2017 marks the 100th anniversary of the Japanese animation industry. In other words, anime is now 100 years old! In celebration, the National Film Center at the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo has now opened an official “Japanese Animated Film Classics” website. The website is now screening classic Japanese anime, some of which date back from 1917!
These are some of Japan’s oldest surviving animated films, which include the restored version of Junichi Kouchi’s Nakamura Gatana. These films were once lost to time, however, several film lovers stumbled upon them in an old antique shop. These films include Nakamura Gatana, as well as “Urashima Tarou” from 1918. They are also streaming the oldest one in the collection, Shimokawa’s “Imokawa Mukuzo Genkanban no Maki”. The film blazed a trail for future Japanese animation when it premiered back in January 1917! Yes folks, the short 50-frame short film which may be the predecessor to today’s anime is part of this!
The website features a total of 64 works, all from some of Japan’s pioneer animators. These include legends like Ikuo Oishi, Shigeji Ogino, Hakuzan Kimura, Mitsuyo Seo, Yasuji Murata, Noburou Oofuji, and Kenzo Masaoka, as well as Sanae Yamamoto. And the best part of this is that they are even showing these films with subtitles! This is a very important piece of film history right here! http://animation.filmarchives.jp/works