There are only a few descriptions of animation, but these few descriptions are highly significant when thinking about Meiji-era animation. This text does not even use the term “manga eiga” (manga film), which means it is a valuable recoYrd of an era when animation and trick films were not yet separated.
This theoretical book on film censorship positions animation, which was called byōga (drawing), within films in general in systematic terms, at a time when manga films had a low status. This book cannot be disregarded when considering animation under cultural control.
This exemplary work needs no introduction. Imamura, who approached manga films with an interest in film music, discusses animation from a unique perspective different from all other commentators’ at the time. Eiga geijutsu no keishiki (Forms of Film Art), from his first collection of critiques, is also important.
The history of manga films in Japan fits into the broader history of films. The films described by Tanaka, Shinbi Iida, and others—who were active film critics from before World War II—were probably the first. Nihon eiga hattatsushi (History of the Development of Japanese Films) also describes the history of manga films, but this work offers more detail.
Mori could be considered the first animation critic in Japan. As a critic, he pondered what animation was, and he played a significant role in conclusively establishing the concept of animation in Japan in the 1960s.
This is an autobiographical fiction of Ani Meita (Annie Mator). The protagonist depicts the reality of Mushi Productions from its founding to its bankruptcy. It describes a crazy, ultra-black workplace that somehow makes impossible deadlines possible.
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.
This is the memoir of an inaugural animator for Toei Doga. The reader can follow the flow of orthodox animation from Toei Doga to Studio Ghibli, ending with the product of commercial animation, while continuing to value full animation.
Japan Animation Association. Ways to Make Animated Films by 12 Authors, SHUFU TO SEIKATSU SHA CO.,LTD., 1980.
In this book, association members explain how to make animation. Osamu Tezuka, Kihachirō Kawamoto, Taku Furukawa, Nobuhiro Aihara, and Keiichi Tanaami, among others, independently produced animation. In this text, they explain their techniques, which makes for a very interesting read.
Tsugata, Nobuyuki. Nihon Animēshon no Chikara: 85-nen no Rekishi o Tsuranuku Futatsu no Jiku, NTT Publishing Co.,Ltd., 2004.
This history of Japanese animation unfolds with two great masters, Osamu Tezuka and Hayao Miyazaki, each working from his own axis. The text’s most important contribution is its telling of history as if from one perspective. Other individual animation creators are mentioned as well, but that part of the book is weaker.