Hiroshima International Animation Festival

Hiroshima International Animation Festival

Official Statement:
The Future of the International Animation Festival in Japan - HIROSHIMA

Official Statement

January 10th, 2021

Dear Friends,

  We regret to announce that the International Animation Festival in Japan – HIROSHIMA (henceforth “Hiroshima Festival” or “the festival”), which we have held with the city of Hiroshima for 36 years beginning in 1984, came to an end after its 18th edition, which took place in August 2020.
 The city of Hiroshima took this decision without first consulting any of us at ASIFA (International Animated Film Association) and ASIFA-JAPAN (ASIFA’s Japan branch). We regret that the city ended Hiroshima Festival without discussing the matter with either ASIFA, which co-founded and officially endorsed the festival, or ASIFA-JAPAN, which co-founded and co-organized it.

  Hiroshima Festival was established in 1984 in the spirit of “Love and Peace.” It was born of a vision shared by the city of Hiroshima, which wishes for lasting peace, and ASIFA, which aims to spread international friendship and understanding by advancing the art of animation. At the outset, we agreed with the city that we would hold the festival uninterruptedly, placing the art of animation at the heart of our vision to create an “artistic and cultural forest” in Hiroshima, which seeks to be a city of international peace and culture in the truest sense.
  In 1985, we held the first edition of the festival to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the bomb. Beforehand, Mr. Takeshi Araki, then mayor of the city of Hiroshima, asked ASIFA to endorse the festival; ASIFA did so on the condition that ASIFA-JAPAN would be involved with the running of the event as co-organizer. Ever since, the city and ASIFA-JAPAN have held the festival every other year in the spirit of “Love and Peace,” while observing ASIFA’s rules. In doing so, they have drawn acclaim from around the world; Hiroshima Festival has become a qualifying festival for the Academy Awards and Annie Awards, and has come to be known as one of the world’s “four great” animation festivals.

  However, in November 2019, the city of Hiroshima declared out of the blue: “Hiroshima Festival will cease to exist in its current form after its 18th edition. In 2022, the city will launch a new ‘general arts and culture event’ [provisional title], which will feature animation. But ASIFA (and ASIFA-JAPAN) will not be involved.”
  As newspapers and other media have reported, the city of Hiroshima has said that it wants its new “general arts and culture event” to “boost the number of visitors to Hiroshima, stimulate the local audiovisual content industry, revitalize the economy, and promote tourism.” Yet Hiroshima Festival, while serving as an international film festival, has also been contributing to tourism and providing cultural and educational opportunities to young people from the area. It seems that, rather than spread the message of “Love and Peace” to the world as a city of international peace and culture, the city of Hiroshima has chosen to go further than before in prioritizing financial gain.
  The city has also said that it will hold animation competitions and programs as part of this “general arts and culture event.” But these will have nothing to do with past editions of Hiroshima Festival — they will be a completely different event.

  People around the world are telling us that they hope the International Animation Festival in Japan, as endorsed by ASIFA and led by ASIFA-JAPAN, will continue. Your words give us great encouragement. We will continue to do our utmost to meet your expectations.
  Finally, we would like to express our deepest gratitude for all your warm support and friendship so far.

Note: On December 18, 2020, the city of Hiroshima revealed that its ‘general arts and culture event’ will be called ‘Hiroshima kokusai heiwa bunka-sai,’ which translates as ‘Hiroshima International Cultural Festival of Peace.’

Sayoko KINOSHITA,ASIFA President/ ASIFA-JAPAN President
Yuichi ITO,ASIFA-JAPAN Board Member
Hiroshi ONISHI,ASIFA-JAPAN Board Member, Project Team
Kiyoshi NISHIMOTO,ASIFA-JAPAN Board Member, Project Team
Makiko NAGAO,ASIFA-JAPAN General Secretary, Project Team
Kotaro SATO,ASIFA-JAPAN Project Team
… and all ASIFA-JAPAN members who support us

FAQ: The Future of the International Animation Festival in Japan – HIROSHIMA