Miyagi: Tracing Sendai’s notable jazz roots

From Fujisaki’s website
A scene from a movie explaining the relationship between Sendai and jazz.

SENDAI — Fujisaki, a department store in Aoba Ward, Sendai, is showing a documentary on its website from Dec. 30 introducing how Sendai became “a city of jazz.”

The department store produced the film called “Gakuto Sendai to Nippon no Jazu-shi” (Sendai as a city of music and Japan’s history of jazz). Fujisaki also held an exhibition in September last year about Sendai’s relationship with jazz in the years before and after World War II. The film contains footage of items from that exhibition along with interviews with relevant people.

Katsuju Okamoto, 68, who studies the history of jazz in Sendai, planned and supervised the movie.

The documentary shows documents and researchers’ testimonies about a show in 1925 when magician Shokyokusai Tenkatsu performed with a jazz band she had invited from the United States. Sendai citizens at the time enjoyed the band’s performances.

In other scenes, a reporter walks on streets in districts with deep ties between Sendai and jazz.

“It works as a precious record of [the] parts of Sendai’s history as a city of music,” said a 53-year-old chief of Fujisaki’s marketing department who was in charge of the movie’s production.

The movie is about 47 minutes long. The company also plans to distribute DVDs of the movie mainly to libraries in Miyagi Prefecture.