Eiga chirashi – the cheapskate’s best choice for a souvenir to give his mates when coming back from Japan

Eiga Chirashi

Fukuoka, Japan. Friday, the 27th of March 2015. I popped into a cinema and plonked down 1,300 yen for a ticket to see the new live-action Ansatsu Kyōshitsu (“Assassination Classroom”) movie. Nothing more to say about that here, except that I might – or might not – bother to write a review in due course.

Before the appointed screening time, I wandered about in the cinema lobby…

…and struck gold.

Right there, mounted against a wall, was a long shelf stocked with piles of eiga chirashi: those colourful mini-poster-like flyers used for promoting upcoming releases. (I’ve written about several examples that I actually paid for at a collectors’ store – see here and here.) Needless to say, I longed to help myself to the flyers like a famished man at a buffet table, though did feel a tinge of shame at the idea of shovelling the lot into my bag so I severely trimmed my scope to just those items with an anime, manga, or game connection (Japanese franchises only, not including imports). That left me with seven candidates, to which I added an eighth that didn’t meet my criteria but whose subject piqued my interest.

And that’s my haul in the picture up there. Interestingly, the one that I’m most eager to watch is the only one with no relationship to contemporary pop culture, represented by the chirashi on the upper right-hand side. 日本のいちばん長い日 (literally “Japan’s Longest Day”, although titled in English on the flyer as “The Emperor in August”) covers a relatively little-known incident that took place during the closing days of the Second World War – easy bait for a history buff like me. There’s a small chance that I might be in Japan again when it screens this August, so I’ll have one more thing to look forward to in addition to the summer festivals that I’m hoping to see.

So if you’re in Japan and there are people back home who are just dying to ask you for souvenirs, swing by the nearest cinema and take a glance around the lobby. Pluck a few choice freebies, slip them into cheap or recycled plastic sleeves, and hand them out saying that they’re collectibles (which happens to be perfectly true). A few pennies saved, and lots of goodwill earned.

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