16 August 2023

Katsuo Takahashi Featured Event: Exploring 3D Animated Films

Katsuo Takahashi Featured Event: Exploring 3D Animated Films 

 As part of this year’s Into Animation 8 event at The National Art Center in Roppongi, JAA member Kariko TAKAHASHI (高橋佳里子) put together a retrospective in honour of her late father, the stop motion animator Katsuo TAKAHASHI (高橋克雄, 1935-2015). The event was hosted by celebrated stop motion animator, Masaaki MORI (森 まさあき, b. 1955). 

Born in Nagasaki, Katsuo Takahashi is considered a pioneer of stop motion animation and early children’s television programming in Japan. He founded his own studio called Tokyo Central Puppet Theatre (東京中央人形劇場) which later became Tokyo Central Productions (東京中央プロダクション). His work ranges from shorts for the NHK (Japan’s public broadcaster) to films commissioned by the Japanese government to promote Japanese culture and interests abroad. 

The program gave an overview of Takahashi’s career, interspersed with discussions between his daughter and Mori. Mori recalled seeing some of Takahashi’s children’s television shows broadcast when he was a child. Kariko Takahashi shared behind the scenes details about the making of the programs and Mori shared his observations of the work from the perspective of a professional stop motion animator. 

Some of the highlights included a photograph of Takahashi with Norman McLaren and others at the NFB in Montreal taken during the 1967 Expo, photographs of audiences viewing his work internationally, and a cameo of Tadahito MOCHINAGA’s Pinocchio stop motion character from Rankin/Bass’ The New Adventures of Pinocchio (1961) in one of Prince Shisukon’s adventures. 

Screened Works: 

 Fairy Tale Series (1979 – 1985) “Little Red Riding Hood” and others 
 Those others included “Jack and the Beanstalk,” “Hanasaka Jiisan,” and “The Wizard of Oz.” 

 Wan Way Street (1957) , Ep. 3 “Battle of Potato Island” 
わんウェイ通り 第3話「ポテト島の海戦の巻」 

 Prince Shisukon (1963) Opening Credits 

 Land of Dreams: Zipangu (Yumi no Kuni: Zipangu) and Kaikoku zen kisaki 

 Mrs. 21st Century (Misesu 21 Seiki, 1971) 

 Princess Kaguya (Kaguya Hime, 1972) 

 To learn more about Takahashi’s work, check out his daughter's official YouTube channel and the Tokyo Central Production 高橋克雄著作権事務所 Facebook page. 

 © 2023 Cathy Munroe Hotes