Le benshi indécent commente Sally the Dancer, 1926-1927

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Brief description of practices: 

Le benshi indécent avait la capacité de tansformer, par ses commentaires, un spectacle décent en projection indécente : « In his hands any movie, whether patriotic or about mother's love, became pornography » (Jôhirana Noriyoshi cité dans Komatsu et Loden 1996, p. 47). Il commenta le film Sally the Dancer, un film simple et décent, et en fit un spectacle empreint d'une atmosphère sexuelle. 

Period - Year: 
1925 to 1928
Details about the period: 

Le benshi indécent pratiqua probablement avant et après cette période, cependant ce sont les seules dates que nous possédons.


Projection organized by:

Status of the Organizers:

Main Objectives of the Screening:


Screening program: 
No Data

Type of Projection:

Screening format:

Projection Device:

Location of the projection: 
The screening was held indoors, in a place dedicated for cinema
Details on the location of the projection: 

La projection de Sally the Dancer eut lieu au Meguro Kinema.

Hall Size: 
No Data

Sound Device:


Projected Film(s): 
Status of the film(s) in relation to the projection: 
No data
Knowledge of projected film(s): 
No Data


Status of the Commentator(s) in relation to spectators: 
No Data


Position of Commentary in Relation to Screening: 
Commentary throughout the screening
Type of commentary in relation to projected film(s): 
Subversion of the screened film
Position of commentary in relation to screening hall: 
Commentary addressed to all spectators

Language of the Commentary:

Excerpts of commentary spoken during projection: 

« If there is a scene of a wife weeping, holding her dead husband in her arms, if she should so much as lift her face and show a frown, no matter how virtuous a wife or how wise a woman she was, he would have her say, “Goodness, I am itchy, I don't want to sleep alone!” and turn everything into indecency » (Jôhirana Noriyoshi cité dans Komatsu et Loden 1996, p. 47).


Number of spectators: 
No Data
Specify number of spectators: 

« When he was at the Meguro Kinema [...], according to the manager ther, when he didn't perform the female attendance would drop to 30 percent of what it was when he did » (Jôhirana Noriyoshi cité dans Komatsu et Loden 1996, p. 46).

Type of audience:

Types of audience behaviour: 
Spectators listen and respond to the commentary
Details on the types of audience behaviours: 

Son public, essentiellement composé de femmes, répondait fortement à ses commentaires: « When he narrated, apparently most of the young women would have their hands inside their kimono or at their bosoms. He hinself said that he could not feel the joy of narrating unless he received that level of response » (Jôhirana Noriyoshi cité dans Komatsu et Loden 1996, p. 46-47).


Individuals and Research Teams who have studied this case: 
Hiroshi Komatsu
Frances Loden
Équipe Cinéma et oralité