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Brigid Cherry writes:
>
> --------
> I have been endevouring to ascertain some background information
> on Japanese animation. Every avenue or lead I follow brings me to
> Anime - contemporary cell (and computer) animation. Thus far I have
> been unable to find any clues as to other forms of animation used by
> Japanese filmmakers either now or in the past. Are there no
> Svankmajers, Quays, Len Lyes, Nick Parks, Terry Gilliams or Starevichs
> in Japanese cinema, or do we just not hear about them in the West?
>
> Brigid Cherry
> University of Stirling
>
 
Brigid,
 
From your list of filmmakers, I'm assuming that you are interested in
pursuing an investigation of people working in a beaux arts tradition of
animation, and are less interested in such important filmmakers as
Tezuka or Miyazaki.  Kon Ichikawa began as an animator before turning to
live-action with films such as The Burmese Harp and Fires on the Plains --
not that I'm making a case for Ichikawa as Japan's Frank Tashlin.
 
Yes, there are Japanese equivalents to the filmmakers you have listed.
Prominent among them are such names as Noburo Ofuji, Kihachiro Kawamoto,
Yoji Kuri, and Renzo and Sayoko Kinoshita. There's not a lot in print on
this, but you might try looking at Giannalberto Bendazzi's Cartoons: One
Hundred Years of Cinema Animation. (London:  John Libbey & Co., 1994).  It
is a rather broad survey, but does contain information on Japanese
animation from Kitayama's experiments in 1913 up through the 1980s.  There
is a brief consideration of the work of Ofuji in Ian Birnie, Collage &
Cut-Out. (Ottawa:  Canadian Film Institute, 1976).  You might also check
back issues of the ASIFA News.  John Lent at Temple University has been
doing quite a bit of research into Asian animation, and Rei Okamoto, a
graduate student at Temple, gave a paper on a Mitsuyo Seo film at the
latest Society for Animation Studies conference.  They may be able to
direct you to further information.
 
I hope that this is some help in getting you started on the subject.
 
 
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Mark Langer
 
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