Anime Adapts Child Emperor's Life After Supposed Death

posted on 2008-04-29 16:09 EDT
Recreates local legend of Antoku's 12th-century life after supposed drowning

An association in the southwestern Japanese town of Ōchi has completed a 100-minute anime feature that recreates a local legend: the life of a child emperor after his supposed "death" by drowning. The Taira and Minamoto clans fought an epic war for control of Japan at the end of the 12th century. Taira's defeat marked the beginning of the Shoguns' rule over Japan and Japan's unification under two national colors: red for Taira and white for Minamoto.

History books also say that the Taira clan's dethroned child emperor Antoku drowned when his grandmother took both their lives after the war. However, the local legend of Ōchi says that Antoku survived and escaped onto the southwestern island of Shikoku. Furthermore, the legend says that he secluded himself in the town's Yokogurazan hills and established a hidden imperial refuge.

The anime is split into two parts: a 40-minute chapter about the theory of Emperor Antoku's seclusion on Shikoku island, and a 60-minute chapter about his coming-of-age in the legend's remote "capital." The "Remote Capital" ("Harukanaru Miyako") is actually based on a play by Hiroko Shōno. The Ōchi Taira Association approached Shōno over a decade ago about turning the legend into a manga, and the plans eventually evolved into a novel, then the play, and now the anime. The local residents contributed to the 3.2-million-yen (about US$31,000) budget, and about 30 citizens and elementary schoolchildren volunteered to voice the character roles. The anime was shown on April 29 during the Emperor Antoku's 808th Anniversary Festival at the town.

Source: Asahi

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