The Battle for Cheburashka: will we be able to return the beloved hero sold to the Japanese

The Battle for Cheburashka: will we be able to return the beloved hero sold to the Japanese

Categories: Asia | Cinema

Exactly 16 years ago we sold our beloved Cheburashka to the Japanese for 10 years. In 2023, the term of the contract ends, but Russia wants to return the darling of millions to his homeland before this deadline. So far, Soyuzmultfilm has not come to a consensus with the temporary copyright holders and the most "heavy artillery" has been used.

The Battle for Cheburashka: will we be able to return the beloved hero sold to the Japanese

The Soyuzmultfilm office insists that the contract on the transfer of rights to the fairy-tale hero is invalid. Juliana Slashcheva, chairman of the studio's management board, claims that the document was drawn up on the basis of Japanese legislation, which significantly complicates the interaction between the Russian and Japanese sides. Any trial can only take place in a Japanese court and it is not financially feasible and physically troublesome.

The Battle for Cheburashka: will we be able to return the beloved hero sold to the Japanese

But the Japanese do not care about the problems of the Russian side — they have firmly grasped Cheburashka and are exploiting it with might and main. The termination of the contract and the return of the character can be carried out only at the highest international level, with the participation of the government and personally V.V. Putin.

Work on the return of characters sold abroad has been underway since 2017. During this time, it was possible to return 90% of cartoon characters from the so-called "golden fund". It's time to do Cheburashka — the most famous and valuable Soviet-Russian hero.

The Battle for Cheburashka: will we be able to return the beloved hero sold to the Japanese

Passions around Cheburashka have been boiling since 1995, since his "father" Eduard Uspensky founded a company whose name featured the name of an eared creature. A trademark was created and all the rights to it turned out to be with Uspensky. At the same time, it is well known that Cheburashka was invented in 1968 by the production designer Leonid Shvartsman, and Eduard Nikolaevich came up with everyone's favorite stories about a fabulous creature. Schwarman turned out to be somehow not involved in the creation of Cheburashka, since there is a detailed description of the hero's appearance in Uspensky's books.

Over the years of Cheburashka's existence, only lazy did not use his recognizable image. It even appeared on the packaging of Bulgarian toothpaste for children. Many times there were courts concerning copyright and, in the end, it was also recognized for Schwartzman.

In this regard, the Olympic team, which decided to use Cheburashka as a mascot, concluded an agreement not only with Uspensky, but also with the real author of the image. In 2002, the big-eared pet of children went to the USA. Chebu-Pictures, a company specially created to work with the hero, acquired the rights for a year to shoot the continuation of the Soviet cartoon.

The Battle for Cheburashka: will we be able to return the beloved hero sold to the Japanese

But then Cheburashka's place of residence changed and the Japanese had the rights to it. In 2008, a cartoon directed by Makoto Nakamura was released, by the way, in Russian. In 2010, our pet was fully exploited at the Tokyo Festival, where guests were offered souvenirs with Cheburashka, ranging from stickers and pens, ending with posters, bags and clothes.

The Japanese trilogy "Cheburashka goes to the zoo", "Cheburashka and the Circus", "The Soviets of Shapoklyak", written by Eduard Uspensky and Mikhail Aldashin, was a great success. The Japanese Cheburashka was called "Tseburasco", and the old woman Shapoklyak for some reason "Shapokriak".

The Japanese are very fond of Cheburashka and this can only be explained by the pathological passion of this people for various strange creatures.Any exit of our hero invariably causes delight, as it was in 2015 during the Sunday parade in Tokyo. Then the appearance of a big-eared character in the crowd caused real jubilation and became a little envious and insulting.

The Battle for Cheburashka: will we be able to return the beloved hero sold to the Japanese

The Japanese period of Cheburashka's life is 26 six episodes, each of which can be considered as a separate story. By the 15th anniversary of the hero's appearance in the Land of the Rising Sun, a short 3D cartoon was shot, telling about his acquaintance with the crocodile Gena.

Our animators are also ready to please us with pictures of Cheburashka, but this is not possible until 2023 due to the contract. The Japanese categorically refuse to return him home ahead of time and, from the point of view of the law, they are right. Moreover, the other day Cheburashka Project LLP offered to discuss the extension of the contract on the rights to the hero for several more years.

The Battle for Cheburashka: will we be able to return the beloved hero sold to the Japanese

This scares patriots who advocate the development of domestic animation and therefore they look at the head of Russia. Many believe that Putin will be able to negotiate and return Cheburashka to Russian children, who turned out to be in "slavery" due to our own imprudence.

Keywords: Cartoon | Popularity | Russia | Soyuzmultfilm | Ussr | Japan

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