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Koma Toho shutting its doors

TOKYO (TR) – Having dutifully served Tokyo filmgoers for half a century, Koma Toho is bidding farewell on New Year’s Eve. As a tribute, special screenings of films spanning the theater’s history will take place between December 20 and 31.

“We let the people choose,” explains Shiroaki Omata, a manager within the theater section of Toho Cinemas, a division within film giant Toho. “Fans of every age group and gender and our staff all participated in the selection of films.”

Koma Toho is in the basement of the Koma Theater building in the Kabukicho district of Shinjuku Ward. The 2,000-seat Koma Theater opened in 1956, when it became a home to kabuki and enka performances. Over the summer, Toho made the company Koma Stadium, which owns the theater, a wholly owned subsidiary. Toho intends to redevelop the Koma site together with the rundown building it owns next door.

Highlights from the early years of the retrospective include director Akira Kurosawa’s “Sanjuro,” the 1962 samurai classic starring Toshiro Mifune as a swordsman battling corruption, and “Yukiguni” (Snow Country), a drama from 1957 featuring an artist, a geisha, and broken promises.

“Eki” (Station), a 1981 adaptation of an Ed McBain novel that follows a detective on the trail a Tokyo murderer, and the closer “Always – Sunset on Third Street,” the period drama from 2005 that profiles a selection of disparate characters struggling in the immediate postwar era, are among the more recent titles within the lineup.

Ticket prices are at a throwback price of 500 yen. “This is a special deal to show appreciation to our customers,” the manager says.

Koma Toho is located at 1-19-1 Kabukicho. Tel. 03-3202-8100.