(NSFW) “Ketsujiru Juke” by Sawako Kabuki

Sawako Kabuki’s short film Ketsujiru Juke has been garnering attention on the festival circuit after screenings at Annecy and Ottawa this year. Kabuki produced the film at Tokyo’s Tama Art University using music by Seinosuke Saeki (hi-quality soundtrack here). Student filmmakers (and even professionals) often try to be self-consciously weird by slapping together a bunch of random ideas and hoping for some kind of outrageous effect, but with Japanese filmmakers, I just don’t know. This film is less weird than it should be and somehow makes perfect sense.

Kabuki explains:

After breaking up with my ex-boyfriend, I was heartbroken but I had to think about the theme for my next animation film. Just then I had a dream of this ex-boyfriend. This animation film is based on that dream. In Japan, on 11th March 2011, we had great earthquakes and aftershocks followed over and over. And not only earthquakes but also how to face the nuclear power is one of the hottest issues in our country. I think that dream is the mixture of this charged atmosphere of Japan and my heartbreaking depression. So I “re-mixed” what I had in my head. By the way, he used to like enema. So in this song, the word of “ass” and its related words are fluttering. All of these are linked to the memories of him so I decided to use this song. In that dream the face of my ex-boyfriend was not clear, so in this animation, his face is drawn just like “ass”.

If there is one lesson to learn from this short, it’s don’t be the ex-boyfriend of Sawako Kabuki.


  • martin

    fantastic.
    yeah you might be right about the weirdness between japanese student shorts and more western student shorts. i do generally find the japanese shorts more naturally weird

    • martin

      i kinda take that back. estonia has got a lot of naturally weird shorts.

  • popyea

    But is it supposed to be insulting or embracing of her ex boyfriend’s asshole fetish? At first I thought it was all about a desire for his asshole, but maybe she’s only reminiscing and it was just his defining feature.

  • pizzaforeveryone

    ))((

  • Ant G

    I love it, I watched it several times in a row. I think there’s a great balance between the visuals and the music; it’s not a music video where the visuals are secondary to the sound, or vice versa where the music is just a replaceable soundtrack. They complement each other and it’s something I think about a lot when it comes to shorts that uses music throughout their span.

  • Dana B

    Stay classy, Japan…

    I’m all for experimental animation, but this…..is a bit too different…

    • AmidAmidi

      A.) Experimental animation by its definition cannot be ‘too different.’
      B.) Lucky for you, this is not experimental animation. It’s standard-issue animation with an unconventional narrative.

  • TStevens

    ASPHINCTERSAYSWHAT???
    I think for the length it was fairly entertaining. However, being an American, I was doing a little more laughing than anything else. I wonder what Japanese viewers would have to say about it?
    I get the dream quality of it and I also agree that it could be weirder. However, does it make much sense? There is definitely a narrative but it isn’t completely clear from the first viewing what that is until you read the explanation.

    • Henry Cohn

      You shouldn’t be ashamed of laughing at it. That stuff that the filmmaker said, trying to make it sound as though it means something, was complete BS to me. When someone makes a film as crazy as this, it is fair game or multiple interpretation.

  • Devin

    Really cool. Reminds me of Priit Parn’s early work, speaking of weirdness in Estonia. I’m just glad I can see this on cartoonbrew instantly, instead of on a poorly dubbed vhs tape from the student library, twenty years after it was created.

  • Pedro Nakama

    I’m working on a short myself right now. I wasn’t sure about it. Now I’m not worried.