Noburo Ofuji Award Winners





The Noburō Ōfuji Award (大藤信郎賞) honours excellence and innovation in Japanese animation. It is awarded at the Mainichi Film Awards (毎日映画コンクール) – the Mainichi Shinbun’s annual film awards. The award was established following the death of animation pioneer Noburō Ōfuji (大藤 信郎) in 1961. Ōfuji was known for his innovations in silhouette and cutout animation, (ie  The Village Festival / 村祭, 1930) often using traditional Japanese materials that gave his work a unique look compared to his international contemporaries.

Noburo Ofuji at work
Osamu Tezuka was the first recipient of the award for his experimental animation Story of a Certain Street Corner. During the first two decades of its existence, the award was primarily used to honour independent short animation by the likes of Tadanari Okamoto, Kihachiro Kawamoto, Yoji Kuri, Makoto Wada, and Taku Furukawa. Ground-breaking feature films like The Little Prince and the Eight-Headed Dragon and The Castle of Cagliostro were also honoured during the early years.

In the 1980s, the rise of Studio Ghibli and other innovative animation studios meant that big budget feature films began to dominate the award and move it away from the kind of independent spirit the award was intended to honour. In response to this shift, the Mainichi Film Concours established the Animation Film Award (アニメーション映画賞) in 1989 to award the big budget films separately. Although feature films do still win the Noburō Ōfuji Award, they are usually low budget films, independent films, or films that the jury consider highly innovative. The wide range of animation styles considered in this category is apparent by just looking at recent winners: Koji Yamamura’s hand drawn A Country Doctor won for 2007, Studio Ghibli’s Ponyo for 2008, and in February 2010 Hideto Nakata’s puppet animation Elemi got the prize for 2009. 

Non-Japanese directors have also been honoured when the animation has either been made in Japan (Michael Arias with Tekkon Kinkreet) or co-produced by Japanese partners (Aleksandr Petrov’s The Old Man and the SeaKihachiro Kawamoto et al.’s Winter Days).


I have pledged to see and review all of the Noburo Ofuji Award winning films.  Here is the complete list of winners with links to completed reviews:




1962  Osamu Tezuka
Story of a Certain Street Corner
ある街角の物語 
Aru machikado no Monogatari




1963  Toei Doga
The Little Prince and the Eight-Headed Dragon
わんぱく王子の大蛇退治 
Wanpaku Ōji no Daija taiji

1964  Makoto Wada 
Satsujin – Murder
殺人 Murder



1965  Yoji Kuri
Clap Vocalism (1962)
人間動物園
Ningen Dōbutsuen
Read Review









Love (1963)


Ai 
Read Review


The Chair (1964)

椅子
Isu 
Read Review









AOS (1964)
Aosu

tied with


1965  Tadanari Okamoto
A Wonderful Medicine
ふしぎなくすり
Fushigi na kusuri


1966  Osamu Tezuka

Pictures at an Exhibition
展覧会の絵
Tenrankai no E






1967  Yoji Kuri
The Room 
部屋
Heya

Two Grilled Fish 
二匹のサンマ
Nihiki no Sanma
Read Review







1968  Gakushū Kenkyūsha (Gakken Co.)


The Ugly Duckling
みにくいあひるのこ
Minikui Ahiru no Ko









1969  Takashi Yanase (Mushi Pro)


The Kindly Lion 
やさしいライオン
Yasashii Raion








1970 Tadanari Okamoto


The Flower and the Mole 

花ともぐら
Hana to Mogura

Home, My Home 
ホーム・マイホーム
Homu mai homu



1971  Video Tokyo 

(Akikazu Kawano and Takeo Nakamura) 
Tenma no Torayan 
てんまのとらやん



1972  Kihachiro Kawamoto

The Demon 

Oni



1973  Tadanari Okamoto

Praise Be to Small Ills
南無一病息災
Nanmu Ichibyo Sokusai








1974  Kihachiro Kawamoto

A Poet’s Life 
詩人の生涯
Shijin no Shōgai


1975  Tadanari Okamoto

The Water Seed 
水のたね
Mizu no Tane







1976  Kihachiro Kawamoto

Dojoji Temple 
道成寺
Dōjōji



1977  Tadanari Okamoto (Dentsu Eigasha)

Towards the Rainbow 
虹に向かって
Niji ni mukatte

1978  ----- no award ----



1979  Hayao Miyazaki (Tokyo Movie Shinsha) 

Lupin the Third: The Castle of Cagliostro
ルパン三世 カリオストロの城
Rupan sansei: Kariosutoro no shiro



1980  Taku Furukawa

Speed 
スピード


1981  Isao Takahata (OH! Productions)
Gauche the Cellist
セロ弾きのゴーシュ
Sero Hiki no Gōshu


1982  Tadanari Okamoto
The Magic Ballad
おこんじょうるり
Okonjōruri


1983  Mori Masaki 
(Gen Productions and Madhouse)
Barefoot Gen 
はだしのゲン
Hadashi no Gen



1984  Hayao Miyazaki
Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind
風の谷のナウシカ
Kaze no Tani no Naushika

  
1985  Gisaburō Sugii
Night on the Galactic Railroad
銀河鉄道の夜
Ginga Tetsudō no Yoru



1986  Hayao Miyazaki
Laputa: Castle in the Sky
天空の城ラピュタ
Tenkū no Shiro Rapyuta



1987  Osamu Tezuka (Tezuka Pro)
Legend of the Forest 
森の伝説
Mori no Densetsu



1988  Hayao Miyazaki
My Neighbour Totoro 
となりのトトロ
Tonari no Totoro
1989  ----- no award ----



1990  Kihachiro Kawamoto

Briar Rose or the Sleeping Beauty
いばら姫、またはねむり姫 
Ibara-hime, Mata ha Nemuri-hime




1991  Tadanari Okamoto/Kihachiro Kawamoto 
(Sakura Eiga-sha and Echo)
The Restaurant of Many Orders 
注文の多い料理店
Chūmon no Ōi Ryōriten
1992  ----- no award ----



1993  Shigeru Tamura

URSA minor BLUE
銀河の魚
Ginga no Sakana

1994  ----- no award ----



1995  Katsuhiro Otomo 

Memories
メモリーズ







1996  N+G Production

Home Alone 
るすばん 
Rusuban


1997  ----- no award ----









1998  Shirogumi (Tatsuo Shimamura)
Water Spirit 
水の精
Mizu no sei

Kappa Hyakuzu (河童百図)



1999  Aleksandr Petrov and his technical staff
The Old Man and the Sea 
老人と海
Roujin to Umi


2000  Hiroyuki Kitakubo
Blood – The Last Vampire
ブラッド ザ ラスト ヴァンパイア


2001  Hayao Miyazaki (Studio Ghibli)

The Whale Hunt 
くじらとり
Kujira Tori



2002  Satoshi Kon
Millennium Actress 
千年女優
Sennen Joyū



2003  Kihachiro Kawamoto et al.

Winter Days 
冬の日
Fuyu no hi


2004  Masaaki Yuasa

Mind Game 
マインド・ゲーム


2005  Shintaro Kishimoto

Tough Guy!


2006  Michael Arias (Studio 4°C) 

Tekkon Kinkreet 
鉄コン筋クリート



2007  Koji Yamamura
Franz Kafka’s A Country Doctor 
カフカ 田舎医者
Kafuka Inaka Isha


2008  Hayao Miyazaki (Studio Ghibli) 

Ponyo
崖の上のポニョ
Gake no Ue no Ponyo


2009  Hideto Nakata (Sovat Theater)

Elemi
電信柱エレミの恋い
Denshin-Bashira Elemi no Koi







2011 Isamu Hirabayashi

663114



2012 Katsuhiro Ōtomo

Combustible 
火要鎮
Hinoyōjin








2013 Akira Oda

The Moon that Fell into the Sea
海に落ちた月の話 
Umi ni Ochita Tsuki no Hanashi










2014 Onohana
Crazy Little Thing
澱みの騒ぎ 
Yodomi no Sakagi






2015 Ryo Orikasa
Datum point
水準原点 
Suijun Genten







2016 Sunao Katabuchi
In This Corner of the World
この世界の片隅に
Kono Sekai no Katasumi ni

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