BUSINESS ABROAD: The Sword Swingers

On 45 sound stages around Tokyo and the shrine city of Kyoto last week, Japan's six major movie producers and some 20 independents were grinding their cameras at a record-smashing rate. Directors, outfitted in the early Hollywood tradition with dark glasses, sport shirts and berets, roamed the sets shouting such Southern California expressions as "Camera!", "Cut!" Japanese moviemakers, who were second only to the U.S. in the number of feature pictures produced last year, this year expect to complete 319 full-length films.

While most of Japan's movies are for domestic audiences, the...

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