Database for Animation Studies

Ten References to Understand Japanese Animation Prior to the Establishmentof Toei Doga

Yukari Hagihara

Recently it has become easier to research animation history due to theavailability of prewar and wartime animation online. But even so, there has notyet been sufficient research into the several decades between the beginning ofdomestic animation in 1917 through the establishment of Toei Doga in 1956.This list focuses on the period before Toei Doga’s establishment and presentsmemoirs and critical biographies about animation producers, as well as booksthat offer clues for a deeper understanding of their work.

Tadahiko Mochinaga, Animeeshon nicchuu kouryuuki: Mochinaga Taahiko Jiden (Record of Animation Japan-China Exchange: Tadahiko Mochinaga Autobiography), Toho Shoten, 2006

Autobiography by Tadahiko Mochinaga, known for his work as a stop-motionanimation artist. Covers his recollections about the production of “Momotaro noUmiwashi” (Momotaro’s Sea Eagles) (1943) under Mitsuo Seyo as well as hisproduction work in China made possible by his transfer to the Manchukou FilmAssociation Ltd.

Nihon manga eiga no zenbou sono tanjou kara ‘Sen to chihiro no kamikakushi’ soshite… (The Full Picture of Japanese Manga Films: From Their Birth to “Spirited Away” and Then..), Nihon Manga Eiga no Zenbouten Jikkou Iinkai (Full Picture of Japanese Manga Films Organizing Committee), 2004

Catalog from the eponymous exhibition held in 2004. Covers the history ofJapanese animation from its start in 1917 with valuable material from StudioGhibli as well as Oten Shimokawa, Seitaro Kitayama and Junichi Kouchi.

Yukari Hagihara

Dr. Yukari Hagihara is a lecture of and Ritsumeikan University and Konan Women's University. She studied history of Japanese animation during 1930-40’s, and obtained her doctoral degree in 2008 at Ritsumeikan University. She is the author of Masaoka Kenzo to sono jidai: 'Nihon animation no chichi' no senzen to sego (Kenzo Masaoka and his era, transition of Jananese animation from film to TV : 2015)


Before World War II, Taihei Imamura’s Manga Eigaron [A Study of Comics and Films] was the only literature on animation. In recent years, there is much literature to read. I recommend literature based on my impressions while reading them, rather than as general source materials. Other than those 10 books I chose, L. Martin’s Of Mice and Magic and Takuya Mori’s Teihon Animation no Gyagu Sekai [General Reader: World of gags in Animation] were two memorable literature sources. It might be presumptuous for me to recommend my coauthored book, Nihon Animation Eiga Shi [A History of Japanese Animation Films], but I am proud to say that the Library of Congress in the United States has purchased it.