History of Chinese Animation | WooKong

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Animation is China is an often overlooked artistry, over time the industry has experienced incredibly highs and unimaginable lows.

Artists who were celebrated one month were then persecuted the next.

Throughout the years there there have been countless incredible stories in this field, this is a brief history of Chinese animation.

The story of Chinese animation begins during the war between China and Japan with four siblings affectionately referred to the wan brothers.

Wan Chaochen, Wan Dihuan, and the twins Wai Laiming and Guchan were born in Nanjing at the dawn of the 20th Century After much experimentation, they first produced an animated advertisement for the Shanghai Commercial press titled Su Zhendong's Chinese Typewriter in 1922 After fleeing the Japanese occupation of Shanghai, the twins Wan Laiming and Wan Guchan began their work creating the first animated feature in Asia, the renowned Princess Iron-fan.

The final phase of production was completed back in Shanghai and was released in 1941.

The film adapted chapters from the Chinese classic Journey to the West and utilised and animation process called Roto scoping where live action film was painted over to create cheap and smooth animation.

Princess Iron-fan received stellar reviews internationally Most notably was the reception received from their then enemy Japan.

Despite carrying slight undertones of anti-Japanese sentiment, the film became a hit and Japanese animation studios quickly rushed to create their own feature length animation which was completed three years later.

Osamu Tezuka the father of modern Japanese manga, anime and the creator of Astroboy, is often said to have been greatly influenced by Disney, but he has said many times that the Wan Brothers film also played a huge role in his life's work.

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