Oldest Surviving Japanese TV Anime's Film Discovered
Despite being almost 55 years old, the condition of the film is good. The anime was produced with paper cut-outs with a runtime of eight minutes, 53 seconds. It told a humorous story of a mole named Kuro-chan who embarks on a space voyage in his dreams. Actress Sonomi Nakajima voiced the dialogue and sang the song in the anime.
While the existence of this work was known to researchers, they could not confirm that a film of it had survived until now. Then, it was discovered in a warehouse in NTV's Ikuta Studio in Kawasaki City this past February.
Japan began full-fledged color television broadcasts in 1960, but experimental color works were produced on a trial basis beforehand. Since color televisions were not in widespread use, most viewers saw this anime in black-and-white.
Atarashii Dōga Mitsu no Hanashi, a 1960 black-and-white work produced by NHK, was considered the oldest surviving Japanese television animation until this recent discovery. Japan's first 30-minute television series, the black-and-white Tetsuwan Atom (Mighty Atom/Astro Boy), would not air until 1963.
The anime channel BS Animax will air Mogura no Aventure on July 21 at 7:00 p.m. as part of the TV Anime 50-nen no Kinjitō special.