The Bear Brothers

Original Title 兄弟こぐま
Japanese kana Rendering Kyodai koguma
English Title The Bear Brothers
Production Date 1932
Author Sanae Yamamoto
Duration (minutes) 11
Sound silent
Color b/w
Plot One spring day, little birds are singing and frogs are dancing. A mother bear in the cave tells her children to play outside, but also reminds the two brothers to be careful of the terrible humans. While they are sumo wrestling and eating honey, a hunter tries to shoot the bears. The two brothers see a human for the first time. They manage to find their way to the cave where the mother bear awaits them. They are amazed that the human walks upright. The mother bear teaches her two boys how to do it. Swallows and cranes fly away, summer goes by, and fall deepens. As a result of their efforts, the mother bear and her children master how to walk upright. When animals in the mountain see the bear brothers walking upright like hunters, they mistake them for humans and run away. The bear brothers stand triumphantly. Then, when a real hunter appears and other animals run for their lives, the bear brothers fight back, imitating the humans. However, when they realize there is no way they can win against the hunters, the two bears crawl under the trees and jump over valleys running on all fours to escape with their lives.
Description Kazuko Miyamoto, Sanae Yamamoto's beloved daughter, writes in the postscript to her father's posthumous manuscripts My Life with Animated Films (漫画映画と共に, 1982), "When I was a little girl, my father was making animated films on a camera stand installed in his room. Coming home from kindergarten or school and peering into his room, I could see him working at the table with his broad back turned toward me. I fondly remember my father moving frames, one by one, to create a delightful scene in which a cheerful father bear and his cub go fishing with fishing poles on their shoulders and creels in their hands [...]. The father bear and the cub reminded me of the days when my father, who loved fishing, often took me to the Tama River" (p. 132). The adorable brother bears walking on their hind legs in this film remind us of bear cubs walking on two legs in films from Toei Doga led by Yamamoto after World War II, such as Magic Boy (少年猿飛佐助, 1959) and The Littlest Warrior (安寿と厨子王丸, 1961).
Production Company the Ministry of Education
Distribution the Ministry of Education
Release Date
Credits: Director Animation: Sanae Yamamoto
Credits: Staff, Cast, etc.
Intertitles T1「文部省映画」、T2「兄弟こぐま」、T3「お馬になつて外へ遊びに行つておいで」、T4「人間を見たら氣を付けなよ いちばん恐いんだから」、T5「兄さんあちらでお角力をとらうよ」、T6「オーイ」、T7「どうかしたのかい?」、T8「始めて人間を見たんだ 人間はながくて煙の出る物を持つて居たよ」、T9「おゝ危なかつたね 氣をおつけよ それが一番恐ろしい種ヶ島と言ふんだよ」、T10「人間は偉いね 立つて歩くんだもの」、T11「お母さんだつて立つて歩けるよ」、T12「稽古のかひあつて」、T13「人間」、T14「なあーんだ」、T15「僕たちは人間になつたんだよ」、T16「人間 人間」、T17「兄さん這うと通れるよ」、T18「前足をおろすと跳びこせるよ」、T19「なんだお前は四つ這ひだね」、T20「兄さんだつて四つ這ひだよ」、T21「考えて見るとやつぱりはつて歩く方が工合がいゝよ」、T22「終 山本早苗ゑがく」。
Censorship - Date and Number
References ・「新作映畫解説 兄弟こぐま」『文部省教育映畫時報 第10號』文部省社会教育局、1933年、25-29頁(写真あり)。
Frames per Second 24fps
Source of Digital Copy The 35mm nitrate original negative owned by Ministry of Education -> The 35mm interpositive owned by NFC -> 35mm internegative -> The 35mm positive
Completeness complete
Additional Notes
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