Saturday, January 20, 2007

History of Japanese Animation:part one
In Europe, Emile Reynaud and others were making animation as a result of research of the "movie" before inventing a movie. The same trials as its were performed also in our country. For example, they are KAGEE, NOZOKIE, SOUMATOU and UTSUSHIE, etc. Especially UTSUSHI was widely loved by peoples Edo in the city as a feature of the variety halls. The effect of motion and picture of UTSUSHIE, it was comparable to the experiment of Reynaud's. UTSUSHIE was also a non-movie as the Reynaud's was a non-movie. Birth of the true animation in our country had to wait for the appearance of the so-called "DEKOBOUSIINGACHOU" series which compiled the works of J.R.Bray, Raul Barre and others.
It is influenced by the animations of the foreign countries released one after another, a cartoonist Outen Shimokawa would begin making animation in 1917. By the method of drawing on a blackboard with chalk at first, after this method went wrong, the blank paper which printed the background was used. The film done using the method of smearing away the place where a background overlaps a person with white paints was "IMOKAWA MUKUZOU:GENKANBAN NO MAKI(Doorkeeper)" (17). It is said that this is the first animation in our country.
In a same year, a cartoonist Jun-iti Kouuchi has released "HANAHEKONAI MEITOU NO MAKI(The Fine Sword)"(17) and also Seitarou Kitayama(titler of the major movie campany NIKKATSU) has released "SARUKANI GASSENN(Battle of Apes and Crabs)"(17). It seems that Kouuchi's film obtained the best evaluation in three, and it is said that Kitayama was contained in work from the previous year. So, probably, it should consider as the pioneer of the animation of our country with three persons of SHIMOKAWA and KOUUCHI and KITAYAMA.
Simokawa and Kouuchi will stop manufacture of animation only by making several works after the first trial.(However, Kouuchi returns by political-animation "NINKI NO SHOUTEN NI TATERU GOTO SHINPEI(Shinpei Goto who stands to popular focus)" (24)).(Goto was mayor of Tokyo.)
Though a title is written, Kitayama continues work of animation energetically, becomes independent of Nikkatsu and will found the KITAYAMA EIGA SEISAKUJO(Kitayama Movie Factory) which is the first animation studio in Japan in 1921.
In this studio, films for teaching materials, such as "KIATU TO MIZUAGEPONNPU(Atomospheric pressure and suction pump) "(21) ,"SHOKUBUTU SEIRI;SEISHOKU NO MAKI(Plant Physiology:Story of Reproduction)"(22), are also made with the amusement works(For example, "USAGI TO KAME(Rabbit and Tortoise)"(24)). The type of the animation maker of our country which parallel manufacture of an amusement work and an educational work is formed here.
People who should follow pioneers, such as Sanae (Zenjirou) Yamamoto and Hakuzan Kimura, have joined this studio. It is from these men's works that we can see. However, the work of this time of these peoples were not clear though regrettable compared with what were made in the United States at the same time.
For exsample, Kimurs's "Shiobara Tasuke"(25). With the work which removed the human-nature story-side from the familiar talk of ENCHOU(the greatest RAKUGO writer and performer. RAKUGO is Japanese comical talking live show by one person)and pushed out the teachings target extensively, it cannot be said as an interesting work. Also the motion of animation was the grade which moves barely. If charm is found out forcibly, it would just call it the background by drawing of the simple taste in which a certain kind of nostalgia is given.
Or Sanae Yamamoto's "NIPPON-ITI NO MOMOTAROU(Momotarou is the No.1 of Japan)" (28). This also only transposed the old tale to animation faithfully, and it does not attract the interest except saying that the picture-book of KOUDANNSHA (The biggest Japanese publisher) moved. Probably, up to this time, the "fact" that making animation was performed also in our country will be important.

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