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Disney to close Japan animation studio in June

TOKYO - Walt Disney Co will close in early June its Japanese unit that has handled production of hand-drawn animation, as part of a move to reorganize its animation business globally, The Nihon Keizai Shimbun learned on Wednesday.

The US entertainment and media giant is shifting from traditional hand-drawn animation to three-dimensional (3-D) productions involving computer graphics, and will consolidate its animation operations in two locations, including California, where the company is based.

Disney will be shutting down its Tokyo studio, Walt Disney Animation (Japan) Inc, which was established in 1989 and produced material mainly for television and video release.

Of the 100 or so personnel there, about 30 will be transferred to Disney's US headquarters or to affiliates. The remaining 70 or so plan to establish a production company independently, aiming to launch it in June around the time of the shutdown.

According to Disney, the company places much emphasis on quality, and because of this, it sends work out to directly run studios at home and abroad instead of outsourcing.

The company established the unit in Japan because it highly regarded the ability of Japanese artists. However, as successful animated features in the US recently have been done in 3-D using computer graphics, some have pointed out the high costs and low returns of hand-drawn animation.

(Asia Pulse/Nikkei)

Apr 9, 2004


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