by Chris MaGee
Japanese independent art animation has to be one of the most exciting things on theatre screens at the moment. That's not to take anything away from the great live-actions films that come out of Japan, but when you look at the work of such artists as Akino Kondoh, Atsushi Wada, Tomoysohi Joko, Mirai Mizue and Koji Yamamura you find yourself in entirely new worlds of colour and imagination. One thing that binds so many of this present generation of Japanese art animators together is the influence, and in many cases mentoring, of animator and illustrator Taku Furukawa.
Furukawa was born in 1941 and would himself be mentored by the father of Japanese independent art animation Yoji Kuri. He would then go on to illustrate books, teach and to direct his own brand of simple but whimsical and wildly creative short films throughout the 70's and 80's. I have to admit that I am not terribly familiar with Furukawa's work, but someone who is, namely Nishikata Film Review's Catherine Munroe Hotes, has pointed the way to what sounds like a fascinating exhibition of Furukawa's work.
From July 9th to August 14th the Kichijoji Art Museum (FF Bldg. 7F, 1-8-16 Kichijoji Hommachi, Musashino-shi, Tokyo) is hosting an exhibition of Furukawa's work that they are calling A Playful Heart. This will give those living in Tokyo the chance to familiarize themselves with Furukawa's playful hand-drawn films and illustrations, but also installations set up by Taku Furukawa specifically for this event. You can get more info on A Playful heart here, but before heading to the Kichijoji Art Museum make sure to read Munroe Hotes wonderfully informative article on this influential animator at Nishikata Film Review.