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Tea Leaves

A yakuza movie makes the case for videodiscs

How a fading medium can revitalize a message

The 1968 yakuza movie "Big Time Gambling Boss" was recently rereleased on Blu-ray Disc by U.K. company Radiance Films in a limited edition of 2,000 copies. (Nikkei montage/Source photos by Radiance Films)

Could videodiscs make a comeback one day, if only for a specialist audience? At first glance, it would seem an unlikely prospect. Streaming services offer a huge variety of films to watch at low prices without the inconvenience of leaving your couch. Why bother to resuscitate a dying medium from the pre-internet era?

Yet, much the same could be said about vinyl records, which I collect -- both secondhand copies of classic albums and the new releases that are becoming increasingly numerous. Why do I do it? Many vinyl fans would cite the sound quality, and indeed there is a night-and-day difference when compared with Spotify and other streaming services. But that is not all, or even the main reason for me.

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