Statement for the project of 100th anniversary of Japanese animation.
It has been 100 years since the first Japanese animation film was publicly released in Asakusa. 2017 is the 100th anniversary year for Japanese animation.
The leading Japanese animation director, Isao Takahata, described in his book that the predecessor of anime/manga can be found in 12th Century picture scrolls such as ‘Chōjū -jinbutsu-giga’, ‘Shigisan-engi’ and ‘Ban Dainagon Ekotoba’, which flourished more than 800 years ago and are now national treasures.
In Japan, artists have been fascinated by the arts of ‘drawing’ and ‘moving’, and have engaged in many trial-and-error processes.
The first animated movie shown in Japan was ‘Nippāru no Henkei’ (Orig. ‘Les Exploits de Feu Follet’), an imported film produced by Pathé (USA). Several films created by the French animator Emile Cohl were named and introduced as the ‘Dekobō Shingachō’ franchise. The titles became extremely popular and boosted creativity in Japan. In 1917, three Japanese animation pioneers (Shimokawa Hekoten, Kitayama Seitaro and Kōuchi Junichi) released their animations in Asakusa, one after another. Since then, according to our database (in 2015), 11,238 anime titles and 154,106 anime episodes have been created in Japan.
In the 1920s, the animation genre was translated into Japanese as ‘manga eiga’ (manga film) and Japanese animation has continued to evolve since then. Anime expression techniques, production methods, technology and media have been changing and making progress. Anime is regarded as one of the most prominent cultural representations of Japan. Now, many anime fans and artists all over the world are visiting Japan for sightseeing, education, research and business.
The core draw of Japanese anime is in its ability to become the driving force for the future. Japanese anime, along with multiple other media such as manga, video game, music and toys, has expressed its power with many innovations, not only in cultural fields such as films, TV programmes, visual/graphic expressions, fashion and food culture but also in cityscapes, engineering and even in science.
The year 2017 is the 100th anniversary milestone of Japanese anime, and from a long-term perspective, especially for the next 100 years, it should be a critical period and a good kick-off for many possible projects which can unite the Japanese animation industry.
It is fortunate that the government recently introduced a new policy for national culture and the arts, keeping pace with the TOKYO 2020 Olympic and Paralympic games. As part of the commitment to hosting the Olympics, many cultural projects are being implemented in the four years following 2016, which encourage collaboration with every governmental agency, company and organisation. It is necessary to take advantage of this rare opportunity to consider and promote various measures related to anime, manga, video games, music, toys and any other related industry.
We, AJA, have developed dynamic projects for this 100th anniversary, and we propose and promote a new Japanese anime vision for the future. We are building a solid foundation for Japanese anime and cultural creativity by publishing and connecting our projects.
To promote the ‘Anime NEXT_100’ project, with a long-term perspective of building a cultural archive system and knowledge base, we will take three global measures starting from Tokyo in 2017.
1.Compile and publish ‘Nippon no Anime Taizen’ (The Encyclopedia of Japanese Animation)
Edit and release comprehensive Japanese anime history from several academic points of view.
2.Promote ‘Education, Cultivation and Development for Animation human resources’
Develop the abilities of children through anime education.
Cultivate and develop artists who can create the future of anime.
3. Deploy ‘Anime Future’
Hold international and domestic exhibitions to build a cultural and industrial infrastructure that can connect the present with the future.
Hold anime-related conventions for Japanese and international collaborations.
Through the revitalisation of these measures, as ANIME NEXT_100, we will create a concrete foundation for anime culture for the next 100 years. Regardless of sex, age or location, we can present dreams, bonds, love, courage, emotion and the magnetism of anime without borders.
We hope everyone related to anime all over the world can join and share our anime future vision and promote what we do. We appreciate your cooperation with our anime culture program and the Anime NEXT_100 project team. Thank you.
Kazuko Ishikawa, AJA Director
Yasuo Miyakawa, Executive Producer
l.Isao Takahata, “Juuni Seiki no Animation (Japanese)[JR” (1999, 978-4198609719)
l.Katsunori Yamaguchi, Yasushi Watanabe, “Nihonanimation Eigashi (Japanese)” (1977, No-ISBN)
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