Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Katsudō Shashin (Matsumoto fragment), the oldest work of animation in Japan [between 1907 and 1911]

Katsudō Shashin (活動写真Moving Picture) or the Matsumoto fragment refer to a Japanese animated film speculated to be the oldest work of animation in Japan. Its creator is unknown; evidence suggests it was made sometime between 1907 and 1911, possibly predating the earliest displays of Western animation in Japan. It was discovered in a home projector in Kyoto in 2005.
The three-second film depicts a boy who writes "活動写真" (katsudō shashin, or "moving picture"), removes his hat, and waves. The frames were stencilledin red and black using a device for making magic lantern slides, and the filmstrip was fastened in a loop for continuous play.
The film consists of a series of cartoon images on fifty frames of a celluloid strip and lasts three seconds at sixteen frames per second. It depicts a young boy in a sailor suit who writes the kanji characters "活動写真" (katsudō shashin, or "moving picture"), then turns towards the viewer, removes his hat, and offers a salute.
Unlike in traditional animation, the frames were not produced by photographing the images, but rather were impressed directly onto film using a stencil. This was done with a kappa-ban, a device designed for stencilling magic lantern slides. The images were in red and black on a strip of 35 mm film whose ends were fastened in a loop for continuous viewing.

No comments: