The original article published in Japanese ( https://current.ndl.go.jp/e2563 )
Current Awareness-E No.449
22 December, 2022
“Anime TAIZEN”: A Comprehensive Japanese Animation Database
Released on August 25, 2022, “Anime TAIZEN” (an encyclopedia of anime) is the culmination of the “Animation NEXT_100” project launched in September 2015 by the Association of Japanese Animations. The purpose of the project is to connect the past and the future of Japanese animation, which celebrated the 100th anniversary in January 2017. To continue further development of the future of “anime” where culture and industry are united, the project aimed to establish a foundation to help solve problems that are common but difficult for individual companies to deal with. These include: 1) responding to the crisis of dissipation/deterioration/loss of creations/information/intellectual property, 2) urgent need for human resource development, and 3) changes in the production environment and industrial structure.
As specific initiatives of “Anime NEXT_100”, three projects were promoted from the following perspectives: “encompassing the history of Japanese animation = Anime TAIZEN”, “human resource development”, and “business”. As a result, the theme “archiving Japanese animation” emerged as a common measure to solve the issues. To realize this archive, we thought it was imperative for a wide range of users, including industry, to share the mutual literacy on the use of “anime” intellectual property. As the concrete first step, we worked on developing a comprehensive database of Japanese animation, “Anime TAIZEN”.
●Outline of “Anime TAIZEN”
“Anime TAIZEN” is a database covering the history of Japanese animation. It also intends to serve as a common base for promoting archiving of Japanese animation. The genre of animation produced or released for the first time in Japan since 1917 to date is diverse and its number is massive. Not a few works become unavailable for re-viewing in the future for various reasons, such as diversification of production methods, production forms, occupations, recording media, methods and venues of exhibition with the change in time and technological evolution. Furthermore, there was an earnest reason that we would lose the opportunity to connect the history if we did not create “Anime TAIZEN” while there are still people who have witnessed the history of TV animation from its pioneering period and with knowledge about the database.
The definition of “Anime TAIZEN” was developed based on discussion that took place in cooperation with a wide variety of experts such as researchers and people involved in specialized magazines, in addition to members of the industry including the Association of Japanese Animation. Metadata items were established based on various forms of information that have remained from each period, provided from respective members. These included papers, videos, specialized magazine materials, digital media, and interviews with related parties. Seven years were spent to improve the flow for data renewal. Today, the database continues to expand with public information being the primary information, followed by information provided by related parties and investigation by the project secretariat. As of November 18, 2022, the database has 15,243 titles (2,832 movies, 7,083 TVs, 4,071 OVAs, and 1,257 others). 179,899 episodes are known to exist.
●Features of “Anime TAIZEN”
Following are the three main features of “Anime TAIZEN” that aims for integrated use of database and archive:
- Metadata Items
Basic information and detailed information are available for use as necessary information to manage each piece of work for archiving.
- Search by Japanese Syllabary and Chronological Search
In order to prevent anime works from becoming a buried culture, there is a search function that display relationships among each piece of work. Even with unclear memory or without prior knowledge, one can search for “anime”.
- Advanced Search
While it is essential to organize authority information about names of persons and companies, the encyclopedia currently aims to improve accuracy by enhancing tags.
●Requests and Inquiries
About four months after its release, the database continues to be used beyond our initial expectations. As follows, many inquiries we’ve received are related to expansion of “Anime TAIZEN” database and archive:
- Enrich detailed search
- Wish to participate in the database but will it be open-sourced?
- Want to see more details on production animators
- Wish to see videos posted
- Want to know where one can see the piece of work
- Can my piece of work be listed?
- Wish it to be multilingual
To continue “Anime TAIZEN” in the future, the following issues need to be addressed for establishment of stable business foundation. This includes development of management team.
- Collecting and organizing vast amount of authority data
- Developing animation literacy, such as measures for managing intellectual properties common to right holders and users
- Defining job classifications such as animation archivists and data managers, and developing training programs and specialized institutions to pass on the expertise through multigenerational exchange
- Securing operating expenses
●As a Foundation for Creating the Future of AnimeWhile anime is an important part of Japanese culture, unfortunately, there is no specialized institution with high coverage. It is rare to find archival schemes that are widely known and commonly recognized, such as legal deposit system. However, there are a few institutions that have collections of animation works, although they vary in size. We therefore envision “Anime TAIZEN” to play the role of a master database for all institutions with collection of animation works in Japan. We hope its use will promote archiving of anime, consequently creating opportunities to inspire users for respective imaginations, and to contribute to the creativity of the future.
Written by Ueno Junko
Association of Japanese Animations
“Anime NEXT_100” Project Secretariat
Translated by Okada Aya*Notes are not translated and remain in Japanese language.
“@AnimeNext100”. Twitter. 2022-08-25.
“『アニメNEXT_100』 とは”. アニメ大全.