Tuesday, August 21, 2007

observations in a tokyo cinema

In all other places where I've been to a movie theater, as soon as the credits start to roll at the end of the movie, lights slowly start to switch on, and people start to leave their seats. Only a few movie buffs stay to watch the credits.
Well, not in Tokyo. Here, the room stays dark until the very end and people wait until all the credits have passed. Only then the lights switch on. The few people you notice leaving the theater earlier are most likely foreigners. Ninety-nine percent of the audience stay put in their seats.
As somebody used to leave the seat as soon as the movie ends, it's kind of unnerving having to wait, even if only for a couple of more minutes, until the credits are over (oh, the stress of modern life). I take this extra time to observe...they all seem to pay close attention to the screen.
Why the difference in behavior?
Is this a country of movie buffs? No, probably not.
Do people feel that the credits make part of the movie experience?
Or is it a case of politeness? For other moviegoers, for the movie makers...
I have yet to find the answer but this is certainly... hmm, different. But very interesting nonetheless.


Pedro Scaramuzza said...


As an ocidental and Brazilian human being, I´m used to see some impolite behaviors, sometimes characterized as the brazilian way to handle with life and it´s difficulties.
For me, a mass attitude like this in Tokyo´s cinemas is a reflections of strong cultural principles.
Actually, it´s just a "first impression" from someone who´s far far away, but I believe, everyone should see oriental culture as an example of discipline and respect.
You probably have a closer and more precise view on how it works day by day.

Um abraço

Nelson said...

I'm trying to observe with the eyes of a foreigner. It's interesting to have that sensation of strangeness, of seeing something for the first time. I'm learning new things every day, some good, some not so good, but all interesting nonetheless.

Tricia said...


Chanced upon your blog. I'm a Singaporean working and living in Tokyo now, and can definitely identify with some of the things you write about.

As for the cinema- they stay put because it is too dangerous in the dark to walk out... I kid you not. I've asked at least three random Japanese people. :)


Nelson said...

Hi Trish,
welcome to the blog.
Is that a case of too much caution then? Perhaps too many 'abunai desu' words of cautioning from their mothers? Or is it the experience with earthquakes? Very interesting indeed if that's the real reason. I'll ask somebody next time, ha!
Cheers, Nelson.