Initially daily but now sporadic blog about anime and world animation with a specific focus on the artists behind the work. Written by Ben Ettinger.
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Archives for: January 2008, 23

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

09:29:51 pm , 279 words, 2145 views     Categories: Animation, Indie

The autobiography of Tadahito Mochinaga

Tadahito Mochinaga is one of the legendary figures in the history of Japanese animation. Born in Tokyo in 1919, Mochinaga spent his formative years traveling between Japan and Manchuria, becoming conversant in both languages and cultures. Near the end of W.W. II he returned to China, where he would go on to play a major role in helping to lay the foundations for the animation industry in China by helping build up China's most famous studio, Shanghai Animation Film Studio. Upon his return to Japan he began making puppet films, becoming the pioneering figure in Japan in that form of animation. Kihachiro Kawamoto, the figure who later became synonymous with Japanese puppet animation, learned his craft during this period by working under Mochinaga.

Mochinaga passed away in 1999. On the occasion, animation historian Kosei Ono wrote an informative article on the man that can be read here. Near the end of the article Ono mentions that Mochinaga was in the process of writing an autobiography in the days leading up to his death. He was apparently prompted to do so at the insistence of the great Chinese animator Te Wei. His autobiography remained incomplete at the time of his death, but his widow continued working to compile the unfinished writings into published form. The autobiography was finally published posthumously a little over a year ago in 2006, with an afterward by Kihachiro Kawamoto. I obtained the book recently, and am looking forward to reading it. It promises to be a fascinating story about an interesting and too-little known figure who was at the center of one of the most unique cultural exchanges in the history of animation in the 20th century.