January 7, 2015 posted by

Japanese Animated Commercials


It’s been a while since I’ve done an anime post. Well, maybe I can get back to it a bit for the New Years.

Every week, Mike Kazaleh has been sharing some delightful commercials that aired in America’s television in the past 50-60 years. Well, it just so happens that Japan also have their share of animated commercials.

The downside is that it’s harder to find information on what studio made commercials, and who made them. I’ll try to give out what I can dig up when applicable.

Torys Whiskey
Torys Whiskey has been manufactured by Suntory since 1907. In 1958, they introduced a character named “Uncle Torys” for use in both print and animated advertisements. He was designed by Ryohei Yanagihara (born 1931), a cartoonist and designer who was part of a group with Yoji Kuri and Hiroshi Manabe, working on their own animation.

Uncle Torys is still used in commercials today, complete with stylized limited animation.

Here’s one from the 1958, featuring Uncle Torys encountering an alien who wants some drink.

Kappa Kizakura
Another commercial for an alcoholic beverage, this time sake from Kizakura company. Their commercials featuring “Kappas” has been on air since 1959. Below is a kappa commercial from 1972.

The Kappa characters was designed by cartoonist Kō Kojima (born 1928)

Edo Murasaki
This is one of those products that only Japanese people are familiar with. Edo Murasaki is a brand name for tsukudani, a type of seaweed that’s been boiled in soy sauce. Usually put on top of rice.

TCJ, the same company that made “Gigantor”, “8th Man”, and other early TV anime, produced these commercials. This one is from 1958.

Suntory Port Wine
Here’s a dreamy commercial from 1962, advertising Suntory’s brand of wine. Toei Animation produced this.

Seiko Clock
A 1953 commercial that aired on Nippon Television, featuring a rooster and a Seiko clock. Produced by Dentsu.

Mitsuwa Plus
How about some stop-motion to end the post? From 1964, this was for a brand of soap and laundry detergent. This was directed by Kihachirō Kawamoto (1925-2010) at Shiba Production. After some encouragement from Jiří Trnka, Kawato started producing his own short films using puppets.



  • Interesting visual styles when compared to what we usually see. By the way, I like your use of line weight in your latest cartoon.

    • “Interesting visual styles when compared to what we usually see.”

      More like visual styles you usually see, I’ve seen plenty myself and a few of these, especially the Suntory commercial, are obviously UPA inspired anyway.

    • More like visual styles you usually see, I’ve seen plenty myself and a few of these, especially the Suntory commercial, are obviously UPA inspired anyway.

      By the late 50’s, that was the look often seen in plenty of ads produced internationally. It was pretty natural to see how it shaped early TV animation in all corners of the globe.

  • This is a really charming collection of older commercials, the Mitsuwa Plus one was really cute. I enjoy searching for 80’s-90’s Japanese animated commercials for various video games but this is a great place to start for earlier stuff.

  • Excuse me. Yesterday, I’ve just found an unusual Japanese commercial from the 60s that use string puppets just to sell sponge cakes.
    Are you free enough to talk about this?

  • Do you have any commercials animated by TMS? Especially from their Telecom division? I want to see some Animaniacs/TIny toons style commercials, but not featuring any of the characters from aformentioned shows.

    • They were 2 Lupin III Esso commercials that were done in that style & the commercial for Sonic Drift but for the most part TMS almost never went the Tiny Toons route for Non-Warner Bros projects, just how to think if shows like Hamtaro (or just have Telecom on it at all), LilPri and Aikatsu had that type of animation, they will be much better because of it.

      Still, I can’t leave you empty handed, so here you go.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=03v9ft4S0Z4 (From Shojiro Nishimi)
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NpWjWW3FdBI (From Atsuko Tanaka)

      Both these commercials are done by Takashi Kawaguchi


      And for something more modern, here is Hiroyuki Aoyama’s Aikatsu X Tamagotchi commercial, note that this is the last thing Aoyama did before doing Space Dandy for Bones (Atsuko Tanaka, Kenji Hachizaki, Sawako Miyamoto and Takashi Kawaguchi (Ex-Freelancer) were also on Dandy as well), the commercial has nothing to do with the Tiny Toons style but it’s to point out that most of Telecom’s major staff since 1984 is still at the company.


      Telecom as of now is doing a Blue Jacket Lupin III series witch has funding from France & Italy, but the art style is closer to that of Gummi Bears and DuckTales rather then Tiny Toons and Animaniacs, regardless that it’s done by the same staff as those 4 shows.

  • The Seiko(sha) ad was the first ad to air on Nippon Television and Japanese television in general – it was also a time announcement (in this case, it’s 7pm).
    Here’s another ad, this one from 1957, giving the time of 12pm (this was recorded during HBC Hokkaido’s experimental broadcasts):

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