Animation in Asia: appropriation, reinterpretation, and adoption or adaptationJohn A. Lent Uploaded 1 November 2000 Locating the original influences on Asian animation can be a daunting task, illustrated by the following two vignettes. 1. Sometime in 1923, the four Wan brothers, credited with starting animation in China, sat in a Shanghai theatre enraptured by three American cartoons shown that day. Forsaking any luxuries and most necessities, the Wans for the next three or four years devoted nearly all their time and money to learn animation, strictly by experimentation and imitation. Their first work, and China's first animation, Uproar in an art studio (1926) was much influenced by the American style, using the concept of the Out of the inkwell series by the Fleischer brothers. In the Wans' version, a painted figure on an artist's canvas comes to life and commences to play with the brushes and paints when the painter leaves the room. Admitted admirer of the cartoons of Dave and Max Fleischer, as well as the characters Mickey Mouse and Felix the Cat, the Wans also were influenced by Chinese shadow puppet theatre and Beijing Opera, the latter subsequently inspiring Wan Laiming's Havoc in heaven (1961). 2. One of Wan Laiming's films and China's first full-length cartoon, Princess with the iron fan (1941), motivated Tezuka Osamu, Japan's premier animator, to seek a career in animation. Tezuka was only sixteen when he saw the film. Other powerful influences on Tezuka came from the west. Calling Walt Disney an idol, Tezuka said he had seen Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse cartoons many times as a child, and, after World War II, had travelled from his Osaka home to Tokyo to see Bambi no less than one hundred times. When controversy brewed in the early 1990s about the similarities between Disney's The lion king and Tezuka's three-decades-earlier Jungle emperor, some critics remembered that Jungle emperor itself drew heavily on Disney animation and cartooning style. In this essay, an attempt is made to determine how and under what circumstances animation came to Asia, the interplay between foreign and indigenous animation, and the perceived impacts of - and resultant reactions to - foreign-originated cartoons.
Origins of animation in AsiaOne thing for sure about early animation in Asia was the prevalence of a western (meaning Disney for the most part) influence. Thus, in China, The smiling monkey was termed a copy of Mickey Mouse, and India's The Pea brothers (1934), considered by some as that country's first released animated film, was said to be "very much in the tradition of Disney and other foreign animators". In some cases, pioneer animators such as James Wang of Taiwan, Payut Ngaokrachang of Thailand, Tezuka of Japan, and Shin Dong Hun of Korea proudly accepted the title "the Disney" of their respective countries, handed out by journalists and adoring fans.  Marie-Claire Quiquemelle, "The Wan Brothers and sixty years of animated film in China", in Chris Berry (ed.), Perspectives on Chinese cinema (London: British Film Institute, 1991), 177.  Jayanti Sen, "The neglected queen of Indian animation", Animation world, October 1999. The outside influence resulted from exposure to foreign cartoons early on, and then from training abroad or onsite. Besides the Wans and Tezuka, other animators told of being enamoured with Disney and other U.S. works: Wang with Bambi which he saw in China in 1946; Payut with Snow White, Felix the cat, and others, which he said were the sources of his dreams, and China's A Da with Snow White. To hone in on China as an example, foreign works were always imitated, even during the times of Mao. As veteran animator Zhan Tong explained, the first generation of animators was inspired by Disney in the 1930s and 1940s, the second generation by Soviet and East European masters, and the succeeding generations from the 1980s on again by American animators.  Zhan Tong, interview with John A. Lent, Shanghai, 15 August 1993. However, the Chinese, perhaps more than any other Asian animators save those of Japan, were insistent on adapting only those elements of foreign animation that fit their culture, never favouring full adoption. In a July 1936 article in the periodical of the studio, Mingxing Company, the Wans stressed and praised the importance of American cartoons, telling of the influence of the Fleischers on them, but they emphasised that other animation was also very good, citing that of Germany and the Soviet Union, and that the Chinese could not continue to imitate the U.S. Wan Laiming wrote: In a Chinese film, one ought to have a story based purely on real Chinese traditions and stories, consistent with our sensibility and sense of humour....Also, our films must not only bring pleasure, but also be educational.  Quoted in Quiquemelle, 178. A short-time later, China produced its first feature-length animation, Princess with the iron fan, and although the Disney influence was still discernible, it did not have the usual heavy dosage of sweetness and prettiness. Further, the story evolved from the Chinese novel, Journey to the West. The Chinese added more local stories to their animation repertoire after Mao ascended to full power in 1949. In the 1950s, considered China's golden age of animation, indigenous styles and techniques such as paper-cut, ink and wash (shuimo dong huapian), and folded paper were applied to what became classic works. Writing in 1959, one of the two originators of the post-1949 animation studio, Jin Xi, said that Chinese animation must be educational, technically sound using characters with human traits, and varied in subject matter expressing a national character and the originality of Chinese culture. Jin Xi's article was a reaction to the influence of the many American cartoons shown before 1949 and Soviet ones in the 1950s.  Quoted in Quiquemelle, 182. Indian animation was started and nurtured over the years by outside factors and individuals. The first animated shorts were produced during World War I by the "father of Indian cinema," D.G. Phalke, when he could not obtain adequate film supplies to do live action features. The medium had steady growth during the succeeding decades, incorporating many aspects of Western animation. As Bendazzi wrote, Indian animation always: betrays the ethnic heritage of local animators and almost always borrows from Western productions. The few films referring to the extremely rich figurative, pictorial and colourist tradition of the country can be counted on the fingers of one hand and to quote a young Indian animator and journalist (Kireet Khurana) - "Animation in India is still waiting for a prince."  Giannalberto Bendazzi, Cartoons: one hundred years of cinema animation (London: John Libbey, 1994), 407. Outside influences were especially prominent in the training of animators. In 1956-1957, the governmental Films Division, with financial support of UNESCO and an American government foreign aid program, brought former Disney animator Clair Weeks to the Cartoon Film Unit where he trained a group of Indians, including Ram Mohan, Bhimsain, Satam, Ezra Mir, A.R. Sen, and Pramod Pati. Pati also studied with Czech animator Jiri Trnka and worked in both U.S. and Yugoslav studios before almost single-handedly developing Indian animation art films after 1960. In the early 1970s, Weeks and British academic Roger Noake were responsible for training graphic designers and artists at the National Institute of Design, who themselves would train the next generation of animators. The Zee Institute of Creative Arts (ZICA) in Hyderabad initially operated an animation school for its first three years, using Russian animators as teachers. As in the case of the Chinese, some Indian animators trained in a western tradition have, in the words of animator Jayanti Sen, kept in touch with their own soil. Notable among these have been Bhimsain and Ram Mohan.  Ram Mohan, letter to John A. Lent, 23 June 1998.  Jayanti Sen, "India's growing might", Animation world, October 1999. Pioneer animators of Taiwan had many connections to the U.S. industry. Chao Tse Hsiu, who directed Taiwan's first animated film, The race between the tortoise and the hare (1967), studied in Japan and the U.S. and learned some animation at Disney studios. When he returned to Taiwan in 1964, Chao brought with him four thousand pounds of animation equipment with which he established the Tse-Hsiu Institute of Art Production. One of Chao's trainee-employees was Mu-Tsun Huang, sent to the U.S. for additional training. Upon his return, in 1972, he opened the Nature Cartoon Company and later Chinese Youth Animation Co. Huang went back to the U.S. in 1978 to learn more of the Disney style. It was while he was in the U.S., after completing his masters degree at Indiana University and looking for ways to enter animation, that James Wang convinced Bill Hanna of Hanna-Barbera to back an offshore animation facility that Wang proposed in his native Taiwan. His Cuckoo's Nest (Wang Film Productions) quickly became one of the world's largest animation producers.  James Wang, interview with John A. Lent, Taipei, 10 July 1992. Hanna played a key role in establishing overseas studios in Australia, South Korea, Taiwan, and the Philippines. In each case, the studio was structured with the Hanna-Barbera production formula and emphasised recruiting and training local staff and finding incentives and policies to overcome cultural differences and work ethics. Thailand's first animator, Payut Ngaokrachang, had done an animated short in the mid-1950s that caught the attention of the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok, which was looking for cartoonists to draw anti-communism themes. Payut drew for the embassy a Thai child sitting in the palm of a hairy hand carrying a sickle and was quickly signed to a contract. In 1955, he started nearly thirty-four years of work with the United States Information Service, where he produced Hanuman pachoenpai krangmai (The new adventures of Hanuman, 1958) and Dek kub mee (A child and a bear, 1960). Like the Wans in China, Payut was influenced both by the Fleischers and by local shadow theatre (nan talung).  Payut Ngaokrachang, interview with John A. Lent, Bangkok, 5 August 1993. Work-for-hire animation Much of Asia's animation production since the 1960s has been tied to foreign interests attracted by stable and inexpensive labour supplies. For nearly forty years, Hollywood (as well as Canadian and West European) studios have established and maintained production facilities, first in Japan, then in South Korea and Taiwan, and now also in the Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand, India, Indonesia, and China. The economics of the industry made it feasible for Asia to feed the cartoon world, to the extent that today, about 90% of all "American" television animation is produced in Asia. The usual procedure is for pre-production (preparing the script, storyboard, and exposure sheets) to be done in the United States or other headquarter countries, after which, the package is sent to Asia for production (drawing cels, colouring by hand, inking, painting, and camera work). The work is sent back to the U.S. or other headquarter country for post-production (film editing, colour timing, and sound). Asian animation companies bid fiercely for part of the global business, insisting that it provides employment and skills for young people, brings in needed foreign capital, and adds to the creation or enhancement of domestic animation. Most animation workstations in Asia are staffed by young people, many of whom are women sought for their "delicate touch." They are enticed by wages low by western scales but competitive locally, splashy perks, ceremonies, and celebrations, or opportunities to be trained. James Wang believes one way of satisfying, and therefore retaining, employees is to keep their skills finely honed through many training classes. "You cannot force people to work, but if you train them, they feel they are not being used," he explained.  Wang. Even in situations where wages have been low and working conditions poor, Asian animation officials rationalise away labour exploitation. Ram Mohan, head of a dominant Bombay Studio, said: "I don't see it as such [exploitation]. From an Indian perspective, if I do animation for Hollywood, it is an opportunity for young people to find a career." The vice general manager of Shanghai Yilimei Animation Co., Jin Guoping, also denied it was labour exploitation, pointing out that his studio's wages were above median compared with other companies involved in foreign investment. Nevertheless, animators in offshore companies face a precarious existence because of the seasonal nature of animation work and knowing they can be easily replaced by freelancers, computers, or cheaper labour elsewhere.  Ram Mohan, interview with John A. Lent, Bombay, 13 July 1993.  Jin Guoping, interview with John A. Lent, Shanghai, 13 August 1993. A claim often heard is that the offshore animation leads to the creating and nurturing of a local industry, as an infrastructure is built up, equipment is put into place, and skills are transferred. By the latter decades of the century, certainly Asia was in need of a larger supply of domestic animation as television and cable channels proliferated, demanding much larger supplies of programming. However, not much domestic animation resulted from the presence of foreign-based studios. In most countries, animators can point to only one or two features or television series that have local angles. An exception for a brief time in the mid-1990s was South Korea, which, with much government support, was bent on establishing a local animation industry. In 1994, government officials recognised animation as a "value-added" product and granted the industry a number of incentives, such as a lower tax base, low interest loans, and a viable infrastructure. Studios producing primarily foreign work increasingly turned domestic, bringing out about a half-dozen features and numerous shorts and episodes depicting Korean folklore, humour, and culture. But, the boom subsided by the late 1990s, as overseas markets were not found and as the costs of producing local animation far outweighed its popularity among Koreans. South Korea is still the third largest producer of animation worldwide, but 95% of its output is manufactured by foreign order. Not one of the nearly 400 animation studios in Korea is devoted entirely to making domestic shows. Shanghai Animation Film Studio, which for decades produced only Chinese animation, started to pick up foreign work by the early 1990s, especially after it became Shanghai Yilimei Animation Co., a joint venture with Yick Lee Development Co. of Hong Kong. In the mid-1990s, 70 percent of the merged company's funding still came from government, allocated on the basis that the company completed a 300-400 annual minutes of domestic animation quota set by the authorities. Any money needed for development and creativity came from the 500-700 annual minutes of animation done for foreign firms. By the end of the decade, the state lowered its allocation to 30%. Yet, China still produced about 6,000 minutes of domestic animation in 1998, doubling the previous year's total. Similarly, the Hanoi Cartoon Studio was changed significantly as Vietnam adapted to the world economy in the 1990s, brought on by the collapse of its donor nation the Soviet Union, the re-establishment of diplomatic and trade relationships with the U.S., and the linkup with the Internet, lowering communication costs. The amount of domestic animation produced by Hanoi Cartoon Studio had been formidable, five to ten titles annually since 1961, for a total of 260 by 1998. The quality of the artwork was superb, for Vietnam is a country with a long tradition of drawing and painting, reinforced by the French colonisers who encouraged the formation of art schools. Beginning in 1991, Vietnam became a haven for overseas animation studios, first the Japanese, followed by the French company Pixibox in 1994, and American, Korean, Filipino, German, and Australian companies since the mid-1990s. In 1997-98, Australia's Energee Entertainment struck a deal whereby Hanoi Cartoon Studio would become its overseas facility and grant Energee distribution rights to its full catalogue of animation. Creative aspects of animation, such as compositing, modelling, and rendering of images, that used to be done with high levels of skill in Vietnam, are retained in Paris, San Francisco, or Sydney. Vietnamese artists are now sent to Australia for training or are imbued with the "European philosophy" brought to the Hanoi studio every three or four months by visits from Parisian heads of Pixibox.  Anne Aghion and John Merson, "Emerging Vietnam", Animation world, August 1998. Move to co-productions Reeling from financial woes of the late 1990s and a decline in U.S. television production, Asian service studios entered into co-production agreements with American, Canadian, Australian, and European partners. Benefits accruing to the Asian studios include moving from strictly work-for-hire to a more creative role in animation, enlarging capital investment pools, being involved in larger, more prestigious projects, and gaining a wider distribution abroad. Also, because sales of animation in Asia were almost impossible because of widespread piracy, Asian studios sought co-production deals in which they would share in profits from North America and Europe. The most formidable partnership - that of Walt Disney International (WDI) and Japan's Tokuma Shoten Publishing Co. to distribute the latter's films worldwide through Buena Vista Home Entertainment did not involve a service studio, but rather Studio Ghibli Co., a Tokuma subsidiary famous for the work of its resident animator Hayao Miyazaki. The pact gave WDI global video rights to market eight animated features already produced by Miyazaki, as well as theatre release worldwide of his Princess Mononuke. Perhaps more importantly, it provided WDI entry into anime, which one Disney official said, they hoped to "legitimise" and bring into the mainstream. WDI already controlled 65% of the Japanese market for children's videos. Critical of Disney films, Miyazaki was not thrilled by the deal. Previously, he would not grant rights for outside distribution of his anime to foreign companies for fear they would alter his work. He reversed his policy to help Tokuma, which, he said, had always been good to him and now needed the money to be gained from the partnership.  New York times, 24 July 1996, 1 February 1998. Co-production arrangements grew steadily at the close of the 1990s. In China, Morning Sun Studio joined with Fred Wolf Studios to make Dino babies, and with Warner Brothers and Fred Wolf to produce Sinbad the sailor; Shanghai Yilimei partnered with CINAR of Canada on a TV series Rumble & growl, and other studios with Yoram Gross Village Roadshow of Australia, Network of Animation (Canada), the Storm Group of England, Tokuma Group of Japan, and Moro Animation Film Studio of Spain. In January 2000, a state-owned group called Shanghai Telefilm Group was set up to produce, distribute, license, and merchandise Chinese animation. Though not strictly a co-production arrangement, the group did combine Shanghai Yilimei Animation, Shanghai Cartoon Culture Development Co., Shanghai Animation Fine Drawing Studio, and Cartoon king magazine in a partnership to produce a 52-episode TV series, Music up and a second animated feature after Lotus lantern, as well as to establish the Shanghai Animation Institute. Realising they were pricing themselves out of work-for-hire animation, Korean studios also tried to develop creative partnerships after 1997. Besides the Disney-Tokuma Shoten cooperative effort, others in Japan were formed between MADHOUSE Studios and Korea's Samsung Entertainment to produce Alexander, Nippon Animation and Mitsui and U.S.'s LA Animation to work on The monkey king, Tezuka Productions and RAI of Italy, Nippon Animation and Doro TV, also of Italy, and Nippon Ramayana Films and Ram Mohan of India. The latter partnership resulted in production of the epic Ramayana and Swan Princess III. Because of fears by the Indian government that the story might be trivialised and lead to religious turmoil among Indians, Ramayana took ten years to reach the screen. Ram Mohan and his team provided visual reference and key drawings, from which the Japanese worked to create an interesting fusion of manga (comic book) style and Indian design.
Dominance of foreign animationAnimation dominated by foreign programs tops all children's television in Asia. Much of the foreign animation arrived with the multinational television broadcasters Star TV, TNT, BBC, Disney, Cartoon Network, etc. For example, 66% of television animation in the Beijing market is foreign, of which one-half is Disney; in recent years, CINAR of Canada signed with CCTV to broadcast Arthur and Germany's EM. TV supplied fifty-two episodes of Blinky Bill. The foreign media conglomerates compete furiously for the cartoon market of Asia, launching customised cablecasts as Disney Channel did in the Philippines in 1998, dubbing into local languages as TNT & Cartoon Network did in India the following year, and using all types of strategies to make themselves welcomed. All outsiders used gimmicks to woo audiences and placate parents in the mid - to late - 1990s, but perhaps Cartoon Network was the most persistent and innovative. In 1997, Cartoon Network Japan was set up as a joint venture, combining Japanese and Western animation in 24-hour broadcasts; shortly after, the service was expanded to Australia. Also in 1997, Cartoon Network on Tour came into being as a musical production of animated characters who took to the road to perform in various Asian shopping malls. That same year, the network split its Asia Pacific feed to cater to specific regional preferences of Southeast Asia, Australia/New Zealand, and India, and in January 1998, TNT and Cartoon Network found a spot on Hong Kong's pay cable system Wharf TV. In India, Cartoon Network fine tuned programming and transmission timings, organised children's events, co-sponsored the release of Space Jam in four cities, and organised a campaign to donate toys to orphanages, including that of Mother Teresa. Despite such efforts, foreign animation continues to spark controversy and condemnation in Asia. For years, Chinese authorities have on and off banned western favourites to make room for local cartoon characters, have released feature productions to eclipse western cartoons not in tune with China policy (e.g. Red River Valley was released to offset Disney's Kundun, which sang the praise of the Dalai Lama), and have cancelled or postponed the showing of American animation as a reaction to the U.S.- China trade wars. Of course the main objections to the importation of American and Japanese animation have to do with the presenting of values which are anathema to Asian cultures or the depicting of violent or sexually explicit content. Authorities in at least Korea, Taiwan, the Philippines, Thailand, Singapore, and Malaysia have made such complaints, in some cases, such as that of Malaysia, leading to the development of more culturally appropriate local animation. Filipino parents, newspaper columnists, and religious and educational figures complained about Japanese robot anime as early as 1979 when the genre was introduced to the Philippines. One critical writer, Renato Constantino, even suggested these films were "intended to facilitate acceptance of Japanese war technology." Reacting to the parents' objections, President Ferdinand Marcos ordered the Board of Censors that the showing of all robot programs be proscribed immediately. At the time, the Japanese show, Voltes V, was rated number one of all television programming with a 40% viewership rating. More recently, in 1995, the head of the movie review agency met with television executives to demand that violent scenes be removed from carton shows "to help children grow up properly - physically and mentally." The executives agreed to excise violence from twenty-seven cartoons.  Quoted in Asiaweek, 14 September 1979: 15. Although Singapore authorities have been very strict in keeping out cartoons considered in bad taste or containing explicitly sexual or violent content, some liberalisation of censorship policies occurred in the 1990s. Before then, and to a degree yet, cartoons were expected to use humanistic themes, moral messages, and educational values. In 1994, Singapore Broadcasting Corporation permitted Japanese anime with some sex and violence to be shown after midnight, which made little sense as the broadcasters see animation as being children's fare, and the censoring board extended the hours per week that could be filled with anime from two to four in the early 1990s, and from twelve to fifteen in 2000. But none is shown in primetime. The television station chooses the anime by its popularity and clean content, often looking at past records of particular cartoons in other nations. Anime was banned in Korea and Taiwan for decades because of the fear of Japanese cultural imperialism, understandable as both countries had been occupied by Japan. However, in neither country was the inflow of anime abated as piracy ran rampant. Commissions were set up in Korea and Taiwan to censor and ban anime, staying in existence until the 1990s. In Korea, the maintaining of a censoring body for Japanese cultural products had no logical base whatsoever, since such products were not allowed to be there in the first place. Calls for the banning of Disney's Aladdin as a racist film in 1993 did not advance very far in Muslim Southeast Asia, partly because of lack of attention by the mass media. In Malaysia, very little publicity was given to the charges, according to one study, because Malays are Muslims, but not Arabs; the public perceives animation as just cartoons not to be taken seriously, and the distributor of Aladdin had taken steps to offset negative publicity. The reaction was low key in Indonesia, because the country must protect a highly developed film industry, which has had past troubles with Hollywood. Since 1989, Indonesia has been on a U.S. watch list for copyright infringements relative to films and videos; at another time, Hollywood had threatened to completely take over film distribution and exhibition in the country. Concluding their 1995 study, White and Winn said that though Islam is a powerful force in the region, so are money and the love of Disney. They pointed out that fundamentalists calling for a ban of Aladdin sought publicity in newspapers highly-dependent on advertising, much of it from movie theatres. The end results: Muslims were torn between their religion and Arab solidarity and their love of movies and Disney animation; governments between public groups offended by Aladdin and the demands of the mainstream for their "Disney fix." As White and Winn wrote, Disney won.  Timothy R. White and J. Emmett Winn, "Islam, animation and money: the reception of Disney's Aladdin in Southeast Asia." Kinema 2. no.3 (1995): 58-59.  White and Winn, 65. Animation's fit to Asian societies Over the years, animation was fitted to Asian societies and their mass media. Politically, filmed cartoons have served governmental and bureaucratic goals, particularly in China, Vietnam, and the Philippines. Most Chinese animation stressed morals, such as wholehearted service to the people (The panda's shop); promoted campaigns; or exposed enemies of the state, such as the Gang of Four in One night in an art gallery (1978). In the 1960s and early 1970s, Vietnamese cartoons carried wartime themes, such as those of The kitty (1966), which depicted a kitten who successfully organises against an army of invading rats, or The talking blackbird (1972), the story of a Vietnamese boy and his blackbird companion who together defeat the Americans. Ironically, it was the Marcos dictatorship that advanced animation in the Philippines, the type deemed useful to the administration, such as propagandising for the presidency and its favourite projects. In economic terms, animation also found its niche in parts of Asia. As previously mentioned, the enticement of foreign studios and their work-for-hire and co-production schemes brought in foreign money, especially capitalised on by the Korean government when it found out that animation represented most of the country's cultural products exports. In the same vein, the Singapore government recognised the economic advantages of attracting computer animation firms to that techno culture, and in the 1990s, helped set up animation training programs in three polytechnic institutes. At the end of the 1990s, the Hong Kong government signed an agreement with Disney to create a Hong Kong Disneyland theme park, with hopes of reviving sagging tourism and offsetting a 5.1% fall in Hong Kong's gross domestic product in 1998. The park was expected to generate a net economic benefit of US$19 billion over forty years, an annual increase of three million tourists, and ninety-five thousand low-skill jobs. Reactions varied concerning the park, scheduled to open in 2005. Asiaweek commented that, like Tokyo Disneyland, the complex will celebrate "Americana, seen through the eyes of Hollywood," while the other Hong Kong-based newsmagazine, Far Eastern economic review, editorialised that the Hong Kong government's joint venture with Disney "is hard to describe in any other way except, well, goofy".  Asahi evening news, 7 March 1999:1.  Asiaweek, 12 November 1999: 53.  Editorial, Far Eastern economic review, 18 November 1999: 90. Disney chief Michael Eisner had alerted stockholders about the deal in his 1998 report to them: "I am completely confident that the Chinese people would love Mickey no less than a Big Mac. As evidenced by the popularity of McDonald's, we could be getting close to the time for a major Disney attraction in the world's most populous nation." He had good reason to be confident; Tokyo Disneyland in its first sixteen years grew to be the world's most popular theme park, wooing 229 million visitors. Culturally, animation was moulded to Asia through the use of indigenous artistic styles and techniques, such as paperfold, paper-cut, and ink and wash in China, or shadow theatre in China, Indonesia, and Japan, and localised plots based on literary, religious, or folkloric stories. Finally, a symbiotic relationship has existed between animation and other mass media in Asia. In Japan, manga and anime feed off each other, and in Hong Kong and Taiwan, many Japanese anime evolve into live action films and television drama serials. Hong Kong musicians write and sing Cantonese versions of anime theme songs, and other Asian artists, such as Lat of Malaysia, Nonoy Marcelo of the Philippines, Dwi Koendoro of Indonesia, or Pran of India adapt their print cartoon characters to the screen.