Database for Animation Studies


The finding and evaluation of Takashi Inui's two puppet animations filmed in the 1930s

Takashi Inui (1911-1994), a psychologist and former professor of Hosei University who showed remarkable achievements in the field of children's art education, made some puppet animations using Pathe Baby 9.5 mm film during the 1930s while attending university. One of the authors, H. Yoshimura, was informed of the existence of those films by the family of Takashi Inui. In the present work, we estimate the value of the films in the early history of Japanese animation.Since only Shigeji Ogino, an amateur, had been known as a puppet animator before World War II so far, the finding of Inui's films throws important light on the early works of puppet animation in Japan. Although there remains the possibility of the existence of the original films, we have only found a VHS videotape rerecorded from the origianal films in the 1980s, on which the narration by Takashi Inui himself was imposed. Two titles have been identified: Kagami (Mirror) perhaps made in 1931 and Ningyo to Ningen (A Mermaid and a Human Being) made in 1932, both of which are adaptations from the stories originally written by H.C. Andersen. Inui hand made the puppets for his works and also used novel techniques such as cutout shlhouette animation, sand animation, and double exposure. He have referred to a puppet animation, The Magic Clock (L' horloge magique), produced by Ladislaw Starewicz, and a small number of technical books. We conclude that Inui's works should be highly regarded from the historical viewpoint og Japanese animation.

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