Born 1934 in Osaka. When a first grade student at high school, he went to the cinema with his class to watch the Disney animated feature film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and was deeply moved. He then started to research the history of animation from all over the world. After his graduation from high school, he worked in the newspaper industry for 36 years at the Osaka head office of the Mainichi Shimbun. In cooperation with his friend YAMAGUCHI Katsunori, the late film collector SUGIMOTO Goro, and Planet Film Library, he co-wrote the book Nihon animeshon eigashi (History of Japanese Animation) [Yubunsha] in 1977. He coauthored Gekijo anime 70 nenshi (70 Years of Animated Feature Film) [Animage Edition, Tokumashoten] in 1989.
He has since taught introductory courses on animation film world historyat the animation departments of numerous universities. Since March 1998, he has been writing a serial, Sengo gekijo anime-shon kokaishi (History of Animated Feature Film Releases After World War Two) in Biranzi, edited by TAKEUCHI Osamu. Since March 2010, he has been writing a serial about the history of foreign animation screened in Japan, published in the reprinted edition of Bunseishoin's Kinema junpo. Additionally, he is also working on a critical biography of the animator MASAOKA Kenzo. His main research theme is the history of Disney animation.
There is no one else for whom the label “animation researcher” could be more adequate. Today more than ever, a large number of publications relating to animation is available, but regardless, WATANABE Yasushi's Nihon anime-shon eigashi (History of Japanese Animation Film) still forms the entrance to them all. It is acclaimed not only as a trustworthy foundational text, but also as a book in which the love of animation flows off the pages. WATANABE resides in the Kansai area, but his broad and deep network as a researcher reaches outto the whole of Japan. On top of his dedication to the younger generation of researchers, the advice and material he can provide from his rich knowledge make him a key figure trusted and praised by film production companies, television broadcasters andpublishers, as well as governmental institutions. We expect great things from his further activities. (TAKAHASHI Ryosuke)