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 

23 August 2016

16th International Animation Festival Hiroshima 2016: Overview

Hiroshima 2016 /ヒロシマ 2016

Dates:  August 18-22
Venue:  JMS Aster Plaza / JMS アステールプラザ
Poster Design: Seiichi Hayashi / 静一

The 16th International Animation Festival Hiroshima 2016 came to a close last night.  The talk of the 15th festival in 2014 was the fact that for the first time in the festival’s history, no Japanese animation had made the official competition.  That was not the case this year.  Six Japanese animators and a Spanish-Japanese co-production were in the official competition and thee Japanese animators walked away with awards in hand.  In addition, Japan was the festival’s country of focus for this year.  This means that over the five days of the festival a total of 27 special programmes dedicated to Japanese animation past and present were screened.  This blog post gives an overview of the winners of this year’s festival.  It will be followed by day-by-day summaries of the Japanese programmes. 

International Honorary President
Jean-François Laguionie (France)

International Jury
Karen Kelly (UK)
Fumiko Magari 眞 文子 (Japan)
David Buob (Germany)
Alik Shpilyuk (Ukraine)
Olivier Catherin (France)

International Selection Committee
Regina Pessoa (Portugal)
Christine Panushka (USA)
Willem Thijssen (The Netherlands)
Lisa Tulin and/or Lasse Persson (Sweden)
Violeta Tipa (Moldova)
Taku Furukawa 古川タク (Japan)


The Grand Prize went to Korean animator Dahee Jeong for her work The Empty (空き部屋, 2016) in co-production with the excellent French company Sacrebleu Productions.  It is a stirring depiction of a man coming to terms with the end of a relationship, in an empty room haunted by the memories of the furniture and life that used to occupy this space.  The Hiroshima Prize was won by Russian animator Anna Budanova for her animated short Among the Black Waves (アモング ブラック ウェーヴズ, 2016), a painterly, poetic piece inspired by the northern European mythology of the selkie – people who are half seal / half human.  The Debut Prize went to Gabriel Harel of France for his work Yùl and the Snake (ユル アンド スネーク, 2015).

The Renzō Kinoshita Prize is awarded in memory of the co-founder of the Hiroshima festival and since 1998 has been given to films that represent the best in independent animation.  This year’s winner was David Coquared Dassault of France for his work Peripheria (ペリフェリア, 2015).  The jury called this depiction of an urban landscape being reclaimed by natural forces “the brilliant work of a very promising animator.” (source)   Natalia Chernysheva of Russia won the The Audience Award for her film The Gossamer (ザ ゴッサマー, 2014).

Special International Jury Prize

Two Friends (トゥ フレンズ, 2014), Natalia Chernysheva (France)
One, Two, Tree (ワン トゥ ツリー, 2015), Yulia Aronova (France/Switzerland)
Before Love, Igor Kovalyov (Russia)
Feed (FEED, 2016), Eri Okazaki 岡崎 恵理 (Japan)
Zepo (セポ, 2014), Cesar Diaz Melendez (Spain)
Chulyen, a Crow's Tale (チュリーヌ クロウズ テール, 2015), Agnès Patron, Cerise Lopez (France)

Special Prize

Satie's "Parade" (サティの「パラード」, 2016), Kōji Yamamura 山村浩二 (Japan)
Life with Herman H. Rott (ライフ ウィズ ハーマン H. ロット, 2015), Chintis Lundgren (Estonia/Croatia/Denmark)
The Master (ザ マスター, 2015), Riho Unt (Estonia)
The Sleepwalker (ザ スリープウォーカー, 2015), Theodore Ushev (Canada)
Nœvus (ヌエヴュス2016), Samuel Yal (France)
The Night of the Naporitan (ナポリタンの夜, 2014), Yusuke Sakamoto坂元 友介 (Japan)

Six films made by Japanese animators and one Swedish-Japanese co-production were in the official competition.  They included:

Age of Obscure (AGE OF OBSCURE −茫漠時代−, 2015), Mirai Mizue水江 来, Onohana   ハナ 
Satie's "Parade" (サティの「パラード」, 2016), Kōji Yamamura 山村浩二
Another Memory (アナザー・メモリー, 2014), Fran Bravo フラン ブラヴォ (Spain/Japan)
The Eye of the Storm (ジ・アイ・オブ・ ザ・ ストーム, 2015), Masanobu Hiraoka 平岡政展
Master Blaster (MASTER BLASTER, 2014), Sawako Kabuki 冠 佐和子
The Night of the Naporitan (ナポリタンの夜, 2014), Yusuke Sakamoto坂元 友介
Veil (幕, 2014), Yoriko Mizushiri  水尻 自子

The Stars of Students (学生優秀作品集) programme featured works from eight up-and-coming animators studying at Japanese colleges.  From Tokyo University of the Arts (Geidai): A Place to Name (その家の名前, 2015) by Ataru Sakagami (坂上 直) and To Heel (愛のかかと, 2016) by Madoka (円香).  From Tokyo Zokei University: I Can See You (アイ・キャン・シー・ユー, 2016) by Jie Gu (コケツ).  From Musashino Art University: Look at Me Only (あたしだけをみて, 2016) by Tomoki Misato (見里 朝希) and from Tama Art University (Tamabi): Moment of Truth (人面桃花, 2016), Seal Chen (陳希), I Can’t Breathe (息ができない, 2015) by Sayaka Kihata (木畠 彩矢香), so near yet so far (2016) by Komitsu Fujihata (藤幡小光) and Don't tell Mom (おかあさんにないしょ) by Sawako Kabuki (冠 佐和子).  Eri Okazaki, who won a Special International Jury Prize (see above) is also a Tamabi grad.

As a final note, the puppet animator Fumiko Magari (文子) screened two of her films as part of the screening of works by members of the selection committee.  Magari got her start in animation working for the stop motion pioneer Tadahito Mochinaga and went on to work for legendary puppet animator Tadanari Okamoto.  She currently teaches at the Laputa Art Animation School.  The Tale of Japanese Envoys to Tang Dynasty China (遣唐使ものがたり, 1999) is a stop motion animation she made for Nagasaki Prefecture and The Great Adventure of Miss Veedol ( ミスビードル 大冒険, 2013) was made for Aomori Prefecture.  The later film is based on the story of the first non-stop trans-Pacific flight, which took off from Sabishiro Beach in Aomori in 1931 and landed in Wenatchee, Washington. 

Next: Hiroshima 2016 Focus on Japanese Animation: Day 1


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