Mochinaga Tadahito

Ono Seiko and Aaron Gerow onogerow
Sat Apr 3 07:16:41 EST 1999

Back from the States, I was sad to see in the papers that Mochinaga 
Tadahito, the "father" of Japanese puppet animation, died on the first at 
age 80.

Mochinaga, if you do not know him, was a man with quite a history.  
Starting in animation with Seo Mitsuo during the war, he moved to Man'ei 
just before the war ended.  Working well with his Chinese colleages, he 
stayed in China after the war (with Uchida Tomu and Kimura Sotoji) to 
develop his animation technique and teach it to Chinese animators.  He 
returned to Japan in 1952 to work with Iizawa Takumi to work on new 
puppet animation techniques that soon made Japan one of the world leaders 
in puppet animation.  American TV soon began hiring Mochinaga to produce 
puppet animated works and it is his _Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer_ and 
other films that I fondly remember from my childhood.  Most of the giants 
of Japanese puppet animation like Okamoto Tadanari learned the trade 
under Mochinaga.  Always a friend of China, he helped make documentary 
films about the country from the late 60s on, and after the Cultural 
Revolution, travelled to China many times to teach young Chinese 
animators, including a stint from 1985 to 1986 at the Beijing Film 

At present, when everyone seems to talk about "anime" and ignore the long 
history of other animated forms in Japan, Mochinaga is a figure who 
should not be forgotten.

Aaron Gerow
Yokohama National University
KineJapan list owner
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