Lozhkina A.S. The All-Union Society of Cultural Communication with Foreign Countries...

The All-Union Society of Cultural Communication with Foreign Countries and Soviet-Japanese Cultural Relations (1925-1939)

A.S. Lozhkina

On the basis of archival data the article presents an analysis of the role of the All-Union Society of Cultural Communication with Foreign Countries in building up Soviet-Russian cultural relations and highlights the major stages of bilateral relations in the period from 1925 to 1939. Those were cultural events that enhanced friendly bilateral relations. The two countries and its people discovered each other and their customs and traditions through various exhibitions, film screenings and other events of this kind. Thus, Kabuki Theatre tour in the USSR and Boris Pilnyak's visit to Japan greatly contributed to cultural rapprochement between the two countries.

Keywords: The All-Union Society of Cultural Communication with Foreign Countries (VOKS), Soviet-Japanese cultural relations, E. G. Spalvin, O. D. Kameneva, Kabuki Theatre, culture, B. Pilnyak.

1925 became the turning point for Russian-Japanese cultural relations: Japan and the Soviet Union signed the Soviet-Japanese Basic Convention in Beijing, which established diplomatic and consular relations between the countries. The same year the All-Union Society of Cultural Communication with Foreign Countries that was to develop scientific and cultural communication between Soviet and foreign institutions, public organizations and individual scientific and cultural workers was set up.

VOKS activity was covered in researches by the leading historians: S. Fitzpatrick [1], M. David-Fox [2], A. Golubev, V. Nevezhin [3], L. Stern [4], as well as in the doctoral thesis of Y.A. Gridnev [5]. However, the role of the Society in Soviet-Japanese relations has never been the subject of special study.

The Society emerged after the Foreign Assistance Committee at the Central Executive Committee of the USSR had been transformed into VOKS. Olga Davydovna Kameneva (Lev Kamenev's wife and Leon Trotsky's sister) was appointed its first head. The main task of the Society was to disseminate information on the achievements of Soviet culture and to create a positive view of the USSR in Europe, America and Asia.

Thanks to Olga Kameneva's unfailing and dedicated work, VOKS gained recognition with the Soviet leaders and proved to be useful for the People's Commissariat for Foreign Affairs, Komintern (Communist International), and the Organizational Bureau of the Central Committee. The Society, certainly, had close contact with OGPU-NKVD (Joint State Political Directorate and People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs), and one of VOKS' tasks was to monitor cultural ties of the USSR with the outside world and to collect information about foreigners entering the country. VOKS was a propaganda structure, to put it more precisely - a counter-propaganda body directed at impacting views and opinions of "...the wide circles of non-party members foreign intelligentsia..." [6]

VOKS carried out its mission of expanding and sealing cultural relations with other countries being supported by its representatives and pro-Soviet members of Societies for Cultural Rapprochement.

Developing relations with Japan was an important issue on the VOKS agenda. Materials from the State Archive of the Russian Federation (GARF) prove this. Thus, according to these documents, Japanese societies for cultural ties outnumbered similar organization in other countries. Among them were the following:

1. Nitiro Gaidzutsu Kyokai (Japanese-Soviet Literary and Artistic Society) which laid the foundation of Soviet cultural ties in Japan. It was organized in 1925 by Ujaku Akita [7] and brought together Japanese writers, who were friends of the USSR. It numbered about 2,000 people, published Nitiro Gaidzutsu magazine and various Soviet fictions.

2. Japanese-Soviet Society that was established in 1926 and featured some 700 members.

3. Коkusai Bunka Shinkokai (Society for International Cultural Relations) emerged in 1934 following the expulsion of Japan from the League of Nations. Its major task was to mitigate the effects of this and to expand cultural exchange with other countries. The Society was mostly engaged in bringing the Japanese to the USSR. It should be noted that Soviet leaders were interested in Bunka Shinkokai for a reason. First, it could have provided VOKS with scientifically valuable materials, and second, it was officially supported by Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and this was an excellent channel of interaction between the two countries.

4. Nisso Bunka Kyokai (Japanese-Soviet Cultural Society). It mainly comprised young writers, artists and journalists. According to archival materials, the Society was widely persecuted by police. In the 1930s, when Soviet-Japanese relations were deteriorating, VOKS was strengthening the Nisso Bunka Society by engaging outstanding Japanese scientists and businessmen interested in friendly relations with the Soviet Union in its activity.

A significant role in the development of Soviet-Japanese cultural and scientific relations and creating a positive view of the Soviet Union in Japan was played by the famous Russian orientalist, founder of Japanese studies in the Far East, VOKS envoy in Japan - Evgeny Genrikhovich Spalvin (1872-1933).

E. G. Spalvin was an expert on the Japanese language, culture and history, he wrote numerous scientific works and manuals, and worked as an editor of Izvestiya Vostochnogo Instituta (Eastern Institute News) and Izvestiya Vostochnogo Fakulteta (Eastern Faculty News) [8] periodicals.

From 1925 to 1931 Spalvin worked as a secretary and translator of the Soviet plenipotentiary mission in Japan and as a VOKS envoy.

E. G. Spalvin was actively involved in arranging numerous exhibitions of Russian and Soviet art in Japan, including the ones of propaganda posters, books and photos; he also took part in organizing scientific conferences, initiated and curated academic exchanges. And he is the one to praise for the Japanese Kabuki Theatre company coming to the USSR.

Spalvin's multifaceted activity was a big contribution to the establishment and development of cultural and scientific relations between the countries as well as shaping positive view of Japan in the Soviet Union and vice versa. His work was also important policy-wise as, despite the establishment of diplomatic relations, the situation in the Far East continued to remain complicated and tense.

In his reports and letters to the VOKS chairman Fedor Nikolaevich Petrov, Spalvin attempted to describe various sides of Japanese society from all possible angles, noted its peculiarities, pointed at possible opportunities to expand and improve relations between the countries and favourable moments for this. In the early thirties, E. G. Spalvin noticed that Japanese are keen on innovations and technical inventions. Thus, he mentioned their use of theatrical photos: "Last year in Osaka I was at Shochikuza Theatre [9] where the entire afterpiece was being photoshot from beginning to end with those devices which allow making instant pictures without magnesium or for the last 2-3 months this has been somehow done with the help of flash". [10]

Spalvin characterized Japan as a country following the capitalist path of development, however, with the specifics of preserving patriarchal relations in the society. E. G. Spalvin in his reports tried to adduce concrete examples to show how unique Japanese society is, the fact that needed to be considered in forming the Soviet foreign policy.

The VOKS representative in his letters tried to emphasize the ability of the Japanese to adapt and adjust European achievements to the specifics of their local development. As a proof, find his admiration of Japanese using ads to promote goods among the population. "Noma Magazine King [11] who is also the head of Hochi Newspaper [12] has bought up all Imperial tickets [13] from 1 March to 18 March of this year in commercial purposes, distributed to friends and acquaintances and sold the rest earning some good money. All those who came to the show were treated to the new drink that was produced and put in the market by Noma himself." [14] At the same time, Spalvin drew the VOKS chairman attention to the fact that in Japan nothing can be done without advertising, thus, emphasizing Japanese skills in doing business and building economic relations. Therefore, already back in the 1930s, he noted the Japanese having special approach to business management.

On the other hand, Spalvin adduced this example to show that Japan had developed market relations, which changed the consciousness of a certain group of population. It could be assumed that Spalvin believed the Land of the Rising Sun have already been past direct borrowing from the West and moved to the next stage of development.

Having studied the specifics of Japanese consumer preferences, Spalvin suggested that Soviet goods should have been wrapped in original packaging to be promoted in the Japanese market; he made a sort of marketing recommendations: "Even street vendors selling from stalls at night have their goods originally packaged. Meanwhile our handicraft products have nothing of this kind. Boxes, in which dolls were sold, should have never reached the shelves and been burnt instead. An appropriate packaging for a doll is worth 25 sen [15] but can bring 75 sen extra. If Japanese can say that a gift is good for nothing even about a beautiful thing, just imagine their reaction to these dolls, which are beautiful but sold as if they had been taken out of a trash can. If we regard this packaging as a certificate of origin, we shouldn't be expecting returns." [16]

These remarks and suggestions seemed to concern not that big issues, however, overall were a source of valuable information for the development of Soviet-Japanese relations. The subtleties of Japanese perception of the world around that Spalvin noted helped bearers of European culture to come to a closer understanding of the Eastern society and build not only political, but also economic and cultural relations accordingly.

He also spoke about such a national feature of the Japanese as sentimentality. Spalvin mapped out favourable situations for the development of Soviet-Japanese relations as well. One of such moments was historical anniversaries. Japanese remembered the ones who showed the cultural world to the Land of the Rising Sun or brought them railway transport. Spalvin emphasized that historical ties are of great importance when building relations with the Japanese.

His comments on the Japanese culture and its contribution to the development of the global civilization are of special interest: "Lately, Japan has greatly contributed to the hall of fame of brilliant music. It can be even said that they have big names known all over the world." [17] Being a music connoisseur, at the beginning of 1931 Spalvin tried to organize Sekiya Toshiko's [18] tours in Moscow. However, all arguments of Evgeny Genrikhovich were shattered and her visit was not approved by VOKS heads.

The VOKS envoy's letters imply that Japan is an amazing country blending the achievements of both European and Eastern cultures; Japanese people, in his opinion, needed to be treated specially when setting up relations. Spalvin tried to draw the Soviet leaders' attention to the fact that culture plays a significant role in political life of the two countries; therefore, artistic figures could make a crucial contribution to strengthening relations between the USSR and Japan.

VOKS had four major formats of cultural cooperation:

1. Exhibitions, concerts, theatrical tours;

2. Exchange of books and scientific materials;

3. Film screenings;

4. Japanese people visiting the USSR and vice versa.

VOKS especially succeeded in exhibition-arranging and dealt with it extensively, this format was really popular among the population of the two countries. Those were mostly exhibitions of books and posters, porcelain, arts and crafts, painting and graphics.

One of the first such events was the industrial and trade exhibition which opened in January 1926 in Daymaru department store in Osaka under the auspices of Osaka Asahi Shimbun and Osaka Mainichi Shimbun newspapers.

In April 1926, Moscow hosted the Japanese literature night as part of which actors of the Meyerhold Theatre showed their artistic interpretation of Kagekiyo.

In Moscow, Leningrad, Kiev, Kharkov, Odessa and Minsk the exhibition of Japanese children's books and drawings was held.

In May 1927, the All-Union Society together with the Soviet-Japanese Association and the Asahi Shimbun newspaper organized an exhibition featuring about 140 canvases and 200 drawings of Russian avant-garde artists.

In August 1931, the Japanese-Soviet Literary and Artistic Society held an exhibition of materials on Soviet culture. However E. G. Spalvin in his letters described it as "the mausoleum with the remains of the long-late society". "It will take one 3-5 min maximum to walk around. A couple of old books, pictures and posters exhibited mostly without explanations. There are some previously unseen posters from the collection sent by VOKS to Akita through the plenipotentiary mission, but he received them not from the mission but somehow directly, most likely via some special mediation from the outside. Three days after the opening (2nd, 3rd, 5th), the so-called exhibition saw only 25 visitors." [19]

In the early 1930s, Japanese paintings from the Museum of Fine Arts and the Oriental Art Museum were on display in Russia's capital and enjoyed great interest among Muscovites.

Kabuki Theatre 1928 tour became one of the most important events in Soviet-Japanese cultural and political relations. It was also unique due to the fact that it was the Theatre's first tour outside Japan. Great contributors to the trip were adviser of the Soviet Plenipotentiary Mission to Japan I. M. Maisky and envoy A. A. Troyanovsky. [20] However, VOKS staff bore the main burden of organizing the tour across the USSR, including search of a venue, distribution of tickets and organization of all official meetings. All difficulties faced by the Society were described in the letter of VOKS Far East aide D. I. Novomirsky to I. M. Maisky: "It's hard to describe in a few words those uncountable trials and tribulations we've gone through. It would not be worth mentioning if it hadn't impacted the success of the whole event. Thus, we had baggage stuck with customs for days and us being unable to redeem it, as we were not given 500-600 rubles, workers standing idle because we had no money to purchase materials. You can easily understand what and how we felt when we knew that just one day might make the whole premiere fail and trigger a very serious scandal which will immediately be picked up by the White Guard press in Europe and, of course, in Japan in particular."[21]

Kabuki performed in Moscow and Leningrad. The cast of 19 actors, 8 musicians and 8 staffers was headed by Ichikawa Sadanji II. [22] They brought three shows that saw tremendous success. Actors had a chance to see performances of Moscow theatres and communicated with Soviet theatrical figures and playwrights. The meeting with Sergei Eisenstein was the most important moment of this visit.

VOKS staff positively assessed the theatre's visit to the USSR. Thus, the head of the Arts Department L. N. Chernyavsky said at the Sonoike-Koku event: "... both Meyerhold's and Tairov's theatres undoubtedly did absorb and process such elements of Japanese theatre as the revolving stage which is an interesting solution to the problem of time and place unity, no box set, music during the show or the well-known flower path - extra stage section raised over the audience etc." [23]

Kabuki tour allowed S. M. Eisenstein to compare Japanese acting principles with the European concepts of expressive movement and monistic ensemble. Interest of Soviet intellectuals in the Japanese theatre can be explained by search of new forms of theatrical performances against the backdrop of a new emerging culture.

D. I. Novomirsky in his letter to I. M. Maisky explained the success of the tour by the following: "When finally our theatre professionals agreed to give one performance in the Bolshoi Theatre after 16 performances in Moscow were sold out to the very last ticket, all seats to the Bolshoi Theatre vanished within several hours even being overpriced. At the same time, in order to avoid stampede at the box office and speculators, the latter phenomenon by the way, is really huge with Kabuki tickets (the rouble-worth one were sold for 15), special police squads were called to the site, people were escorted to the cashier in groups of ten, and everyone could buy two tickets maximum, while representatives of public organizations could buy 10 tickets; success was beyond all our expectations." [24]

The performance was attended not only by intelligentsia, but also wide circles of white collars and workers who "had the most favourable impressions." The audience managed to grasp originality and artistic sensitivity of Japanese acting.

Meanwhile, the 1931 concert commemorating composer Modest Mussorgsky became an important cultural event in Tokyo.

VOKS assisted Japanese musicians coming to the USSR in every possible way, thereby hoping for the rapprochement of the two countries. Thus, it organized the visit of the famous Japanese conductor Hidemaro Konoye. VOKS Chairman F. P. Petrov had the following pro-arguments for the management: "Konoye is not only an outstanding musical figure and a fervent propagandist of Russian music in the Far East, but he also belongs to one of the oldest Japanese families closely related to the Imperial House. Thus, Konoye visiting Moscow and performing for the audience needs to be regarded as a friendly political act.

To say nothing about organizational and technical difficulties, a possible cancellation of such a concert will, undoubtedly, be the most shameful political error and can be perceived in Japan, as a manifestation of the obvious hostile attitude." [25]

The concert enjoyed enormous success - on 25 January 1931, Konoye Hidemaro conducted the expanded State Radio Symphony Orchestra (104 musicians).

The event's importance was highlighted by its top-notch attendees that included A.S. Enukidze, L. M. Karakhan, VOKS Chairman F. Petrov, People's Commissariat for Foreign Affairs and VOKS top staffers and members of the Japanese Embassy headed by Ambassador Koki Hirota. In the foyer they could see a small exhibition on cultural relations between the USSR and Japan.

The audience which flooded the hall was especially fascinated by Japanese music (ancient and modern) in Konoye's interpretation, as he was both conductor and composer. [26]

Book exchange was one of the most affordable ways of cultural exchange between the countries. The exchange was conducted with large cultural organizations - universities, museums and well-known public institutions. VOKS tried to get from Japan mostly technical and economic books. Distributing Soviet literature among Japanese scientific and creative intellectuals was, certainly, also important. Book-exchange became especially vital after the early 1930s, when Soviet scientists were limited in their travels outside the country.

Due to the specific conditions Soviet scientists were in, VOKS took the function of organizing scientific materials exchange. The Scientific and Technical Sector of the Society carried out the exchange of seeds, plant and soil samples, herbaria. The exchange mostly went through the Kokusai Bunka Shinkokai organization.

As for the film section, its goal was to bring Soviet motion picture art to the foreign audience. Thus, it carried out creative exchanges of film industry representatives, information about cinema, organized film exhibitions and screenings of Soviet movies in Japan.

The exhibition of Japanese cinema, which took place in the summer of 1929 in Leningrad and Moscow, became a significant event for the two countries. The following movies were screened as part of it Education of Young Samurai, Brave Man from Kyoto by Teinosuke Kinugasa, 1926 and The Land of Islands. Sovkinoteatr movie theatre became the centre of Japanese culture for several months: the facade was Japanese-themed having been decorated with stylized paintings and small lanterns, and inside one could see welcome slogans in Japanese and posters of Japanese movies as well as show-windows with exhibits. The Moscow exhibition featured six sections: film production, film network, actors, movies, posters and press. Historical "samurai" movies were an important section of the exhibition. [27]

VOKS Chairman Olga Kameneva saw the exhibition's major task in introducing to Soviet film workers and the audience the culture of Japanese cinema and sharing experience of mass movie production. [28]

Sovkino (State Committee for Cinematography) representative Moses Rafes said in one of his lectures: "We know little about Japan; let the cinema help us to fill this gap." [29]

The importance of the Japanese cinema exhibition can't be underestimated as it also was the USSR's first exhibition of foreign cinema. Professor N. I. Conrad who delivered a lecture about the Culture of Japanese Cinema [30] was invited to the exhibition as a speaker.

As part of propaganda campaign VOKS arranged previews of Soviet motion and documentary movies for the Embassy of Japan.

And its priorities were visits to the USSR by Japanese people and Soviet citizens going to Japan.

To develop Soviet-Japanese cultural relations the first to visit Japan under the invitation of Nitiro Gaidzutsu Kyokai society was the chairman of the Moscow office of the Union of All-Russian Writers Boris Pilnyak. The writer spent two and half months in Japan, met its leading intellectuals Masao Yonekawa, Ujaku Akita and Shomu Nobori. French researcher and Slavist Dany Savelli gave a rather detailed description of Boris Pilnyak's stay in Japan [31] in her article and assessed it as sensational.

Importance of the Soviet writer's mission for cultural rapprochement of the two countries was emphasized in the report of VOKS Far East aide D.Novomirsky: "... his stay in Japan despite some negative moments we all know about B. A. Pilnyak, undoubtedly, had a positive value as it gave wide circles of cultural Japanese society a chance to revive and express their good feelings for our culture." [32]

In 1927, the group of Japanese visited the Soviet Union on the tenth anniversary of the October Revolution. The delegation met not only with VOKS leaders but also with Boris Pilnyak. Among the members of the group there were the above-mentioned Ujaku Akita and his secretary Kanzo Narumi who would later stay in the Soviet Union for nine years, as well as Maso Yonekawa, Odze Katy, Yuriko Miyamoto.

Special correspondents of leading Japanese newspapers were repeatedly invited to the USSR to see the latest achievements of the Soviet industry and culture.

In 1929, Academician Nikolay Ivanovich Vavilov visited Japan. He described his trip in the article ‘Science in Japan' published in Priroda magazine where he analyzed in detail how scientific researchers are organized in Japan of that time, briefly characterized the major researches, scientific institutions, museums and libraries of the county. In general, he was impressed by how developed Japanese science is and how Japanese seek innovative and non-standard approaches.

Throughout the 1930s, scientific community of the two countries enjoyed the exchange of experience. Thus, in particular, in 1932-1933 Academician Pavlov twice welcomed I. Hayashi who worked at the All-Union Institute of Experimental Medicine for about 11 months, mastering surgery and studying conditioned reflexes with true diligence and commitment.

The level of Japanese scientists was highly assessed by Soviet and foreign researchers at the 15 International Congress of Physiologists which took place in 1935 in Leningrad. Professor Kato and his six assistants showcased his experiments on microphysiology of amphibian nervous system, which drew attention of both Soviet and foreign physiologists.

As foreign policy grew tenser, VOKS organized the visits of Japanese athletes, especially young ones. [33]

Reports of VOKS employees on the visits of foreigners to the USSR are quite an interesting material for research. These reports about the guests' stay and mood were compiled by the employees for the management. As A. V. Golubev notes, "they were the basis for conclusions about prospects of further work with certain scientists and cultural figures for their potential use, first of all in propaganda. VOKS management considered these reports to be of a great value, so, the circular letter of August 1934 by the VOKS vice-chairman emphasized that an indicator of work of all departments is "topicality and quality" of information on the results of work with foreigners". [34]

The analysis of the reports showed that these sources are valuable as they contain national characteristics of Japanese people, as well as information on the development of Japanese society, views and personal impressions from the meetings. Thus, for example, VOKS representative N. Gervais describes the stay of Tokyo University Professor Sugiyama in Moscow and Leningrad in May 1935: "Tourist Sugiyama was talking all the time, telling us about modern Japan. He spoke of the Soviet Union very favourably, said that Japan is greatly interested in the Soviet Union and that fascism isn't widespread in Japan at all.

He is interested in the current affairs, but in general views many things from a special angle, which is typical of Japanese, and often asks absolutely unexpected naive questions. He knows the history of revolutionary movement in Russia quite well, knows some Russian history."[35]

However, the main goal of professor Sugiyama's visit was to see the Soviet school education system. In Leningrad he visited the 1st School and talked to the director of studies and met Professor Conrad as well.

Among the distinguished guests of VOKS was the employee of the Forest Station of the Ministry of Imperial Court Hasegawa and the owner of the largest publishing house in Tokyo - Iwanami. In September 1935, they visited various recreation parks, CDHVD (Central House of Creative Education for Children). They were fascinated with the scenery of The Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh [36] opera. Japanese spoke very bad English, knew practically nothing about Soviet culture, and didn't understand many aspects of life of the Soviet people.

As political mistrust grew, trips and cultural exchanges shrank. Only "reliable and verified" people went to Japan and the USSR, which is proven by VOKS reports. Cultural figures and scientists when travelling abroad were under close surveillance of police departments.

Analyzing VOKS activity brings us to the conclusion that, along with Intourist state travel agency, VOKS was actually a monopolist in organizing foreign trips and receptions of foreign citizens, and remained a link to the international organizations for cultural and scientific community.

* * *

Summing up, it could be said that Japan had a special place in VOKS activity. Though it was part of the Eastern Department, overall policy towards Japan differed from those targeting China, Turkey and Mongolia.

The analysis of archival records has shown that VOKS made a big contribution not only to the Soviet-Japanese cultural relations, but foreign relations as well. Those were cultural events that promoted the development of friendly bilateral relations: various exhibitions and film screenings helped the countries to have a better idea of one another and to get acquainted with each other's traditions, customs and worldviews. Olga Kameneva assessed VOKS role in the development of cultural relations not only with Japan, but also Europe in the following way: "Cultural ties of the USSR with Japan mattered not only for the two countries. As the experiment has shown, Japanese culture showcasing itself in the Soviet Union became part of European heritage as well." [37]

[1] Fitzpatrick S. Foreigners observed: Moscow visitors in the 1930s under the gaze of their soviet guides // Russian History. 2008. N.1-2

(35). P. 215-234.

[2] David-Fox M. From Illusory "Society" to Intellectual "Public": VOKS, International Travel and Party-Intelligentsia Relations in Interwar Period // Contemporary European History. 2002. V. 11. Issue 01. February. P. 7-32. David-Fox М. Vitriny velikogo eksperimenta. Kulturnaya diplomatiya Sovetskogo Soyuza i ego zapadniye gosti, 1921-1941 gody. (Showcasing the Great Experiment. Cultural Diplomacy and Western Visitors to the Soviet Union, 1921-1941) M.: NLO, 2015.

[3] Golybev А.V., Nevezhin V.A. VOKS v 1930-40-е gg. (VOKS in the 1930s-1940s) // Мinuvsheye. Historical Almanac. Issue 14. М.-SpB.:

[4] Stern L. The Creation of French-Soviet Cultural Relations. VOKS in the 1920s and the French Intelligentsia // AUMLA: Journal of Australasian Universities Modern Language Association.,1998. P. 43 - 67

[5] Gridnev Y. A. Vsesoyuznoye Obshchestvo kulturnoy svyazi s zagranitsey: 1925-1929 gg. (The All-Union Society of Cultural Communication with Foreign Countries:1925-1929): Ph.D thesis.

[6] GARF. F. 5283. Оp. 1. D.1.L.1a.

[7] Ujaku Akita (pen name of Tokuzo Akita) (1883 - 1962) - Japanese writer, critic and activist. In 1928-1934 he was the Chairman of the Institute of Proletarian Science and the International Association of Friends of the Soviet Union.

[8] More on E.G. Spalvin.: Pervyi professionalniy yaponoved Rossii. Opyt latvisko-yaponskogo issledovaniya zhizni i deyatelnosti E. G. Spalvina, Vladivostok, 2007 (Russia's First Japanologist: the Experience of Latvian-Japanese Research and Life and Work of E.G. Spalvin); Ikuta Mitiko. E. G. Spalvin v Yaponii (E.G. Spalvin in Japan) // Izvestiya Vostochnogo Instituta DVGU. 2001. №6. P.28-34.

[9] There used to be several Shochikuza theaters, namely in Osaka, Tokyo, Nagoya and Kyoto.

[10] GARF. F. 5283. Оp. 4. D. 73. L.118.

[11] He might have meant Seiji Noma (1878-1938) - Japanese writer, publisher and prominent entrepreneur. In 1910 he published Yben literary magazine and in 1911 founded Kodansha publishing house, whose periodicals included such magazines as Kodan Kurabu, Shonen Kurabu and Kingu. He also owned major Hochi newspaper from 1931 to 1942

[12] Hochi - influential Japanese newspaper, published since 10 July 1872.

[13] Teikoku Gekijo Imperial Theater opened in 1911.

[14] GARF F. 5283. Оp. 4. D. 74.L.123.

[15] Sen coin - 1/100 of Yen

[16] GARF F. 5283. Оp. 4. D. 76. L. 97-98.

[17] GARF. F. 5283. Оp. 4. D. 73. L.30.

[18] Sekiya Toshiko, a world famous Japanese soprano.

[19] GARF. F. 5283. Оp. 4. D. 76. L.97.

[20] More about I.M. Maisky's contribution to the tour I. М. Мaisky v Yaponii v 1927-1929 gg. (I.M. Maisky in Japan in 1927-1929)// Russkiy sbornik: issledovaniya po istorii Rossii / Edited and compiled by О. R. Ayropetov, M. Yovanovich, М. А. Коlerov. М.: Regnum, 2010. V. IX. P. 220-242.

[21] Маisky I. M. Izbrannaya perepiska s rossiyskimi korrespondentami. V 2 kn. Kn. 1, 1900-1934. (Selected Letters to Friends in Two Volumes, Volume 1, 1900-1934) М.: Nauka, 2005.

[22] Ichikawa Sadanji II (1880 - 1940) - one of the most prominent members of the famous Sadanji Kabuki dynasty. He promoted the shingaki contemporary drama on Japanese stage and was one of the pioneers of his time seeking modernization of Kabuki art.

[23] GARF. F. 5283. Оp. 4. D. 134. L.15.

[24] Maysky I.M. Ibid. Volume. 1. P.321-324.

[25] GARF. F. 5283. Оp. 4. D. 74, L.37.

[26] GARF. F. 5283. Оp. 4. D. 74.L.37.

[27] Vistavka yaponskogo kino. Мoskva, 1929. (Japanese Cinema Exhibition. Moscow,1929.) Materials from Кino newspaper, 1929 (М. Belyavsky, N. Kaufman). N.I.CONRAD Yaponskoe kino. (Japanese Cinema) D. АRKIN. Yaponskiy kinoplakat (Japanese Movie Poster) (republished by A.Troshin) // Кinovedcheskiye zapiski. № 75. P. 299.

[28] Japanese Cinema Exhibition. М.: VOKS, 1929. P.3.

[29] Vistavka yaponskogo kino. Мoskva, 1929. (Japanese Cinema Exhibition. Moscow,1929.) Materials from Кino newspaper, 1929 (М. Belyavsky, N. Kaufman). N.I.CONRAD Yaponskoe kino. (Japanese Cinema) D. АRKIN. Yaponskiy kinoplakat (Japanese Movie Poster) (republished by A.Troshin) // Кinovedcheskiye zapiski. № 75. P. 297.

[30] A brochure Japanese Cinema Exhibition by N.I. Conrad was published timed to the opening (VOKS, 1929). It contains essays on the history of Japanese cinema, its development and specifics in the context of the national culture.

[31] Pilnyak B. Korni yaponskogo solntsa (The Roots of the Japanese Sun) / compiled by. D. Savelli. М.: Тri kvadrata, 2004; Savelli D. Boris Pilniak: une figure essentielle des relations culturellessoviéto-japonaises (1926-1937) // Ebisu. 1999. № 20. Р. 73-108; Savelli D. Sest´ neizdannyh pisem Borisa Pil´njaka o ego pervom prebyvanii na Dal´nemVostoke (v Kitae i Japonii) v 1926 g. (Six hitherto unpublished letters by Boris Pil´niak (1894-1938) about his first stay in the Far East (China and Japan) in 1926. // Cahiers du monde russe. URL: http://monderusse.revues.org/86 (accessed 05.11.2015.)

[32] GARF. P. 5283. Оp. 4. D.26.L.62.

[33] Ibid. D 140.

[34] "The main goal of his visit..." Reports of VOKS staffers on scientists' and cultural UK figures' stay in the USSR. 1934-1936. // Istoricheskiy Arkhiv. 1996. №3. P. 136.

[35] GARF. F. 5283. Оp. 4. D. 217. L.7.

[36] GARF. F. 5283. Оp. 4. D. 178.L.79.

[37] Vistavka Yaponskogo kino. (Japanese Cinema Exhibition) М.:VOKS, 1929. P.3.