Database for Animation Studies


History of Japanese Animation

Recommendations including this Document
Masashi Koide

The detailed records in Yamaguchi’s pre-war volume and Watanabe’s post-war volume, followed by the reference volume, earned this work a solid reputation as a reference book. There is little about TV animation, which was growing in importance, perhaps because of the focus on “film history,” but this work is essential for researching Japanese animation history.

Nishimura, Tomohiro

This text is a monumental contribution to Japanese animation history. It is impossible to talk about the history of Japanese animation without having read this book. New facts have been revealed, one after another, since the book’s publication; supplementing the contents of this fundamental book is the role of later researchers.

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The title states that this list is for “anime writers,” but my main objective is to present 11 books that will give you a quick grasp of production techniques and the history of so-called commercial anime (i.e. anime that gets major distribution via TV and movie theaters). I picked these publications as an introduction to the basics, and there are also many must-read pieces about specific titles that you can find in magazines and mook publications.

Initially I was thinking about “10 References That Shaped Japanese Animation Studies,” but I revised this list to references from early animation studies through the early 1980s. I’ve grouped the list into five parts: (1) Works in the early 1960s including translations that were the “classics” of their time; (2) Works in line with the legendary F&FF circle that are as a fundamental references for animation proper; (3) Experimental cinema, experimental animation, and original works; (4) Film history and animation history, and (5) Film and visual studies, which are fundamental to this area of research (+x are listed as titles only).

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