toco toco – Koji Yamamura, Animator


It was quite some time ago, but in my teens I wondered
why animation moved on TV and film, I used to enjoy drawing, so I wondered a lot on
how those paper drawings could move in video. In the late 70s, many animation magazines
started to come out, where the methods to make animation were written,
it was explained how to film frame by frame, I understood how a film was made. I was thirteen at the time, I thought of trying my hand at it. At the time all was still on film,
there was the Super 8 and Single 8 cameras, this is how I first started to draw animation. I am Koji Yamamura, I make animation and illustration books. I tend to confine myself in my studio, so after I have breakfast, I walk around inside this temple, then I walk around the outside
which makes it a 20 minute walk. I do this every day. There is a lot of nature, there are also
many birds and insects, It is a place where you can be
in contact in nature and relax while still in town. Rather than getting into work right away,
I can take a break to think about everything. I used to make animation by myself
in junior high and high school, I didn’t think it could become my work at the time. I entered art school, where I explored my creative approach. The fact that I liked films and drawing
made it I was fit for animation. As a part-time job I worked
as an art director assistant for feature films, where I saw the production process,
which was interesting. However, the trigger was in 1985 at the first edition of the Hiroshima Animation Festival. The director Ishu Patel,
based in Canada, attended as judge, his projection had a big impact on me. His technique and themes differ with each work. however his sense of aesthetics is constant,
this is where I knew I wanted to make this type of work. I was around 21 at the time, when I was exposed to the world’s short films,
this is where I got the will to become a director. I happened to have some space open here, I opened an animation gallery, I thought that having a space that centered the short film universe would help people recognizing it, I opened the Au Praxinoscope shop,
which is open on Fridays and Saturdays. In order to discover animation, generally there are festivals and cinema projections, of course there is the internet too now, however there was a exhibition of original drawings held at the Ottawa festival. the information you could there was different
from just watching the film, I thought that holding those exhibitions could help having more people discover the field. Also for DVDs or additional publications, there are small shops that opened during festivals, however I thought that having a space that was open all year long could people get to know more. During the 1980s, the creators who influenced me were from the USSR with Yuri Norstein. also I got the chance
to see Priit Pärn’s works from Estonia, I was stimulated a lot by those. There were also the works from the National Film Board of Canada, which Patel was part of. I saw those when I was in high school, they had a big impact on me, I was inspired a lot by these unusual works
that couldn’t be commonly found in Japan, my views towards animation
radically changed at the time. This is what opened my eyes as a creator. There once live a stingy man. What’s this? One of my most notable works is Mount Head, until I made it I was releasing my creativity working
on short segments for children on the NHK, I was working on this for quite some time. I wanted to explore my style further
and look for my limits, which is how I started to think of Mount Head on the side, as I was doing commercial work. During my 20s and 30s I explored various techniques in animation by myself, when I worked on Mount Head
I ultimately decided to draw on paper. I also thought of using puppets, while thinking how to express the Mount Head story, which is over 100 years old. I wanted to add in some contemporary elements
more related to myself, which is how I decided to set the story in a modern Tokyo, which I tweaked a bit, especially for Mount Head where people weren’t supposed to get on the character’s head, but I put people watching cherry blossoms there. Also having the path and
the scale being a bit disproportioned, this could be well represented in words, but I thought on how to put it together in video, I explored these techniques as I was looking
for consistency in this story. I would always be drawing sketches
and going the trial and error route. The first competition I participated to was the
Ottawa International Animation Festival. An American producer approached me, saying my work was good and suggesting to
nominate it for the Academy Awards, I had just started going to festivals at the time, I didn’t win any award at the time either, but as I heard what that person had to say, he said there were multiple ways to do it. The first one was to win a Grand Prix
in some select festivals, another one was screening the film in the United States for more than 3 days to make it eligible to apply. After that I won the Grand Prix in Annecy and Zagreb, however before that I went on to screen the film
for 3 days in the United States. This is how I entered the competition and ultimately ended in the final nominees. The film spread much more than I could imagine, although it was just a 10-minute film,
people from all over the world saw it, As I realized that, it was also
when I got the chance to look back on myself. I work as a professor in the department of animation
at the Tokyo University of the Arts, I started there from
the very foundation of the department. It is a graduate school in a Doctorate course, so there are very few students,
with a maximum of 16 per year. I explore how to help them create
the universes they aspire to make, in this education program we explore together the various possibilities of animation production. As I continued making short films, I realized there wasn’t a fit environment for it in Japan. I thought I could offer that environment, this why support the production
all the way until the final product. This is how the current system and curriculum is made. Especially for sound and post-production,
where student works tend to be weaker, we assist sound mixing or color correction
with professionals, this is the environment we are trying to offer. The first sound made by the foam… it should start low and build up progressively. There, it should start at a low level and slowly build up. The picture is coming more forward at first. – So the movement starts in a zoom then goes deeper.
– I see. So actually it should start from a higher level
then go back to normal for impact. Looking at the image it makes sense indeed. – It’s a feeling probably.
– Also I thought music & sound were at the same level. So following Professor Yamamura’s advice,
start with a high foam sound, then time with the start of the music
to start lowering it down. My role is to listen to what they want to make, if they face any issues, I try to solve
as much as my knowledge allows, providing them with technical advice or recommendations on works they should watch or read. They only have two years in course, so I would like to share things
that could motivate them for the future. Animation is a bit primitive
as far as video production goes, I think this form of expression is basic and genuine, this is what is appealing to me. This is also why I keep working as an independent. It brings me a lot of primordial things. It is also a tool for me to understand
how different worlds work, this comes from a production point of view. For spectators, I think animation also has
the potential to stimulate the unconscious. This is another appeal that animation has. Shorts films are made with very small teams, this allows to add in
personal motivations in the creative process. My approach is to explore styles
based on my current interests and feelings, this is the way I work. Alternately, I think regular animation has an heritage creating style boundaries it has to follow and explore. In my case, I can reset everything with each project, and explore various approaches in my work. As a result, my works may be a little peculiar, but actually one characteristic may be that each of
my works takes on its own style and approach. On the production end, Japan provides very little financial support compared to other countries. This is an area that can be worked on, another problem is that having a low return on projects makes it difficult to keep going. Those two issues are what makes the bottleneck. Looking back at myself, I am just drawing
and making piles of papers. piling up those sheets of papers
there is one thing I think about, in the end it is only drawings, but what I focus on is transmitting as much information as possible through them. My drawing style is becoming simpler with the years, Through that simplicity, I would like
to pursue more layers of depth.

59 Replies to “toco toco – Koji Yamamura, Animator”

  1. I really love your content, it's SSSSOOOOO interesting, beautifully filmed and edited. Koji Yamamura is a great animator even if I don't like all his work, It's always interesting and imaginative.
    thanks to you I know a little more about him and his work !
    Keep up the good work 😀

  2. English and French subtitles are available under the “CC” menu. Portuguese and Spanish subtitles have also been made available through Community Contributions, which are also open for additional language submissions. Thank you for following Archipel!

  3. I've always liked his scratchy and deformed art style. It has certain french sensibility that I can observe in comic artists such as Nicolas de Crécy. I wonder why Japan has such a big problem with funding shorts and animation in general when compared to other countries? I mean animation has become one of the staples of Japan, hence why they should nurture it rather than create the current bubble that will inevitably burst.

  4. Thank you very much for these such beautiful videos. It’s so interesting to see these creators in action and their life. Please keep up releasing such videos

  5. My gratitude for your work, folks behind
    Archipel.
    This is definately one of my favourite channels in history of YouTube. I've been here on YT from 2006, I've seen quite everything.
    Bravo. Best wishes.

  6. I'm always so impressed at the type of people you manage to get into your videos, this is such a big name and learning more about the way he works is really amazing. Thank you!

  7. Sure computers can do everything nowadays, but they will never be a substitute for true talent and ingenuity. Thank you for the amazing video, this man is a legend.

  8. Oh wow, I’ve watched his Landarzt work many years ago, igniting my love for Franz Kafka. Back then I didn’t find too much Information on Yamamura, and I kinda feared that he would be a guy lost in obscurity…! So I’m super stoked to learn how esteemed he is and how well he does for himself. Thanks for the great documentary, tocotoco! As always, tremendous work!

  9. Beaucoup de respect dans l'approche et le traitement de l'artiste, comme à chaque fois c'est un régal pour qui sait l'apprécier.
    Merci !

  10. I REALLY appreciate the effort you guys always put into your videos. I'm such a fan of the beautiful work that it is consistently done. Thank you so much for the amazing content and the portuguese subtitles as well 🙂

  11. Greetings from Colombia, i'm very interested on study animation and this video really made me feel excited about what i could do with my drawings, now i will search more about Mr Yamamura and try to learn about his animation style. Thank you for the video

  12. You guys deserve so much more attention and views ! You make stellar content, beautifully shot and composed. And I'm learning so much thanks to you

  13. This work is amazing, It's a great inspiration so much that you show, as all the work that there is behind it. Greetings from Costa Rica. since i saw Archipel two months ago, i have wanted to make something you showing.

  14. Me encanta tus dibujos.y cómo de muestras cosas paralelas. En tu forma de dibujar.yo hice un libró español de unas amigos viajeras y me gustaría que se hicieran de dibujos animados tuyos.

  15. Wonderful ! Thx !
    ' … a problem being that these are projects with little benefit in return, it is difficult to continue. ' ……. monk life for most artists…. cruel world !!

  16. Muito OBRIGADA!!!!!! Pela legenda em português brasileiro!
    Sou apaixonada por animação. Ver histórias sobre isso é emocionante e inspirador!!!
    Por favor, NÃO PARE DE POSTAR VÍDEOS!!!!

  17. I just know this channel , and its very entertaining and also make me motivate , I just want to say that your video is great and keep it up I want to see more and more

  18. It's that kind of video I was looking for. Thank you for making such great content, appreciate your work and you have my thumb up for it!

  19. Por favor. Traduzcan más videos al español. Sus videos son increibles y me encantaría poder ver muchos de ellos. Lamentablemente mi ingles no es tan bueno y en ocasiones me pierdo

  20. Es increíble que exista este canal, jamás pensé que vería entrevistas a estos creadores y subtitulados a mi idioma, demasiado bueno.

  21. Even portrait by Moebius wow, legendary! I like warmth, it's something that doesn't get a lot of likes but it have a lot of soul wich doesn't required any admiration by usless signs.

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