In 2015, members of Nijikai made a complete Japanese animation studios family tree. It was printed and exhibited during conventions such as Jonetsu 2.0 and 3.33.
A digital version is available here.
I – The project outline
With this exhibition, we wanted to present an overview of Japanese animation studios by showing their creation and evolution.
In the 60’s, only a few studios existed. Their number grew at a fast pace, reaching more than a hundred today. However, no studio is created out of thin air. Their founders were trained in other animation studios and they carried on their legacy.
We used this fact to create a family tree, as this project’s goal was to highlight the relationship of the different animation studios.
II – The branches
We defined the relationship between two studios as follows: the « parent » studio is where the founder(s) of the « child » studio were the most active prior to founding their own studio.
Taking into account every studio would make such a family tree hard to read. To avoid this, we reduced the number of branches to 7, representing 7 influential studios:
We then added an 8th branch called « Unclassifiable » (« Inclassables » in French) for the studios that did not fit in one of the 7 original branches. It also contains studios where the parent was hard to pinpoint.
Choosing a parent studio is always based on subjective judgment and we welcome any comments or suggestions. So feel free to contact us!
III – How to read the branches
Each studio is presented with a bar representing its lifetime. The timescale is shown at the top and bottom of each panel. On this bar, you can find the name of the studio, its logo, its founding year, and if applicable, its shutdown. In this last case, the studio name is followed by the symbol †.
Arrows show the relationship between two studios. Some studios have several parents when multiple persons founded the studio. The studio, in that case, is put into the branch of the studio which influenced its work the most, where the other parents are shown with dotted arrows.
Some studios are also shown with a paler colour. This means that it is not an independent studio, but more of a subsidiary or a subcontractor of the parent studio. The main activity of these studios are cooperating with the parents, as they do not make animated projects of their own.
Did you spot some mistakes or have any suggestions? Send us a message!