan Echo Inc. based on domestic Japanese news sources. Articles presented here are offered for reference purposes and do not necessarily represent the policy or views of the Japanese Government.

  Related articles
(October 14, 2004)
Drop Us a Line
Your Name

What did you think of this article?

It was interesting.
It was boring.

Send this article to a friend

Go TopTrends in Japan Home

Go BackArts & Entertainment Home