In April 1914, French animation Fantasmagorie by Émile Cohl was screened under the title Template:Nihongo. This seems to be the first drawn-animation film screened in Japan. (There were other animated films screened earlier.)
Japanese movie productions inspired by this film, and started studying animation techniques. In 1915, Nikkatsu production started studying animation with Template:Nihongo, a painter. In the next year, Tenkatsu, or Tennen-shoku Katsudō Shashin Kabushiki Gaisha ("Natural Color Moving Picture Company"), started studying with a manga artist Hekoten/Oten Shimokawa. Kobayashi Shōkai started their production with a manga artist Template:Nihongo.
Among these three productions, Tenkatsu film The Story of the Concierge Mukuzo Imokawa, directed by Shimokawa, came out first, completed in January 1917. It was screened a few times on movie theaters by the production. However, it is said the animation quality of the film was so poor that even Shimokawa himself was disappointed.
Because there are no films or photographs left now, exact contents or animation techniques are unknown. Some speculate Shimokawa drew pictures with a chalk on a blackboard, and when he wanted to move a character's hand, he only redrew a hand. Another possibility is that he printed backgrounds on a white paper, and drew characters with white paints.
Mukuzo Imokawa was a manga character that Shimokawa used in his manga.
"The oldest anime" title challengedEdit
In July 2005, an old animation film was found in Kyoto. This 3 seconds film, plainly titled Template:Nihongo, is estimated to be made somewhere in 1900s, about 10 years older than Mukuzo Imokawa. This supposedly oldest anime is assumed to be made for private viewing. Therefore, as a professional commercial anime, Mukuzo Imokawa still seems to hold the title of "the first".ja:芋川椋三玄関番の巻