SHANGHAI -- Isao Takahata, the late animation director of Japan's Studio Ghibli, who passed away on April 5, has been featured in succession in the Chinese media in honor of his memory.
Takahata's works have had a great impact on Chinese people, sparking interest in Japanese culture and anime in China. The features on Takahata are also a sign of improving Japan-China relations ahead of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang's proposed visit to Japan.
Chinese newspaper Nan Fang Zhou Mo featured a one-page article on April 12 calling Takahata "Studio Ghibli's soul." The article noted that his works were influenced by Chinese ink paintings and that Takahata's "The Tale of The Princess Kaguya," based on a Japanese folktale, is similar to folktales of ancient China.
The article also pointed out that the director's work "Pandakopanda," a story about a bear cat, was released in 1972, the year Japan and China normalized their diplomatic relations. Bear cats are symbols of Japan-China friendship.
The same day, China's Global Times newspaper published an article stating, "Many young Chinese, especially those in their 30s, have fond memories of watching his films." The paper added that Chinese fans and anime creators had paid tribute to the animator on the internet.
(Japanese original by Akira Kudo, Shanghai Bureau)