1917: The 1st Animated Film


In 1910s, animations were produced in Japan for the first time. There were short films lasting about 2-5 minutes, using the motifs from Japanese folk tales or hilarious cartoons at that time. It's acknowledged that the former cartoonist, Kouchi Jun-ichi (1886–1970), made the first professional and publicly displayed work in 1917. It's the oldest surviving film -- Namakura Gatana, a two-minute clip of a samurai trying to test his newly-bought dull-edged sword. Unfortunately the 1923 Great Kantō Earthquake destroyed most of the early animated films.


Masao Yokota, and Tze-yue G. Hu, Japanese Animation : East Asian Perspectives, University Press of Mississippi, 2013.