Japanese Experimental Animation: Recent Restorations

In 2021 Collaborative Cataloging Japan received grants from the Toshiba International Foundation and Pola Art Foundation to conduct research and preservation projects related to Japanese experimental animation works. Two teams were formed: one on the works by the graphic designer Keiichi Tanaami, led by Ann Adachi-Tasch, scholar Julian Ross and archivist John Klacsmann; and another on the film materials at Sogetsu Art Center archive, led by scholar Go Hirasawa and archivist Nobukazu Suzuki. 

The outcomes of these projects were the new digitizations of She (1971) and Look at the Wood (1975) by Keiichi Tanaami and Sea Battle (Kaisen, 1960) by Ryōhei Yanagihara. Screening programs organized by Julian Ross and Go Hirasawa feature these newly digitized works as well as CCJ’s previous preservation project, Tanaami’s Human Events (Ningen Moyō, 1975). Ross’ program places Tanaami’s works in conversation with contemporary works, while Hirasawa’s program highlights two artists of the Three-Person Animation Circle (Animation 3-nin no Kai), a group formed at Sogetsu Art Center by Yōji Kuri, Ryōhei Yanagihara, and Hiroshi Manabe. In Hirasawa’s program, we are delighted to present the premiere of the digitally restored version of Ryōhei Yanagihara’s Sea Battle (Kaisen, 1960).

In addition, we are pleased to welcome curator Fusako Matsu and the Yōji Kuri studio for a special presentation of Kuri’s animation and recently digitized works. Completing the Three-Person Animation Circle group members, this program features Yōji Kuri’s works around the “Art, Life and Opinions” screening event and the interview series under the same title. In this screening event on February 11th, we are very pleased to welcome special guests, artist Ushio Shinohara who was interviewed by Kuri as part of the series. He will speak in conversation with art historian Reiko Tomii. 

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