[KineJapan] Natsuzora and animation history

Gerow Aaron aaron.gerow at yale.edu
Sat Jun 8 10:17:25 EDT 2019

The current NHK Asadora is Natsuzora. As with most Asadora, it is about a woman struggling through modern Japanese society or history and finally succeeding in some goal. (One from 2000, titled Audrey, was about a woman involved in the Kyoto film industry.) Natsuzora specifically is about a young woman, orphaned during the war, who decides to become an animator. This week was the start of the next stage in the story, where she finally starts working at the animation studio.The year is about 1957. Since the studio is called Toyo Doga and it is making a feature length animated film entitled Hakujahime, anyone with a small knowledge of Japanese anime history knows this is based on Toei Doga and the production of Hakujaden.

So there is now lots of speculation on the net about who is the real life model for each of the characters. It's well known that the heroine, Okuhara Natsu (played by Hirose Suzu), is based on the pioneering woman animator Okuhara Reiko (Okuhara's real life husband is in fact a historical consultant on the drama; Okuhara died in 2007). Articles like the one below argue that other characters are based on other groundbreaking women animators such as Yasuda Michiyo (the colorist legend says even Miyazaki Hayao could never say no to), Nakamura Kazuko (who left Toei to join Tezuka), and Ota Akemi (who later married Miyazaki). Of course, there are characters based on other animators such as Mori Yasuji, Otsuka Yasuo, Yabushita Taiji, Takahata Isao, Daikuhara Akira, and Miyazaki too. As with other Asadora, one worries how real history will be treated (such as all the labor strife at Toei), but so far this is a must see show for anime fans.

http://ghibli.jpn.org/report/natsuzora-2/ <http://ghibli.jpn.org/report/natsuzora-2/>

Aaron Gerow
Film and Media Studies Program/East Asian Languages and Literatures
Director of Graduate Studies, Film and Media Studies
Yale University
143 Elm Street, Room 210
PO Box 208324
New Haven, CT 06520-8324
Phone: 1-203-432-7082
Fax: 1-203-432-6729
e-mail: aaron.gerow at yale.edu <mailto:aaron.gerow at yale.edu>
website: www.aarongerow.com

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