JP Tower Museum INTERMEDIATHEQUE


Notice on the Opening of the Exhibition
The Birth of the Cinematograph – from the Masanao Abe Collection

2014-04-22

   The Intermediatheque has renewed part of its permanent exhibition Made in UMUT – The University of Tokyo Collection held on its third floor, in order to present the newly acquired Masano Abe collection.
   Masanao Abe (1891-1966), the eleventh head of the Abe family which was formerly ruling over the Fukuyama Clan, was born in Tokyo in 1891. Since the age of eight, when his father took him to see the first motion picture imported to Japan, he showed a strong interest in motion pictures. In 1922, after graduating from the Section of Experimental Physics of the Faculty of Science of the Imperial University of Tokyo, he established in 1927 a private observatory, the Abe Laboratory of Clouds and Atmospheric Current, in Gotemba city (Shizuoka Pref.). Based on an original research method making use of cinematographic and photographic techniques, he devoted many years to the scientific observation of clouds above the Fuji mountain. His achievements in prewar Japan climatology were considerable, especially for the classification of clouds particular to the Fuji, and the elucidation of atmospheric currents. He was also a unique inventor, producing and proposing new cameras and measurement devices.
   The Abe collection, which was newly acquired by the University Museum, consists of historical items such as photographic, cinematographic and measurement devices owned by Masanao Abe, documentary films and photographs of clouds and mountains, as well as measurement records and research notes.
   The present exhibition focuses on filming devices, presenting a precious collection of Western-made home projectors and Japanese-made projectors from the beginning of the Showa period, documenting the history of film in Modern Japan, offering a unique opportunity to reconsider the birth of the cinematograph in this country.

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