Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
benshi (plural benshi or benshis)
- A Japanese performer who provides live narration for silent films.
2003 October 3, Jonathan Rosenbaum, “See the World”, Chicago Reader:
- Silent Japanese films had explainers and narrators known as benshis, who became so popular that the Japanese commonly went to movies to see their favorite benshi rather than their favorite actor.
2007 May 7, Dennis Lim, “Newfangled Silent Movie With a Bit of Old Barnum”, New York Times:
- The film had its premiere in September at the Toronto International Film Festival with an orchestra, a singer (billed as a castrato), an interlocutor (a tradition derived from the Japanese art of benshi) and sound effects by Foley artists in lab coats.