Database for Animation Studies


What the Educational Film Protected: Animated Films in Japan during the Occupation

This essay examines information about censorship procedures in Japan during the Allied Occupation. After being placed in the category of educational film, Japanese animated films emerged as an art form with many diverse styles. The Tale of Solid Wood (Muku no Ki no Hanashi) in 1947 was made with the animated imagery that some audiences may perceive as awkward. Later, the form of expression seen in this film did not lead to that which is referred to by the Animation Association of Three formed in 1960 by Yoji Kuri, Ryohei Yanagihara, and Hiroshi Manabe. Rather, it influenced the Tokusatsu (special effects) genre in postwar Japan, as a unique trend that stemmed from Toho Aviation Educational Materials Production Office. Japan was in the center of rapid changes during the occupation, which saw a chaotic coexistence of liberation and censorship. This resulted in the animation film industry creating experimental works for use in the educational film genre. The educational films were something more than what simply provides education; in the history of Japanese animated film, the educational film genre is of great importance in that it set a foundation for nurturing diverse artistic styles that deviated from the mainstream ones of those days.

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