List of Authors

Early Japanese animation works were produced by a small team of people like a homemade handicraft business. Here, we introduce the pioneer artists who delivered these works to the world and built the foundation for Japanese animation.

  • Ikuo Oishi

    オオイシ イクオ

    1902 - Dec 4, 1944

    Born 1902, in Tokyo. Oishi possessed skills that earned him the reputation of the "Japanese Disney." He achieved acclaim with his masterpiece Ugoki-e Kori no Tatehiki (動絵狐狸達引, 1933). Unfortunately, Oishi died in 1944 during the war in the Pacific, but nurtured many artists of the next generation at the Photo Chemical Laboratory's Manga Division, and Toho.

    Ikuo Oishi
  • Noburo Ofuji

    オオフジ ノブロウ

    Jun 1, 1900 - Jul 28, 1961

    Born 1900, in Tokyo. Ofuji learned the basics of animation under Junichi Kouchi, and later developed his own unique animation style using cutouts from chiyogami (Japanese traditional decorative paper with colored patterns). While strictly maintaining his independent production style, he attempted a variety of techniques such as paper cutouts, cel, silhouette, and colored cellophane.

    Noburo Ofuji Memorial Museum
    Noburo Ofuji
  • Shigeji Ogino

    オギノ シゲジ

    Sep 26, 1899 - 1991

    Born 1899, in Tochigi. In addition to film productions, Ogino also held 8mm film courses and led the Japanese small gauge and amateur film communities. His works, which total over 400 films, were not only limited to home movies, but also included documentaries, travelogues and animations.

    Shigeji Ogino
  • Seitaro Kitayama

    キタヤマ セイタロウ

    Mar 3, 1888 - Feb 13, 1945

    Born 1888, in Wakayama. In the art world, Kitayama supported young artists by publishing their works and providing them with drawing supplies. In the animation industry, he increased commissions to artists with talent and organized group production structures to handle mass production demands. In such ways, Kitayama proved to be both an artist and a businessman.

    Seitaro Kitayama
  • Hakuzan Kimura

    キムラ ハクザン

    unknown - unknown

    Dates of birth and death are unknown. Not much is known about Kimura's early life and career, however he excelled at historical drama animations using, for example, the stories from the Treasury of Loyal Retainers (忠臣蔵) or the popular actor "Eyeballs" Matsu (Matsunosuke Onoe). He also created animations for Yutaka Aso's four-frame manga, Care-free Dad (ノンキナトウサン) and received commissions to create animations for Ministry of Education films.

    Hakuzan Kimura
  • Junichi Kouchi

    コウウチ ジュンイチ

    Sep 15, 1886 - Oct 6, 1970

    Born in 1886, Okayama. Although he was only involved in producing animations for a short period of time, Kouchi is known as one of the pioneers of Japanese animation. The Dull Sword (なまくら刀), is the only Japanese animation produced and released in 1917 that survives today.

    Junichi Kouchi
  • Mitsuyo Seo

    セオ ミツヨ

    Sep 26, 1911 - Aug 24, 2010

    Born 1911, in Himeji. Seo worked on the production of Japan's first talkie animation under Kenzo Masaoka. He also created many works commissioned by government offices and is known for the Ministry of Education music film Arichan the Ant (アリチャン, 1941) and the feature length animation for the Navy Ministry titled Momotaro's Sea Eagles (桃太郎の海鷲, 1943).

    Mitsuyo Seo
  • Kenzo Masaoka

    マサオカ ケンゾウ

    Oct 5, 1898 - Nov 23, 1988

    Born 1898, in Osaka. Masaoka moved to Tokyo with the aim of becoming an artist, but returned to Kyoto and worked on films. He demonstrated his unique artistic expression, bringing many new possibilities to the world of animation from different angles, such as cel animations, talkies, and an exclusive orchestra, which Masaoka himself joined as a musician.

    Kenzo Masaoka
  • Yasuji Murata

    ムラタ ヤスジ

    Jan 24, 1896 - Nov 22, 1966

    Born 1896, in Yokohama. Murata started out as a signboard artist for movie theaters, but after the Great Kanto Earthquake, he joined the Yokohama Cinema Shokai where he created as many as 50 animation titles. With the skills he cultivated, he propelled paper cutout animations to greater heights.

    Yasuji Murata
  • Sanae Yamamoto

    ヤマモト サナエ

    Feb 6, 1898 - Feb 8, 1981

    Born in 1898, Chiba. Yamamoto began producing animations after being invited by Seitaro Kitayama. Before the war, he created many works commissioned by government offices. After the war, as many artists of his generation left animation, Yamamoto spent his life supporting the industry with Toei Doga.

    Sanae Yamamoto

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