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Oldest Anime Found

posted on by Christopher Macdonald
Ten Years Older than Previously Accepted "Earliest" Anime

The oldest animated film created in Japan and screened has been found in Kyoto. Up until now the oldest Japanese animation was believed to be Shimokawa Hekoten's (Oten Shimokawa) "Imokawa Mukozo the Doorman," from 1917, but this newfound animation, on 35mm film, could be as much as ten years older.

Matsumoto Natsuki, a part time lecturer at the Osaka-Tokyo University of Arts and Music found the 50-frame film in an old family projector in Kyoto amongst a collection of foreign animation. It was hand-drawn in two colors, red and black, directly onto the celluloid. The creator is unknown.

In the first decade of the 1900s there were very few cinemas in Japan and only the wealthy owned projectors.

The animation depicts a young boy wearing a sailor suit writing "katsudoushashin" (movie) on a blackboard, turning around to face the audience and saluting. At 16 frames per second, the animation only lasts 3 seconds.

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