Century-old anime discovered in Japan

A recently discovered anime, created about a century ago in Japan, is shining new light on the industry.

One expert says only a few films from that era survive today, so the newly found work will greatly help in understanding anime production of the time.

The film depicts a child using a knife and a fork to eat a meal. It also shows another child eating something out of a bag.

The silent film was produced around 1923. It was discovered among the belongings of a late avid cinema fan.

The film is said to have been produced by a company that sold toothbrushes and other daily necessities.

The present-day company Lion preserved the film and says the work bears the name of Kitayama Seitaro.

Kitayama was an animation creator in the early 20th century. He founded an animation company which produced some of the industry's leading artists. But only a few films made by Kitayama remain today.

Kitayama's grandson, Yasuda Takeshi says the font used in the recently discovered film resembles Kitayama's handwriting.

The film was titled "Dental Health." The 8-and-half-minute long anime was made as an educational film to raise awareness for the prevention of cavities.

An expert on anime said that she can clearly see the intention of the short film.

Sano Akiko, Associate Professor of Doshisha University said, "People are drawn to the relatively large faces in front, looking straight at the viewers. This apparently takes into consideration the purpose of the film, which was for an advertisement."

Anime was not recognized as an industry at the time. The expert says creators from that time used various methods to improve their works' expressiveness, just like creators today.