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HISTORY

The 14 Oct 1916 Motion Picture News stated that filming was in progress at Famous Players-Lasky Studios in Los Angeles, CA. The cast was reportedly comprised of Japanese stage actors, most of whom did not speak English. Star Sessue Hayakawa, who acted as translator, was credited as co-director for his efforts. Upon completion of the picture, Hayakawa was planning to open a Japanese theater in Los Angeles, with several cast members as his stock company. Some sources have suggested that assistant director Captain Ford was Starrett Ford .
       The Soul of Kura-San was scheduled to open 13 Nov 1916, according to the 4 Nov 1916 Moving Picture World and 11 Nov 1916 Motion Picture News. The 4 Nov 1916 Motography listed the release date as 10 Oct 1916. Reviews were generally positive, with some critics suggesting that Hayakawa’s wife and co-star, Tsuru Aoki, deserved credit as leading lady, rather than Caucasian actress Myrtle Stedman. The 16 Dec 1916 Moving Picture World and 30 Dec 1916 Motography noted that the film was the first to be held over for a second week at the Imperial Theater in San Francisco, CA, where Hayakawa and Stedman made a personal appearance on opening ... More Less

The 14 Oct 1916 Motion Picture News stated that filming was in progress at Famous Players-Lasky Studios in Los Angeles, CA. The cast was reportedly comprised of Japanese stage actors, most of whom did not speak English. Star Sessue Hayakawa, who acted as translator, was credited as co-director for his efforts. Upon completion of the picture, Hayakawa was planning to open a Japanese theater in Los Angeles, with several cast members as his stock company. Some sources have suggested that assistant director Captain Ford was Starrett Ford .
       The Soul of Kura-San was scheduled to open 13 Nov 1916, according to the 4 Nov 1916 Moving Picture World and 11 Nov 1916 Motion Picture News. The 4 Nov 1916 Motography listed the release date as 10 Oct 1916. Reviews were generally positive, with some critics suggesting that Hayakawa’s wife and co-star, Tsuru Aoki, deserved credit as leading lady, rather than Caucasian actress Myrtle Stedman. The 16 Dec 1916 Moving Picture World and 30 Dec 1916 Motography noted that the film was the first to be held over for a second week at the Imperial Theater in San Francisco, CA, where Hayakawa and Stedman made a personal appearance on opening night.
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SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Motion Picture
Jan 1917
p. 12
Motion Picture News
14 Oct 1916
p. 2368
Motion Picture News
11 Nov 1916
p. 2964, 3020
Motion Picture News
23 Dec 1916
p. 4023
Motography
4 Nov 1916
p. 1046
Motography
11 Nov 1916
pp. 1091-1092
Motography
30 Dec 1916
p. 1452
Moving Picture World
21 Oct 1916
p. 412
Moving Picture World
4 Nov 1916
p. 718
Moving Picture World
11 Nov 1916
p. 838, 846
Moving Picture World
16 Dec 1916
p. 1634
NYDM
4 Nov 1916
p. 27
Photo-Play Journal
Dec 1916
p. 30
Variety
3 Nov 1916
p. 29
Wid's Daily
9 Nov 1916
p. 1085
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
ART DIRECTOR
DETAILS
Release Date:
13 November 1916
Production Date:
autumn 1916
Copyright Claimant:
Jesse L. Lasky Feature Play Co.
Copyright Date:
26 October 1916
Copyright Number:
LP9406
Physical Properties:
Silent
Black and White
Length(in reels):
5
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In Japan, Naguchi, the proprietor of a tea room, disapproves of a match between his daughter Kura-San and Toyo, an impoverished artist. To make enough money to be able to marry Kura-San, Toyo travels to America to work for his uncle, a wealthy merchant. Meanwhile, Naguchi convinces Kura-San that Toyo has married someone else. A despondent Kura-San then models for American artist Herbert Graham. Following in love, she travels with him to America and lets him seduce her. When she returns to Japan and finds that Toyo has returned, having earned a lot of money, she commits suicide. Vowing revenge, Toyo returns to America with plans to humiliate Herbert by raping the artist's fiancée, Anne Willoughby. Toyo convinces Anne to come and see him, then, in front of a painting of Kura-San, he attacks her, but he lets Anne go and gives up on gaining revenge when he feels the painting's eyes looking at him, imploring him to ... +


In Japan, Naguchi, the proprietor of a tea room, disapproves of a match between his daughter Kura-San and Toyo, an impoverished artist. To make enough money to be able to marry Kura-San, Toyo travels to America to work for his uncle, a wealthy merchant. Meanwhile, Naguchi convinces Kura-San that Toyo has married someone else. A despondent Kura-San then models for American artist Herbert Graham. Following in love, she travels with him to America and lets him seduce her. When she returns to Japan and finds that Toyo has returned, having earned a lot of money, she commits suicide. Vowing revenge, Toyo returns to America with plans to humiliate Herbert by raping the artist's fiancée, Anne Willoughby. Toyo convinces Anne to come and see him, then, in front of a painting of Kura-San, he attacks her, but he lets Anne go and gives up on gaining revenge when he feels the painting's eyes looking at him, imploring him to stop. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.