Nippon Gekijo Theatre


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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Toho Cinemas Ltd.

Architects: Watanabi Hitoshi

Styles: Art Deco

Previous Names: Yurakuza Theatre

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Nippon Gekijo Theatre

Located opposite the Imperial Hotel in the Chiyoda-ku district of Tokyo and the Ginza entertainment district. The Japan Theatre (Nichigeki Theatre) was opened 24th December 1933. During the occupation of Japan after World War II it was re-named Yurakuza Theatre, and it retained this name until 1952, when it reverted back to its original name. It was operated by the Toho company. It was popular with servicemen and tourists, as it presented topless models as part of its stage show productions which formed a part of the movie programme. In 1953 American jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald performed at the theatre and the concert was recorded and is available on cd. The Gene Krupa Trio and the Oscar Peterson Trio also appeared at the theatre that year. It was closed 15th February 1981 and was demolished later that year.

Contributed by Ross Melnick, Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 2 comments)

elmorovivo on April 11, 2016 at 10:02 pm

The Nippon Gekijo (Japan Theater) usually known as Nichigeki, opened in 1933. Although it looked circular in appearance from the street, the theater was actually ‘U’ shaped by design Its Art Deco interior and exterior, comprised of seven stories above and three stories below ground, were designed by Watanabe Hitoshi to accommodate both staged and motion pictures entertainment. Said to be patterned after New York’s Roxy, the Nichigeki was planned to be the biggest in all Asia with a seating capacity of four thousand. Was shuttered and demolished in 1981.

hondo on June 1, 2020 at 8:33 pm

My Dad went to the movies here during the occupation of Japan in 1945 and 1946. It had been damaged in the bombings but somehow remained relatively intact. He worked in the Dai-Ichi Insurance Company Building which served as General Mac Arthur’s headquarters GHQ.

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