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What do you first think of when you first hear the phrase, “Made in Japan”? Cars? Electronic devices?
If it points to something that has a form maybe those answers are common, but what if it’s something intangible?
This corner introduces you to the charm of various things made in Japan, and for the very first edition I would like to pick up on “ANIME” which is one of the most popular products in the contents industry.

I think that the opportunities you see ANIME on screen are increasing these days, now that 65% of the animation programs televised around the world are made in Japan.

There are reasons and history behind the success and popularization of Japanese animation.
It is a product of a long struggle the Japanese animation industry went through by challenging and learning from Disney, and the geniuses’ action in developing innovative technology and turning it into “weapons” of Japanese animation.

Tezuka Osamu is one of the greatest people who have considerably contributed to the history of Japanese animation.
The very first animation program shown on TV in 1963 was his masterpiece Astroboy (Tetsuwan Atom).
At that time, unlike today, the animation production was not separated from that of comic books, and therefore Mushi Production led by Tezuka took over the entire work.
Being the first to produce animation work in Japan, Tezuka thought that Japan also needed a TV animation program in series, and took over the job with extraordinarily low production cost.
This work in fact, has established the foundation of present Japanese animation.

In those days, to animate smooth movement as seen in Disney films which had already gained public recognition by then, you needed more cell sheets for one second. Tezuka, who could not afford such amount of sheets with his small budget, adopted a method called “limited anime”.
In this method, he used only 8 sheets per second and although he could not express smoothness, he succeeded in enhancing liveliness and contrast in his animation.
Other than “limited anime”, he used a method called “bank system” in which he used many still pictures and reused films, and put great effort in cutting down the production cost.

With the restrictions coming from the low budget, there was no smooth motion in Japanese animation, but that conversely created the direction method unique to Japanese animation.

Other picture makers seldom made animations for the budget was very limited, and instead worked on screenplay.
During the earlier stages many young story writers grew up.
To overcome the roughness of the images, scripts were regarded especially important and consequently many story-oriented animations peculiar to Japan have been made.

In this way, products with high scenario quality were created and like in movie films, directors, screenwriters and producers became very important in animations.

Moreover, because the budget is low and new entry to the industry does not require huge capital, many animation studios have been established from the dawn and soon many animations started to come into existence.

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Made in Japan Contents
  • Green Tea 1 / 2 / 3 / 4
    Spirited Away (2001)
  • Haruki Murakami
  • Yasunari Kawabata
  • Banana Yoshimoto
  • Yukio Mishima
  • Inazo Nitobe
  • Japanese Tea
  • Bonsai
  • VAIO
  • Canon

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