Home Podcasts Japan Station Japan Station 03: The Origins of Anime and the Making of Japan’s First Feature Length Animated Film with Dr. Jonathan Clements

Japan Station 03: The Origins of Anime and the Making of Japan’s First Feature Length Animated Film with Dr. Jonathan Clements

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This time we’re taking a deep deep dive into the history of Japanese animation with Dr. Jonathan Clements.

An expert on Asia and anime, Jonathan Clements is the author of many books, including Anime: A History, The Anime Encyclopedia (co-authored with Helen McCarthy), and Sacred Sailors: The Life and Work of Seo Mitsuyo. In this episode we discuss the origins of Japanese animation and its fascinating history. We particularly focus on the making of Japan’s first feature-length animated film: Momotaro: Sacred Sailors (桃太郎 海の神兵, Momotarō: Umi no Shinpei). Clements talks about how this World War II era Navy funded propaganda film got made, the challenges faced by the film’s director Seo Mitsuyo, the influence of Western animation like Popeye and the 1941 Disney film Fantasia,and what people today can gain by watching this sometimes strange and often unsettling work. Clements also reflects on the importance of two of Japan’s most respected and famous figures in the Japanese animation industry: Osamu Tezuka and Hayao Miyazaki. Oh yeah, and there’s talk of a British POW potentially being responsible for what was very likely the first ever occurrence of native English voice acting in Japanese animation.

Yep, it’s a lot to take in but totally worth a listen, so go do that now!

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Extra Stuff

Here’s the trailer for Funimation’s Blu-ray release of Momotaro: Sacred Sailors.

You can purchase the remastered Blue-ray of Momotaro: Sacred Sailors here in the US and here in the UK.

You can purchase the Kindle version of Jonathan Clement’s book Sacred Sailors: The Life and Work of Seo Mitsuyo here.

You can find more of Jonathan Clement’s writings at his blog: The Official Schoolgirl Milky Crisis Blog.

Special Thanks

Opening/Closing song: Oedo Controller (大江戸コントローラー) by Yunomi featuring Toriena
To listen to more of Yunomi’s music, check out his Souncloud page or YouTube channel.

Japan Station cover art: Provided by Erik R.

Featured image: Courtesy of Jonathan Clements

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