Database for Animation Studies


The Many Faces of Asian Animation

There is a long tradition in Asia, starting in India in 1915, and in China and Japan during the following ten years. However, the first golden age of Asian animation arrived between the 1950s and the 1960s, in that the two decades at least saw animation studios appear in China, India, Japan, Vietnam, while the animators innovating equipment, techniques and technologies, and contents. During the age, some studios in Japan and Korea started to do subcontracted production for major US and European animation companies, and the rest of Asia increasingly has participated in such a business until the end of the 20th century. The merits of Asian animation studios were their inexpensive and stable labor force and competency in computer and Western languages. Beginning with the first offshore production facilities in Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan, there was a rapid growth of branches throughout the Philippines, China, and Thailand, followed by Vietnam, Malaysia, and others. In Singapore, offshore animation production was due to a high competency in computer rather than inexpensive labor force. In most of Asian countries, animation studios struggled in production for their domestic markets. However, they were sometimes helped by offshore production studios, or supported by their government as were in South Korea, Vietnam, China, and Malaysia. This essay outlines histories and current situations of domestic and offshore animation production in East, Southeast, and South Asia, except for Japan which is much covered in this journal.

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