NTV unearths oldest TV anime film

Kyodo

A 1958 film believed to be Japan’s oldest TV animation work has been found at a Nippon Television Network Corp. studio.

The color cartoon, titled “Mogura no Abanchuru” (“Mole’s Adventure”), runs eight minutes and 53 seconds. It was discovered during production of a feature program by staff of BS Animax at NTV’s Ikuta studio in Kawasaki.

The cartoon, about a mole who travels in space in a dream, was scheduled to be aired on BS Animax at 7 p.m. this Friday during a special program commemorating the 50th anniversary of the first broadcast of “Astro Boy” (“Mighty Atom”).

Anime researcher Masahiro Haraguchi, who supervised the feature program production, said the film is “an invaluable material that could reshape the history of anime.”

Haraguchi said the film was produced for the test broadcasting of color television by NTV. It can be found in a newspaper’s TV listings for Oct. 15, 1958, so it most likely aired.

Until now it was thought the oldest domestically made cartoon for TV was a show aired in 1960 by NHK called “Atarashii Doga, Mittsuno Hanashi” (“New Animation Film, Three Stories”).