Watching the ad scenes from "The Lion King" on TV while the film was under production, I felt that it resembled "Jungle Taitei" somewhat. However, I believed that there was no way that a production no less than Disney would do such a thing. The reason is that I have learned much from Disney Productions concerning protection of copyrights.
So I was quite shocked to see the finished "Lion King"
The animated version of "Jungle Taitei" was aired in America in the late '60s. The Title at that time was, "Kimba the white lion". Japanese are familiar with the name of the hero as "Leo", but in America it is "Kimba" The name of the hero in "The Lion King" is "Simba"
The coloring scheme for the lion who plays the enemy role is the same, as well. Working under that lion is a hyena. a bird is the speaker. Not only that, the setting is not in the savanna where lions generally live, but in a rocky area, and the carnivorous characters get their animal protein from eating bugs..... Can all of this be coincidence?
Tedzuka Productions released a comment concerning this issue, saying that "The story is different, so we cannot say that it is plagiarism". This is typical Japanese modesty and a virtue. However, on the other hand, Disney's comments that "We have never seen 'Jungle Taitei' nor have we been influenced by it", or "There are always people who get upset over these sort of things," caused me to doubt their integrity.
I am only one fan, and one Japanese who is proud of Japanese cartoons. I do not want to go beyond what Tedzuka Production is doing and register an official complaint. I wanted to send a message to Disney, that at the least a comment stating "With respect to Osamu Tedzuka's 'Jungle Taitei'" would have been appreciated.When I sent a letter and signatures to Buena Vista International's Vice President Hillary Clark on August 20, I had 489 signatures. The number of signatures has since increased, and on September 22nd was at 1126 signatures. This is a small movement, but the appeal is from the heart.
Machiko Satonaka, Cartoonist, born in Osaka, 1948