24 August 2016

Hiroshima 2016 Focus on Japanese Animation: Day 1

Hiroshima 2016 Focus on Japanese Animation: Day 1

Hiroshima 2016 Focus on Japanese Animation: Day 1
Thursday, August 18
8月18 日(木)

As mentioned in 16th International Animation Festival Hiroshima 2016: Overview, the country focus at this year’s festival was Japan.  Since its founding, the motto of the Hiroshima festival has been “Love and Peace.”  The festival co-founders, the late Renzō Kinoshita and current festival director Sayoko Kinoshita, made a film about the bombing of Hiroshima called Pica-don (ピカドン, 1978) ) (read review) which is one of the greatest anti-war animations ever made.  Isao Takahata’s Grave of the Fireflies was made in the same spirit as Pica-don, which is why it is fitting that it should have opened the Japan Animation Special.  It was followed by two documentaries by anime pioneer Taiji Yabushita (薮下泰司, 1903-1986) about early Japanese animation history. Yabushita was the director of Tōei Animation’s first full colour feature anime The Tale of the White Serpent (1958), as well as their early features Magic Boy (1959) Alakazam the Great (1960), The Littlest Warrior (1960) and Arabian Nights Sinbad’s Adventures (1962).

Japanese Animation Special 1: Feature Animation

Grave of the Fireflies
Isao Takahata / 高畑

Japanese Animation Special 2:
Japanese Animation History Part I and II by Taiji Yabushita
1. Manga Tanjo (Japanese Animation History Part I) / Taiji Yabushita / 1971
2. Anime Shingacho (Japanese Animation History Part II) / Taiji Yabushita / 1973

日本アニメーション大特集2:『漫画誕生』、『アニメ新画帖』藪下 泰司
1. 漫画誕生 藪下 泰司
2 . アニメ新画帖 藪下 泰司

Japanese Animation Special 3:History

This selection of films celebrates early animation pioneers in Japan.  It includes rare examples of the earliest commercial animation made in Japan – Jun’ichi Kōuchi’s Namakura Gatana (1917) and Seitarō Kitayama’s Urashima Tarō (1917).  Both films were considered lost until a researcher discovered copies in an antique shop in Osaka in 2008.  There is also an early work by Sanae Yamamoto, who later in life would help produce Toei Animation’s first feature anime, as well as works by Hidehiko Okuda, Tomu Uchida, Hakusan Kimura, Kiyoji Nishikura, and Ikuo Ōishi.  Yoshitsugu Tanaka’s Chimney-Sweeper Perrault (1930) is a rare example of an early silhouette animation film (kage animation).  Inspired by screenings of Lotte Reiniger’s works in Japan in the 1920s and Japan’s domestic traditions of kage-e and kage (shadow/silhouette) puppetry, Noburō Ōfuji became a master innovator of this technique in animation.  His work features heavily in this programme, including his 1952 film The Whale, which alongside his work The Phantom Ship (1956) brought his unique style of animation to the attention of European critics in the 1950s (Venice Biennale, Cannes, etc.).  He is considered Japan’s pioneering independent animator.  See: Noburō Ōfuji Award

For reviews of these films see:  Chameko’s Day, Whale

1.  A Blunt Sword (Namakura Gatana, 1917), Jun’ichi Kōuchi
2.  Urashima Tarō (1917), Seitarō Kitayama
3.  The Rabbit and the Turtle (1924), Sanae Yamamoto
4.  The Tale of Crab Temple (Kanimanji Engi, 1925) Hidehiko Okuda, Tomu Uchida, Hakusan Kimura
5.  Chimney-Sweeper Perrault (1930), Yoshitsugu Tanaka
6.  Noroma-na jiji, Noburō Ōfuji 
7.  A Ship of Oranges (Mikansen, 1927), Noburō Ōfuji 
8.  A Spider's Thread (1946), Noburō Ōfuji
9.  Whale (Kujira, 1952), Noburō Ōfuji
10.  Princess Kaguya (Taketori Monogatari, 1961), Noburō Ōfuji
11.  Chameko’s Day (1931, Kiyoji Nishikura
12.  A Fox and a Badger in Rivalry (1933), Ikuo Ōishi
13.  Ponsuke's Spring (1934), Ikuo Ōishi

1. なまくら刀 幸内 純一 
2.  浦島太郎 北山 清太郎
3. 教育お伽漫画 兎と亀 山本 早苗 
4.  蟹満寺緑起 奥田 秀彦、内田 吐夢、木 白山 
5. 煙突屋ペロー 田中 喜次 
6.  のろまな爺 大藤 信郎 
7. みかん舩 大藤 信郎 
8.  蜘蛛の絲 大藤 信郎 
9. くじら 大藤 信郎 
10. 竹取 物語 大藤 信郎 
11. 茶目子の一日 西倉 喜代治
12. 動絵狐狸達引 大石 郁雄
13. ポン助の春 大石 郁雄

Japanese Animation Special 4:History

This selection features more works by early Japanese animation pioneers.  Yasuji Murata was mentored by Sanae Yamamoto in animation techniques and went on to become a master of cutout animation – a style used by most early animators in Japan because of the expense and lack of availability of celluloid for cel animation.  Murata is famous in particular for his use of popular Japanese characters such as folk hero Momotarō and popular manga figure Norakuro the dog.  Wagorō Arai was a dentist who dabbled in silhouette animation – read more about him here – inspired, like Noburō Ōfuji by seeing the works of Lotte Reiniger in the 1920s.  One of his most renowned works, Madame Butterfly's Fantasy (1940), was co-directed by Nakaya Tobiishi.  Mitsuyo Seo is famous in the western world for being the director of the notorious propaganda feature anime Momotaro's Divine Sea Warriors (1945).  But just as Walt Disney is not defined by his company’s World War II propaganda works in the USA, Mitsuyo Seo is acclaimed for his contributions to the development of anime as we know it today.  His animation inspired a young Osamu Tezuka and many others to become animators themselves.  Ari-chan (1941) is arguably his best work and was made with the assistance of Tadahito Mochinaga.  Learn more here.

1.  Animal Olympic Games (1928), Yasuji Murata 
2.  Two Worlds (1929), Yasuji Murata 
3. Princess of the Moon Palace (1934), Yasuji Murata 
4.  Madame Butterfly's Fantasy (1940), Wagorō Arai, Nakaya Tobiishi
5. Twilight Crane (c. 1989-93), Wagorō Arai
(aka A Japanese Folk Tale: The Crane Returns a Favour)
6.  Private Norakuro Series 1 (Norakuro ittohei, 1935), Mitsuyo Seo 
7.  Private Norakuro Series 2 (Norakuro nitohei.1935), Mitsuyo Seo
8.  Duck Brigade (Ahiru Rikusentai, 1940), Mitsuyo Seo
9.  Ari-chan the Ant, Mitsuyo Seo

1. 動物オリムピック大會 村田 安司
2. 漫画 二つの世界 村田 安司
3. 新版 月の宮の王女様 村田 安司
4. お蝶夫人の幻想 荒井 和五郎 、飛 也 
5. 昔噺名残之太布 おつる別れの場 荒井 和五郎 
6. のらくろシリーズ のらくろ一 兵 瀬尾 光世 
7. のらくろシリーズ のらくろ二等 兵 瀬 光世 
8. あひる陸戦隊 瀬 光世 
9. アリチャン 瀬 光世 

Japanese Animation Special 5:History

Some have called Kenzō Masaoka “the Japanese Walt Disney” or “the Father of Japanese Animation.”  While he did not share Walt Disney’s business acumen, he certainly was a superior animation artist.  He was a mentor to Mitsuyo Seo, Yasuji Mori, Akira Daikubara, and Masao Kumakawa, whose work The Magic Pen (1946) also features in this selection alongside Masaoka’s works.   Masaoka is seen as a key figure in the birth of what is now Toei Animation. Read reviews of his works The Spider and the Tulip (1946), Cherry Blossoms (1946), and Tora-chan: The Abandoned Kitten (1947). 

1.  Nonsense Story, Vol.1: Monkey Island (1931), Kenzō Masaoka
2.  The Spider and the Tulip (1946), Kenzō Masaoka 
3.  Cherry Blossoms (Sakura, 1946), Kenzō Masaoka 
4.  Tora-chan: The Abandoned Kitten (1947), Kenzō Masaoka 
5.  The Magic Pen (1946), Masao Kumakawa 

1. 難船ス物語 第壱篇 猿ヶ嶋 政岡 憲三 
2. くもとちゅうりっぷ 政岡 憲三 
3. 桜 政岡 憲三 
4. すて猫トラちゃん 政岡 憲三
5. 魔法のペン 熊川 政雄