This article reprints the record of a 1966 hearing at the Tokyo Metropolitan Goverment Labor Relations Commission, and explains some of its meanings and uses. As a primary source, this record illustrates one side of a labor dispute at Toei Doga (now Toei Animation). Topics explored in this review include the thinking processes of a young Takahata Isao, actions made by Toishi Shun’ichi (who went on to become president of Toei Doga), and labor practices - and recognitions of that labor - at the studio. I argue that analyses centered on records such as this one will bring new and important perspectives and methodologies to the study of animation history, which has been based on analyzing artists and their films.
This paper analyzed the animation movie “Jarin-ko Chie (Downtown Story)” by Isao Takahata. The movie is based on the popular and widely known manga. Takahata tried to suppress his own creativity and stay close to the original. As a result, it is a work with few opportunities to be discussed. However, comics and movies are very different in terms of expression. Takahata's method for filling that gap was verified based on concrete images. The awareness of time and space is especially important to create a movie. This is an attempt to examine and consider a part of what Isao Takahata was trying to understand and make a movie.
This paper examines the representation of specific locations in Isao Takahata’s animated film Grave of the Fireflies and discusses the significance of visits to important places in the movie. Grave of the Fireflies evokes strong emotions. One example in this context is the school sequence where the mother of the two main characters, a brother and a sister, dies. If the scene content is compared with the real geographic location, the railroad overpass that should have been there does not appear. This absence emphasizes the sense of isolation that envelops the siblings. Further, when we consider visits to important locations in this movie, it is more like dark tourism than anime pilgrimage; that is, these are places where real events have happened, such as old battle sites. The important locations in a fictional work do not necessarily correspond to reality, and we cannot ignore the emotions aroused by the work. These aspects require further consideration.
“Heisei Tanukigassenn Ponnpoko” is an animated film produced by Studio Ghibli and released in July 1994. Isao Takahata is the author, director and scriptwriter.
In this paper, how the new town development in Japan is described in the work, and for that, the staff including Takahata described the history of Tama hills centering on Tama New Town. From the perspective of the process of the establishment of Tama New Town and how it is reflected in this work, this paper analyze Takahata’s works.
This paper examines the visual expression and characteristics of Kenji Miyazawa’s fairy tales, which Isao Takahata had hoped to make into films. I adopt the methodology of introducing the new viewpoint of animism. This is due to new developments in the theories of animism at a time when post-humanism is being anticipated in animated films. My procedure is as follows.
Firstly, I reconsider Isao Takahata’s statement about Kenji Miyazawa’s works, and his theme of coexistence with non-human beings. Secondly, I take up Kenji Miyazawa’s “The Beginning of the Deer Dance,” and confirm its emphasis on visual and auditory elements to create imagery. Finally, I find the themes of human and inhuman homogeneity and shared souls in “The Bears of Nametoko.” The fairy tale by Kenji Miyazawa which Takahata turned his attention to seems to be an indigenous tale with rich regional flavor; however, I would like to point out that if you look at it as an “animated film,” there is an eye for technology behind it.
Over the 45 years from Isao Takahata’s first production work “The Great Adventure of Horus, Prince of the Sun” (1968) to “The Tale of the Princess Kaguya” (2013), how has the image of young girls changed? This paper questions the true meaning and value of life to people in today’s society, by comparing the heroine image underlying the world view of the two films. At the same time, this means reading into the lives of the two young girls (Hilda and Kaguya), to seek utopian expressions and dystopian symbolism embedded in Takahata’s works. Furthermore, comparisons will be made between Princess Kaguya and Hayao Miyazaki’s Nausica., to cast stronger light on conflicts with modern society that Takahata’s works present. Through such attempts, the efforts of animation production to overcome the contradiction between artistic labor and industrial labor begin to speak eloquently of contradictions with reality. Ultimately, this will lead to uncovering the fact that animation works embody the “principle of hope” and aim to offer a ray of light to posterity, so we may review and rebuild our place of living.
On Takahata’s posthumous work “The Tale of the Princess KAGUYA”, Takahata described strong emotions of a girl at puberty. The girl with menarche felt that adults whom she saw insensitively came close to her. They seemed to be an obstacle to prevent her from acting freely. As a result, she lost her will to live. Both of five noble men who proposed to her and Mikado who tried to carry her off not only neglected her free will but also gave her horrors. Then, she had had her wish to come back to the moon. Before leaving the earth, she became conscious of her sin that she had not been active to enjoy her whole life on the earth.
This essay is an expansion of my earlier blog article, “Isao Takahata (1935-2018) A Towering Presence in Japan’s Postwar Animation” on animationstudies 2.0, May 7, 2018. The blog is affiliated with the Society for Animation Studies as the editors are members of the society. The blog is an internet space whereby scholars, artists and fans can present their current thought and work in a concise and prompt manner. As such, there is limited space to engage at length the deeper insights of the subject concerned. Here, I take this opportunity in discussing further my perception of the director’s contributions to the animation medium and the world of storytelling. I revisit the animated works of Takahata, review and reflect the director’s career in the postwar history of Japan, including anecdotal recollections of my research study and understanding of the his creative spirit.
In this paper, I argue that Takahata’s works possess aesthetic qualities that have not been addressed sufficiently, partly due to the lack of an overall recurring theme and specific visual traits that allow viewers to easily identify with the characters. The impact of Takahata’s work rests on their narrative meaning rather than centering on the personalities and visual charm of the key characters. The meaning stays within the animation itself, rather than branching out through merchandising or fan activity. Takahata contested the way viewers often engage with the animation medium in a popular context. He went beyond the light-hearted genre framework to produce narratives that do not lead to happy, emotionally satisfying endings. Neither did he glorify the enchanted transformative potential of the animatic image. To address his aesthetic qualities in context and examine his construction of character and their worlds, this paper analyzes his works, including Heidi, Girl of the Alps (1974), The Tale of Princess Kaguya (2013), Grave of the Fireflies (1988), and Only Yesterday (1991). Through close examination of selected sequences, Takahata’s challenge to the norms of anime structure and aesthetics are shown to be a part of his creative production process that resulted in the distinctive impact of his work.
This article discusses Takahata’s ground-breaking masterpiece, Kaguyahime monogatari, in terms of its portrayal of the role of memory, exile and resistance. While the article focuses mainly on Takahata’s film, it brings in examples from contemporary Japanese literature, Japanese animation, and the recent Disney movie Frozen II to show how memory and exile has been problematized across a wide array of recent cultural forms. In the main part of the article I show how Takahata goes beyond the bittersweet and resigned melancholy of the tenth century original tale―the story of a moon princess in temporary exile from her home--to create a genuinely radical work of art. While remarkably true to the original tale, Takahata’s film also contains a core of passionate resistance that encompasses clearly modern concerns such as feminism and environmental despoliation. Takahata does this by adding two completely original scenes: the first is an overtly feminist resistance when the protagonist imagines in fantastical detail her escape from the confines of her father’s palace. In the second example Takahata inserts another vision of resistance, in this case using music, children and song lyrics, to offer a vision of life and change that emotionally challenges the fatalistic resignation of the original tale’s ending.