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A “kids movie” in the current Japanese film business almost always means anime. It wasn’t always thus — kids were the biggest fans of the Godzilla series and dozens of other nonanimated homegrown monster movies now vanished from the screens. They’ve also flocked to the “Spy Kids” films and similar fare from Hollywood.

The current rarity of Japanese live-action films for under 12s is therefore something of a puzzle. One factor may be the scarcity of local live-action TV shows for the tween demographic — especially ones with the ratings punch of “Hannah Montana,” the wildly popular Disney Channel show, which has generated a hit concert film, about a schoolgirl who leads a double life as a pop singer.

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