Japanese Experimental Animation

Ko Nakajima, Keiichi Tanaami, and Nobuhiro Aihara

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This program touches upon intersecting histories and continues through to the present, featuring the recent preservation efforts by Collaborative Cataloging Japan (of works by Ko Nakajima and Keiichi Tanaami) and its sister organization in Japan, Postwar Japan Moving Image Archive (of works by Nobuhiro Aihara). This screening program highlights the two organizations’ efforts to study and preserve Japanese experimental moving image works.

Ko Nakajima, Japan, 1963, 16mm transferred to video, 7 min.

Ko Nakajima, Japan, 1964, 16mm transferred to video, 4:10 min.

Marionettes in Masks
Keiichi Tanaami, Japan, 1966, 35mm transferred to video, 8 min.

Keiichi Tanaami, Japan, 1975, 16mm, 9 min.

Rhabdophis Tigrinus
Nobuhiro Aihara, Japan, 1972, 16mm transferred to video, 5 min.

Honeybee Season Has Passed
Nobuhiro Aihara, Japan, 1972, 16mm transferred to video, 8 min.

Nobuhiro Aihara, Japan, 1975, 16mm transferred to video, 8 min.

Nobuhiro Aihara, Japan, 1977, 16mm transferred to video, 3 min.

Sogetsu Art Center’s Animation Festivals in the early 1960s was a hub for experimentalism in animation. Having the intention of submitting a work to the Sogetsu Animation Film Festival but without the necessary funds to make proper animation, Ko Nakajima invented a method called “kaki-animation” (writing-animation) in which he drew directly onto a 35mm film. Both Anapoko and Seizoki used this method, and Seizoki was presented between the featured animations at the Sogetsu Animation Festival in 1964.

It was at these Animation Festivals at Sogetsu Art Center that Keiichi Tanaami first met Nobuhiro Aihara and much later in the 2000, Tanaami and Aihara collaborated on making experimental animation works. Tanaami Keiichi, while working as a commercial graphic designer, experimented with making animation and presented Marionettes in Masks (1966) and Women (1966) at the Sogetsu Art Center. Nobuhiro Aihara also made experimental works on the side while working at Studio Zero—the formative mainstream animation / cartoon production company of the period with members Shinichi Suzuki, Jiro Tsunoda, Fujiko Fujio, and others. While visiting Studio Zero, Ko Nakajima first met Nobuhiro Aihara.

In February 2018, CCJ conducted surveys of Nakajima and Tanaami’s collections and led by archivists Peter Oleksik and John Klacsmann. In 2017, PJMIA digitized the works of Nobuhiro Aihara.

中島 興:ヴィデオ万物流転 Ko NAKAJIMA"Video Vicissitudes" trailer