In animation, connecting the images produced by each frame on screen is quite simple as far as technique is concerned, but the choices for creating the form of an animation are extensive. Two-dimensional pictures and figures are created by frame from materials slightly alienated from reality, and transcending the physical properties of the raw material shown, “things” are transformed into “happenings,” and the world described in metaphor. Animation is a device that transforms the metaphysical realm into one physically visualized. This is not only some imagined fabrication, but may also include the recording of unintended emotions, possibly irradiating the inside more vividly and, in a sense, acting as a terrible, powerful endoscope. What must be remembered is that animation may just as easily exhibit a terrible power to project naked desires or frivolous thoughts, as express some profound inner psychology.
Armed with an understanding of the characteristics of animation, students will discover their own original aesthetics through the creative process.
Koji Yamamura, Professor
Born in 1964. Produced animated films for children such as Pacusi and Bavel’s Book in the 1990s. Mt.Head (2002) was nominated for the 75th Academy Award, received the grand prize at Annecy, Zagreb and six other film festivals, and was named one of the “100 Works of the 21st Century”; Franz Kafka’s “A Country Doctor” (2007) won the grand prize at the Ottawa International Animation Festival and seven other film festivals. He also illustrates children’s books, including Oyaoya Oyasai and Parade. He was recipient of the 30th Kawakita Award. He is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, executive board member of the Japanese chapter of the International Animated Film Association, and vice chairman of the Japan Animation Association.
Model Animation Course
“Model” in this instance is a technical categorization referring to the likes of stop-motion animation and indicating three-dimensional objects (3D) as opposed to two-dimensional drawings (2D).
Essentially, for students aiming to create solid figures or puppet animation, this course offers a highly effective setting for learning, because certain specialized techniques must be mastered for a full command of modeling and filming.
In the last few years, arts universities across the world have produced myriad examples of what may confidently be referred to as the next generation of stop-motion animation: combining cut-outs, half-solid actual scenery and persons, the texture of unique materials, and drawing.
Catering flexibly to what might be termed a new stage of expression, in which techniques are borderless, is perhaps the defining characteristic of this domain.
Yuichi Ito, Professor
Animation director. Born in 1962. After working with the visual effects studio Shirogumi, and in computer graphics production, in 1998 he launched the animation studio I.TOON Ltd. and currently serves as its president. His many projects integrating multiple (mainly 3D) animation techniques include KNYACK!! (NHK Educational TV), broadcast for more than 20 years; Harbor Tale (2011), winner of Best Animated Film at the Zlin Film Festival (Czech Republic); the television commercial for Kao Kyukyutt o, and the animation software Claytown, which he co-supervised. He is on the board of directors of Japan Animation Association, and a member of ASIFA-JAPAN.
When animation is seen as a means of communicating with society, it has infinite capabilities and can be very powerful. Animation is an attractive form of expression, thanks to its ability to be shared across time, space and language, depending on ideas. Examples include the sharing of majestic fantasy worlds in the cinema or on TV, and interfaces that act as guides for secure and safe behavior in daily life.
In the Producing Course, we hope to see students forging strong communication berween producer and audience, facilitated by a focus on designing a plan in order to maximize the capabilities of animation, and realizing that plan, all of which involves the application of new forms of media and technology.
One of the best features of animation is the “story” created out of movement, and I also believe the sustainability of animation depends on the ways we find to convey this narrative quality to the audience.
Mitsuko Okamoto, Professor
Former producer for NHK. From 2000, she planned and produced the TV program Digital Stadium, considered a gateway to success for budding film creators, and the event Digital Art Festival (DAF) Tokyo; from 2010, the series 2355 and 0655, both broadcast weekdays on NHK Educational TV, in collaboration with Professor Masahiko Sato of this graduate school; and from 2012, TECHNE: The Visual Workshop for Studying Filmmaking.
Research and Theory Course
Animation research has expanded in the last decade or so now, with steady growth in research achievements. Yet with many topics remaining to be investigated, it is not systematized enough to be called “animationology,” or the like.
In this field where the corpus of prior research may not be sufficient, students depend on the workshop where they create animations as the base for their research. There is no better place than here to do practice-based research; that is to say, researching on-site to establish one’s theory, then applying the findings to practical use.
Students are surrounded by their fellow students tirelessly producing films in pursuit of quality filmic expression. Authors and researchers from around the world often visit, and in this exciting environment, it is my hope to cultivate practical researchers, educators and creators who identify questions, answer those questions through practice, and use persuasive methods to take those answers to the wider public.
Research and Theory Course
Taruto Fuyama, Professor
Began producing 3DCG animation in the 1990s. Since 2003 he has been developing devices for producing animation and holding interactive exhibitions and workshops at museums both in Japan and abroad. KOMA KOMA, his stop motion animation app, has had over 800,000 downloads worldwide. His practical research include the creation of personnel development programs through academic-industry collaborations and the application of animation in the field of mental health. He is a Vice President of the Japan Society for Animation Studies.
- Oguchi Takayuki (Animation History)
- Otsuka Eiji (Manga and Film Expression and History)
- Katabuchi Sunao (Manga and Film Expression and History)
- Kishino Yuichi (Animation Sound)
- Takayama Hiroshi (Animation Sound)
- Kurose Yohei (Contemporary Art)
- Shina Yukari (Manga Studies)
- Miake Ryuta (Theory of Narrative)
- Karen Severns (International Cinema and Cultural History)
- Akira Mizuta Lippit (Film Studies)