New Japan, Old Japan / Film fans snuggle up for sleeping bag cinema

The Yomiuri Shimbun

People including parents and their children watch the anime movie “Kono Sekai No Katasumi Ni” projected onto a building wall in Tokyo’s Ginza district on Nov. 25.

By Ryuzo Suzuki / Yomiuri Shimbun Senior PhotographerAn about 1,000-square-meter vacant lot of land in Tokyo’s Ginza district where a hotel will be built was converted into an outdoor movie theater Nov. 25 for one night only.

More than 300 viewers, including many parents and children, gathered in the cold weather to enjoy a free show that lasted about two hours. The viewers wrapped themselves in blankets and sleeping bags.

The anime movie “Kono Sekai No Katasumi Ni” (In This Corner of the World) was projected onto an exterior wall of a nearby building.

The event is part of a series of movie screenings that started in December 2015. The first was held by fathers living in Chofu, Tokyo, at a bridge pier on a riverbed of the Tamagawa river, so they could enjoy watching movies in a carefree way with children.

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  • The Yomiuri Shimbun

    The movie is projected from a homemade platform.

  • The Yomiuri Shimbun

    Viewers comfortably watch the movie.

  • The Yomiuri Shimbun

    Pocket body warmers are available.

  • The Yomiuri Shimbun

    Viewers order from a food truck at the venue.

The events were named Nebukuro (Sleeping bag) Cinema. Since the first one, an organizing committee comprising four men living in Chofu has held events mainly in the Kanto region once every month or two, with cooperation from sponsors. Events have also been held in Hokkaido and Shimane Prefecture.

The venues have varied, from a park, baseball stadium and horse racing track, to the rooftop space of a department store.

According to Tomohiro Karashina, the head of the organizing committee, children are allowed to be noisy and adults have to be patient and tolerant with them.

Because the latest show was the 20th, the organizing committee chose a venue in a prominent location, where it would be easier for a large number of people to gather.

Kazuyuki Tanaka, a 39-year-old company employee from the nearby Tsukiji area, attended with his daughter, Yui, 2, and his wife, Yuko, 39. “Because we don’t know when a child will become noisy, we’ve never been to a movie theater together. Tonight, we could see a movie I’d wanted to see for a long time, together with all my family members in a place free from worry. This has become an experience that I’ll never forget,” he said.

Notices about the event schedule are posted on Facebook and elsewhere. Viewers seem to largely feel the experience is different from watching movies on tablet computers or other devices in this age of information technology.

Events are scheduled in various parts of the country next year and later.

(New Japan, Old Japan is a series exclusive to The Japan News.)Speech


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