The typical narrative of Japanese animation history usually starts with Tetsuwan Atom, aka Astro Boy, often cited as the “first anime.” That’s not exactly wrong – Tetsuwan Atom creator Osamu Tezuka’s style, production methods, and merchandizing basically set the course for the industry that continues even today.
But naturally Tetsuwan Atom wasn’t really the first animation created in Japan, and an article over at Open Culture shares some of the history of pre-war anime and, most fascinatingly, some clips of existing anime shorts. There’s even some nice anti-western propaganda, just like the anti-Japanese propaganda Disney made over here.
If this kind of stuff catches your fancy, we recommend Jonathan Clements’ Anime: A History for some further reading.
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