by Chris MaGee
Normally we only tend to link to news stories here on the Pow-Wow blog, but sometimes a fellow blogger points the way to something so interesting that,w ell, all we can do is point the way to the blog that pointed the way... if that makes sense. Case in point, Cathy Munroe Hotes over at Nishikata Film Review has posted a really interesting article on the Kawamoto Kihachiro Puppet Museum in Iida City, Nagano Prefecture. For those of you who may not be familiar with the name Kihachiro Kawamoto is an independent stop-motion animator who tells traditional Japanese folk tales using elaborate puppets. Now 85-years-old Kawamoto sits as the president of the Japanese Animation Association, and his last feature film "Book of the Dead" picked up a special mention award at the 2006 Sitges-Catalonian International Film Festival and the Grand Prix Award at the Chinese International Cartoon and Digital Art Festival that same year. To get an even better idea of Kawamoto's work check out his 1972 short film "The Demon" below.
According to Hotes' article Iida City has been a center for bunraku, the traditional Japanese puppet theatre, for 300 years and has hosted a an annual Puppetry Carnival since 1979. It was after he attended the Carnival in 1990 that Kawamoto donated 200 of his puppets to the Iida City Puppet Museum, which has now adopted the animator's name. I'd highly recommend that you head over to Nishikata Film Review to read Hotes' article about the museum here. You'll learn a lot. After that you can see more of the Museum's collection online at its official website. Enjoy!