I have a program from the 1981 Toei Studios version of Baian the Assassin that features a 2-page spread on the backlot prop room. The photos are frustratingly small, but I’ve done my best to blow them up for what are truly drool-worthy glimpses of behind-the-scenes at the chambara factory.
What would you give for just 5 free minutes in this building, with a shopping cart!
This isn’t even all of it…
A prop room like this is just a staging area for the wares being used on whatever particular show or film is in immediate production. The signature (or “hero”) props, lesser grade stuff for background players and extras, spare parts for repairs, whatever they’d need in any given shooting day close enough for quick access. Somewhere else, either further away on the lot or across town even, is the warehouse with hundreds more of everything you see here stockpiled from previous productions, awaiting future endeavors.