Spider and Tulip
Masterpiece of Masaoka Kenzo
Every artifact was made by someone, naturally. Even if it was invisible, like culture and software, we can find its originator when it is not natural.
That is also in Japanese animation culture. Masaoka Kenzo is a late director who is called “Father of Japanese animation” because he had contributed to Japanese animation a lot before and after World War 2.
He left numberless indelible traces on Japanese animation history, like Masaoka established Japan Animation Laboratory in 1937 and set up Japan Animation Inc., the predecessor of Toei Animation Co., ltd., after the war. It is said Masaoka made up the establishment of cel animation in Japan. Our Japanese animation is not here without him.
“Spider and Tulip” was published in 1943. That is the first cel animation film in Japan, written and directed surely by Masaoka Kenzo As the title tells you, it is a children fantasy film. It was created and released during the war, but is not a propaganda movie.
Using 20,000 pieces of paper for 16 minute run, and having great singers as voice actors of the main characters, it was correctly supposed to head for Japanese Disney. Moreover, it includes a satire on the then situation and its scene description shows us unique lyricism. That is to say, the animated film is not only a copycat, however also made a sign of development of Japanese animation.
So it is unclear whether recent children simply enjoy “Spider and Tulip” or not. On the other hand, it rightly shows the times of those days and the then spirit of Japanese animation crews. That is a precious animated film which got Japanese animation’s possibility of taking cultural root in Japan.
about Spider and Tulip
・Directed by Masaoka Kenzo
・Shot by Masaoka Kenzo
・Originally Written by Yokoyama Michiko
・Written by Masaoka Kenzo
・Running time: 16 minutes
・Released on April 15, 1943
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