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25 how US media suppresses coverage of Japanese creativity and originality




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This article is from the American misconceptions about Japan FAQ, by Tanaka Tomoyuki ez074520@dilbert.ucdavis.edu with numerous contributions by others.

25 how US media suppresses coverage of Japanese creativity and originality

an example: Tezuka's "Jungle King" and Disney's "Lion King".

many people are struck with the similarities between Simba from
Disney's "Lion King" and Kimba from Tezuka's "Jungle King", a
popular Japanese cartoon series that was dubbed into English and
shown on TV in the USA in the 1960s.
the similarities are both in the pictures and the stories:
Both stories feature orphaned lion princes who lose
their crowns to an evil adult lion, then reclaim their
thrones. The good lions are aided by a wise old baboon
and a talkative bird, while the evil lions get help
from hyenas. Kimba's foe was a one-eyed lion named
Claw, and Simba's a lion named Scar. (from an
Associated Press article)
I have stored some articles and GIF files on the subject in my
WWW site. see Section (A) for access information.

it is not clear to me exactly how much Disney borrowed ideas
and images from Tezuka. I think it is entirely possible that
much of it was coincidence and the animators used scenes from
"Kimba" unconsciously. the Japanese animators were convinced
that the similarities were not coincidental, and they sent a
letter to Disney requesting some kind of acknowledgement to
Tezuka. by Sept 1994, 1126 people (animators and others) had
signed the letter. the issue is quite well-known in Japan now.

how US media has been treating the case is to suppress it,
ignore it, and hope that the issue will disappear.
examples:
--- when Newsweek did a cover story on troubles that Disney is
facing (Sept. 5, 1994), "The Lion King" was only
mentioned as "perhaps the biggest moneymaker of all time".
--- out of the hundreds of stories CNN has done on "The Lion
King", I believe there was only one brief report on this
suspected borrowing.
the strategy is working: this issue is almost completely unknown
among the general American public.

see also the case of Sugihara in Section (3.1).

 

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