Kawamoto Kihachiro

mccaskem at georgetown.edu mccaskem at georgetown.edu
Fri Aug 27 09:13:19 EDT 2010

I am saddened by Kawamoto's passing, and very grateful to Aaron for letting us 
know. Kawamoto's work is miraculous. It was my own entryway into Anime some 
years ago, at a time when I wasn't sure Anime films were "intellectual" enough to 
fit in an academic framework. I started out by showing Kawamoto's work to my 
students in seminars, and now I teach a regular Anime film course as a result. 

Like Miyazaki Hayao, Kawamoto kept in contact and collaborated with leading 
overseas animation artists, in China, in France, in Russia, and in the former 

Together with other outstanding world animators, he created an animated 
version of/tribute to Basho's long verse cycle Fuyu no hi/A Winter's Day. The 
abridged version is on DVD at


As I recall, the segments all have Japanese subtitles. The sound tracks are in the 
various languages of the animators - including Yuri Norstein, and another 
Russian artist, I think Alexandrov maybe, who paints his spectacular creations 
using his fingers and fingernails, producing amazing effects. Each animator 
created imagery to express an image in Fuyu no hi.

There is also a full version box set- many hours of animated Basho poetry in 
visual motion. It's also available via Amazon.jp.


Kawamoto also animated the complete Heike Monogatari, available in a box set.


These are all wonderful works of art. The boxes are kind of expensive, 35000 
yen or more apiece, but are great additions to a university or institute library.

Kawamoto was a truly great animator. He combined the bunraku and anme 
media in a way no one else has. His work is as fantastic and pioneering as Kon's, 
but he was fortunate enough to have a full lifetime to create it all.

Michael McCaskey
Georgetown University

More information about the KineJapan mailing list