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Last Updated: Tuesday, 20 December 2005, 09:50 GMT
Rare Disney work found in Japan
Disney characters Mickey and Minnie Mouse
A Disney spokeswoman said the firm was 'truly surprised' by the find
A collection of vintage Disney animation has been discovered in a warehouse at a Japanese university.

About 250 pieces, including animation from Disney's first colour short - 1932's Flowers and Trees - were found at Chiba University, near Tokyo.

Original sketches, celluloid and background pictures from films such as Sleeping Beauty, Bambi, Fantasia and Cinderella were also discovered.

Disney spokeswoman Erika Nakajim said the company was "truly surprised".

Educational use

The collection travelled to Japan in the early 1960s for exhibitions at department stores and museums.

Disney donated the collection to the National Museum of Modern Art in Tokyo, which subsequently gave it to an animation scholar at Chiba University for education and research use.

The animation cells were rediscovered when the school planned to digitise the images and contacted Disney about copyright issues.

"We were keeping them as very important items," said Hiroyuki Kobayashi, professor at the university's Department of Information and Image Science.

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