Joka (lost animated fan film based on anime series; 1989)

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A poster for the film.

Status: Lost

Gegege no Kitaro (ゲゲゲの鬼太郎) is a multimedia franchise created by manga author Shigeru Mizuki. Although relatively unknown in the West, Gegege no Kitaro is extremely popular in Japan, and has an array of multiple different video games, feature films, and anime. In 1989, the Japanese doujin group "Kitaroza" (鬼太郎座) produced an unofficial film based on the series, titled (女禍, Joka, also known as Jo-Ka). This small group of fans specialized in making self-published manga (known as doujinshi) specifically based on the 1985 Gegege no Kitaro anime. Despite the films limited animation, it was reported that the quality was phenomenal for a fan project, as many industry professionals were involved in its production. Although VHS copies of the film have circulated among fans, the film remains lost.

An image taken from an unknown publication. The run-time for the film is listed at roughly 30 minutes.


The film's run time was approximately 30 minutes. It was animated using a technique known as "Dynavision", in which cels were projected in a slide-show manner, with sound effects and light projections used to give the illusion of movement.[1] Details about the soundtrack are unknown; However, the film had an ending theme sung by the artist MIQ (also known as MIO) titled "月読幻想" (lit. Moon Reading Fantasy).[2] MIQ has sung the opening and closing songs for anime such as "Heavy Metal L-Gaim" and "Xabungle".

Shigeru Mizuki gave permission for the artists and crew involved to use his characters, and was present to witness a screening of the film. Isamu Tanonaka also returned to voice Kitaro's father, Medama Oyaji. [1]

The film was screened privately on March of 1989 at an event known as "Yokai Champon" (妖怪ちゃんぽん).[3] It's unknown how many times the film was screened outside of this event; However, Wikipedia lists the film as having only one screening. Shortly after Joka was screened, "Kitaroza" disbanded, though many of the original members would work together on future projects.


A pamphlet given out during a private screening. Some characters, such as Neko-Musume, were given a slight redesign for the film.

The film takes place after the events of the third Gegege no Kitaro anime series. Characters from the third anime are featured, although the female protagonist "Yumeko" is no longer present.[4] Lost Media Wiki user "Robotkat" has graciously translated the plot of the film from "La Moon’s" official website (formerly "Kitaroza"), which has been provided in the External Links section. A basic plot summary is as follows:

Jigoku-Doji returns to visit Kitaro, telling him of a human who has the ability to remove souls from the afterlife and put them through eternal suffering. This human is named Yasuda. Yasuda, who was once an archaeologist, was confused as to why there was little information about the God Tsukuyomi-no-Mikoto (月読尊) that he could find in his research. He soon discovers a piece of literature, stating that Tsukuyomi was the God who was responsible for creating Yokai. Yasuda stole five ancient orbs from the tomb of Tsukuyomi, using their powers to absorb souls in an attempt to resurrect the powerful God.

One more sacrifice is needed to summon Tsukuyomi. Kitaro and his friends don’t believe Yasuda’s words, but are taken aback when one of the orbs lights up, absorbing Yasuda in a pillar of fire.

Suddenly, the Earth begins to crack and shake, and a powerful snake-like monster erupts from the ground. Medama-Oyami, Kitaro's father, immediately recognizes the creature as "Joka", a God of Chinese mythology. Tsukuyomi, as it turns out, was the Chinese God known as Joka.

Joka needs the energy of all of the Yokai they’ve created to completely wake up. The creature starts absorbing Kitaro’s father, who can only look on helplessly as he is seriously injured. It’s up to Kitaro, Neko-Musume, and Jigoku-Doji to put a stop to Joka, and save not only their Yokai friends, but all of Japan.[5]

An article from the fanzine 水木伝説 VOL 3, containing information and images from the film.

Staff Members

Thanks to a pamphlet given out during a screening of the film, we have insight as to who some of the staff and crew members were. Due to the films' unofficial nature, some staff members used pseudonyms, leaving their real identity a mystery. Their names are as follows:

  • Nemu Mukudori (夢来鳥ねむ) Co-Founder of Kitaroza, Voice of Neko Musume for the film.[1]
  • Akara Arisato (有里紅良) Co-Founder of Kitaroza
  • Isamu Tanonaka (田の中勇) Voice of Medama-Oyaji
  • Kazumi Shimura (possible pseudonym)
  • Mitsuru Gojitsu (pseudonym)
  • Himura You (pseudonym)
  • Satoru Iriyoshi (入好さとる) Animator on the Third Gegege no Kitaro Anime *rumored*[6]
  • Yoshihiro Takeda (たけだ欣弘) Key Animator for the Fourth Gegege no Kitaro Anime [7]


Due to the film being fan-made, it's never received an official release of any kind. There's claims that some who were present at a private screening were able to obtain VHS copies,[8] though this wouldn't be confirmed until 2021.

Note the pause button on the bottom of the image, suggesting the film is being viewed from a computer.

In 2021, renewed interest in the film began circulating among Japanese Gegege no Kitaro fans, when it was revealed that an anonymous user on Twitter owned a VHS copy of Joka. When contacted, they apologized, stating that they were not granted permission to upload the film online.

In August of 2022, Twitter user @yoshiwo2006 uploaded images from Joka onto their account in a series of Tweets.[9] It appeared that the film was being viewed on a computer, suggesting that a VHS copy may have been converted into a digital format. However, shortly after uploading these images, @yoshiwo2006 would delete these tweets and apologize. Thankfully, almost all of these images have since been recovered, and can be viewed in both the gallery section and among the external links.

No doubt, Joka is safe somewhere among the hands of a collector. Whether due to copyright reasons or other unknown factors, those who own copies of the film are either unwilling to share it, or simply unable to. As of the time of writing, no actual footage has surfaced from the film.


External Links