Database for Animation Studies


On the Earliest (Foreign) Animation Films Shown in Japanese Cinemas

In 1933 film critic Yoshiyama Kyokkoclaimed that a 1909 film called Nippdru no henkei had been the first (Western) animation film to be screened in a Japanese cinema. In 2001 animation historian Watanabe Yasushi showed that a film called Nipparu no henkei premiered in Tokyo's Asakusa Teikokukan on 15 April 1912, but any details to identify this film were still lacking. Finally, in December 2012 it became possible to ascertain that Nipparu no henkei had been Emile Cohl's 1911 film Les Exploits de Feu Follet, released in other countries as The Nipper' s Transformations. In this note the identification process is retraced; moreover, other possible contenders for the title of 'first animation film shown in a Japanese cinema' are considered.

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