Early beginning of Anime in Japan: Well, it’s impossible to say exactly where it all started. As most of the animation from the time was destroyed or lost. It’s because animation use to have one copy released on film. It’s very likely, that would have gotten damaged or lost. Although we do have some records of early Japanese animation. We can look back to 1907 as a good starting point as a history of Japanese animation with “Katsudou Shashin“. As of now, this is the earliest piece of animation we have from Japan. It is a 3 second animation where a boy writes something on the wall and then turns to tip his hat. Although, technically this is an anime, it’s only 3 seconds.

It was a whole decade later in 1917 that we got a solid piece of Japanese animation with Namakura Gatana. It was still a very short animation, but started to show the Japanese style of animating. The animation technique used in these was called a Cut on animation. This is where animators would cut objects and move them around. It was much cheaper than the higher quality Cel animation other countries were using at the time. In 1923, there was a massive setback for Japanese animation “The great Kanto earthquake“. This destroyed a lot of the animations at the time and pushed the industry back quite a bit.

Namakura Gatana - Early beginning of Anime in Japan | History of Japanese Animation
Namakura Gatana – Early beginning of Anime in Japan | History of Japanese Animation

So, as animation started showing promising growth, with players like Disney, Japan felt like they needed to catch up. Many animators have started using Cel animation. This gave the quality of their animation a massive boost. Work such as Ugokie Kori no Tatehiki were created and looked much better than the previous cut animation. Despite this Japan still weren’t on the same level as Disney. And the next few years didn’t help at all with the start of World War II, the majority of Japanese animation ended up being propaganda videos, showing the Japanese soldiers fighting Americans.

There wasn’t really any room to express any artistic value here. Most of these were quite racist and violent, so I wouldn’t recommend watching them. But if you do want to see what they’re like, you could watch Momotaro no Umiwashi from 1943, but this period wasn’t completely absent of progression. Momentos divine, see warriors was created in 1945 and despite it being more propaganda commissioned by the Navy, it was Japan’s first feature length, animated film. So there was a little lull in production for obvious reasons after World War II. But in 1948, a studio called Japanese animation studio was founded. They didn’t create much under that name, but in 1956, they were bought by Toei where it was transformed into a Toei animation and animation studio that is still in business today.

This was a massive stepping stone for Japanese animation, as it would kickstart the industry into worldwide competition. The first feature led from Colour mission also came two years later as hacker Jaden in 1958. This push Japanese animation of step closer to the lakes of Disney and kick-started the next decade of anime.

1960 – 1970 (Early beginning of Anime in Japan | History of Japanese Animation)

During this decade, anime started to air on TV and Japan, got more recognition in the animation world. We see franchises begin that are considered some of the most important for the development of anime. Starting the decade off in 1961, Otogi manga calander was aired on TV, making it Japan’s first anime TV series aired for four years and documented various events in history of the use of animation. This was a little sneak peek in what the decade had in store.

Astro boy - Early beginning of Anime in Japan | History of Japanese Animation
Astro boy – Early beginning of Anime in Japan | History of Japanese Animation

Toei animation worked a man by the name of Osamu Tezuka, but in 1961, the left Toei animation created mushi productions and started working on a number of anime that would come to be some of the most influential and important of his generation. The first would be the well-known Astro Boy series in 1963. Astro boy, really set the standard for shows in the sixties. And many studios were up for the challenge.

Astro boy followed the story of a powerful robot boy, although the story may not have been as complex as shows to come. You can see Astro by his influence echoing through an anime series for decades to come. During the sixties, there were four or five main studios creating anime TV shows. Not only were there many new series created in this decade, but many new genres as well because there wasn’t many solid anime shows or films created prior to the sixties. The shows of this time had the opportunity to create their own genres. For example, Tetsujin in 28 go also in 1963 was one of the early Mega series that would help start the Mega boom in the seventies and eighties, much like Astro boy. You can see how the show influenced future anime.

Osamu Tezuka - Early beginning of Anime in Japan | History of Japanese Animation
Osamu Tezuka – Early beginning of Anime in Japan | History of Japanese Animation

It also successfully released in America year later under the name of Gigantor for. A few years later in 1965, we see the release of Kimba, the white lion. This would be Japan’s first coloured animated TV show. It would also be one of the more worldwide popular series at the time. People find it easy to watch it. It was very similar to Disney style. It was aired in loads of countries from Spain to Iran a year later in 1966, a show Aired by the name of Sally the witch. This was the first anime of the magical girl genre that would like the Mega genre blow up in the coming decades. It’s also considered the first children’s anime. cyborg 009 would also start earing this year. The show that again, would be very popular, worldwide and continue at success for decades.

As the decade came to a clause in 1968 to Tezuka stood down from mushi productions to work on various projects of his own. The company went bankrupt in 1973. It was restorative later in 1977, the decade close to various shows like tiger mask into rural. The sixties ended up being so revolutionary compared to the prior decades at mark the start of anime TV series and the star of multiple massive genres. We saw the founding of many important studios that developed various individuals like to Tezuka. Really one of the most important decades for anime.

Also Read: Anime Adaptations of Some Classic Literature that are Worth Watching