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Studio Deen Head Self-Finances Anime in Wife's Memory

posted on by Egan Loo
Hiroshi Hasegawa animates folklore from late wife's hometown

Hiroshi Hasegawa, the 59-year-old president of Studio DEEN, is self-financing an anime retelling of local Japanese folklore to honor a promise to his wife Michiko, who passed away in May. Hasegawa is aiming to finish this anime about the stories of western Tottori Prefecture — his birthplace — and Yamagata Prefecture's Tsuruoka City — his wife's birthplace — next summer.

Michiko Hasegawa recounted to her husband the folk tales of a dog that hunted supernatural creatures. Those stories had inspired the traditional "Inu Matsuri" ("Dog Festival") at her hometown. In folklore told at Hiroshi Hasegawa's birthplace in Tottori, the god of the mountain Daisen gave the people only a handful of rice. However, the people cooked the rice in a pot and made it grow seven times larger. The couple discussed making a children's anime of their birthplaces' folk stories such as these.

Hasegawa planned to start production last winter, but his wife's health took a turn for the worse. She passed away in May at the age of 59. Hasegawa postponed the anime project during her illness, but then resolved to continue work in her memory. Production started this past August, and the staff, which includes animators from Tottori, is currently drawing the storyboards. The Nihonkai Shimbun paper published part of the storyboards on Tuesday.

The anime will feature six stories from towns in western Tottori (Daisen, Hino, Yonago) and five stories from Tsuruoka City. The episodes will each run about 10 minutes long, and will feature live-action segments. Hasegawa plans to sponsor the free distribution of the anime to educational and social institutions.

Source: Nihonkai Shimbun

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