JAPANESE CINEMA POSTER SIZES & FORMATS
B0 is a rare format that measures 40 inch X 58 inches and is basically the size of two B1s. It is commonly known in Japan as a Two Sheet. These are large format quads used for display on special releases. They were issued for The Last Samurai in character versions.
B1 Japanese posters measure 40 inch x 29 inch and are slightly larger than the US onesheet. They are usually harder to find than the smaller B2 format because they are not widely collected in Japan, a country where space is at a premium and smaller poster formats like the B2 and B5 chirashi mini posters are preferred. However, they are one of the most widely issued posters for a film release in cinemas. Most B1s are destroyed or thrown away after display in cinemas.
B2 is the standard and most popular Japanese cinema poster and the most common larger format poster collected in Japan. It measures 29 inch X 20 inch. They are generally easier to come by than the B1 format.
B3 is the format used for poster advertisements on Japanese subway trains. It measures 14 inch X 20 inches and usually hangs horizontally.
B4 measures 10 inches X 29 inches and is sometimes referered to as the 'Japanese insert'. It hangs vertically. It is less common/rare with modern releases.
Chirashi, which literally means to difuse or disperse, are the 10 inch X 7 inch mini-posters or flyers that are distributed in Japanese cinemas to promote film releases. They are the most popular collectable poster format in Japan where the notion of 'kawaii' ('pretty small') is preferred over cumbersome larger posters. They are usually double sided with publicity information or further artwork on the flip side. Sometimes they open up into 4 page posters and occasionally with releases like '2046' special thicker card versions are released in limited numbers.
This consists of two B2s hanging one on top of the other vertically. It measures 20 inch X 58 inches. It is rarely used with modern releases and some of the best examples are classic posters from the late 1950s to the early 1970s. It is also known as the 'Tatekan' poster format. They were phased out in the mid-1970s for Japanese releases and earlier (1972 or 73) for non-Japanese releases (thanks to Posteroid Dot Com for this info).
Fake or bootleg versions of Japanese posters are rare and hard to come by mainly because like the British quad they are not in large scale circulation or popular for resale in the same way as US onesheets. Basically there is little financial incentive to make copies. Personally I have never come across a fake or bootleg version of an original Japanese poster format. However, I have been told that some of the Toho monster titles posters were released for the Laserdisk version and Album releases, although I understand that these are dated.
However there are a lot of copies or 'reproductions' made in different sizes, but they are easy to spot as they do not fit the standard poster size specifications for Japanese posters. A common copy is the numerous versions of the Kill Bill 'The Bride' poster on ebay.
One of the most pleasant and attractive aspects of Japanese posters is the use of special thicker or high quality textured or silkscreen paper for certain releases. For example the B1 Kill Bride 'Desert' poster is printed on thicker high quality textured paper which distinguishes it from copies. Other interesting posters with different paper styles include The Hidden Blade, Makai Tensho, 2046, Goodbye Lenin and Swimming Pool just to name a few.
Eirin marks can be found usually in the bottom right hand corners of larger format Japanese posters (not in B5 chirashis). All films released in Japan have to have the approval of the Eirin (Motion Picture Code of Ethics Committee in Japan) See picture below:
The Eirin mark is the circular icon in the image. Whilst the Eirin mark is a confirmation of a poster's authentification it is not always present on posters, so if it is missing it does not necessarily mean that a poster is a fake/reprint etc unless you have confirmed that it is present on original versions.
The following system of poster condition grading is defined by the John Warren system and is used on this website. To check the original version of this go to the Iguide Movie Poster Prices publication. All posters on this website are C7 and above with most in the C9 category and a few in the C10 category.
C1 - Poor
C2 - Poor to Fair
C3 - Fair
C4 - Good - heavily used and with damage such as pieces missing along the border, worn graphics etc.
C5 - Good to Very Good - heavily worn item with multiple pinholes, staples, edge tears, soiling and sometimes pieces missing.
C6 - Very Good - average poster with wear from use and storage - may have folds, creases, or a tear that has been repaired.
C7 - Very Good to Excellent - almost a C8 but with a couple of flaws which should be described clearly, such as scratch, pinholes or a small piece of tape on the corner.
C8 - Excellent - Investment Quality - very fine condition - may have been used in a theatre but has been carefully stored. Poster has no major defects but a few minor ones such as a dink or edge wear.
C9 - Near Mint Investment Quality - superb condition and very carefully stored with only very minor defects due to storage such as very minimal edge wear.
C10 - Mint Investment Quality - item is as new, as on the day it was made with no imperfections.