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Friday, Feb. 24, 2006

Puppet animator's retrospective, latest work

A retrospective of the complete works of the puppet animator Kihachiro Kawamoto will screen Feb. 25-March 17 at the new Eurospace Theatre in Shibuya, Tokyo. Kawamoto's "Shisha no Sho (The Book of the Dead)" is the animator's latest work and is also currently playing in Tokyo.

News photo
"Shisha no Sho"

Born in 1925, Kawamoto became interested in stop-motion puppet animation in the 1950s before he went on to study under Czech animator Jiri Trnka. His first major work was the 1968 short "Hana-Ori (Breaking Branches is Forbidden)."

Despite his international education, Kawamoto's works owe much to the traditional Japanese esthetics of noh, bunraku doll theater and kabuki and adopt Buddhist themes. His NHK-produced historical animated puppet series from the early 1980s, "Sangokushi (Romance of the Three Kingdoms)," did much to establish Kawamoto as one of Japan's leading animators.

The "Respect Kihachiro Kawamoto" retrospective is made up of three themed programs. Works on show as part of Program A include the cut-out animations "Oni (Demon, )" (1972) and "Dojoji" (Dojoji Temple)" (1976).

"Respect Kihachiro Kawamoto" runs Feb. 25-March 17 at the Eurospace Theatre, 1-5 Maruyamacho, Shibuya-ku. Visit www.eurospace.co.jp (in Japanese only) for a full schedule and a map on how to get there. Tickets for each program are 1,500 yen at the door.

"Shisha no Sho" is showing until April 7 at Iwanami Hall, Iwanami Jinbocho Bldg. 10F, 2-1 Jinbocho, Kanda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo. Tickets are 1,500 yen in advance. For times, visit www.iwanami-hall.com

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