A Child’s Metaphysics by Koji Yamamura

Animation by Koji Yamamura

According to the website of Koji Yamamura, he has completed a new short entitled A Child’s Metaphysics. The film, which premiered last October, is just beginning to hit the festival circuit. The synopsis of the film is intriguing if slightly confusing:

A child whose head is numerals, a child who winds his own face and has it under his arm. What was left is his identity, a child whose eyes are provided by fishes, a child who lies down on the floor and head-butts his identity, a child who cannot say anything because of a zipper across his mouth. He undo the zipper but under it is another zipper…

Ecology and philosophy of children with sadness and humour.

Yamamura has emerged as perhaps the finest independent Japanese animation director of his generation. Though he’s been creating animated films since the late-’80s, he didn’t begin attracting worldwide attention until 2002 when his short Atama yama (Mt. Head) became a huge hit on the festival circuit and garnered an Oscar nomination. Since then, he’s turned out a couple of other winners—The Old Crocodile (2005) and last year’s Franz Kafka’s A Country Doctor, which I’ve heard is nothing short of incredible. You can familiarize yourself with a couple of his best known works below.

The Old Crocodile

Atama yama


  • http://timrauch.blogspot.com Tim Rauch

    Thanks for posting this, Amid! I’m a huge fan of Yamamura, though I’d only seen Mt. Head and a snippet of Country Doctor. Now I’ve seen Old Crocodile and, of course, it’s wonderful, too! Can anyone point me to interviews with Yamamura anywhere out there on the web?

  • Animation Pimp

    well, this is bizarre. I’m in Tokyo and I just finished spending an evening with Koji. At his studio he showed me this new film. It’s another stellar piece of work…although lighter in tone than his last three films.

    And yes, Frank Kafka was the best short animation of 2007. Easily. Koji’s in a groove right now and certainly ranks as one of the most intriguing and innovative animators in the world right now.

  • http://qwertypictures.deviantart.com/ Christopher

    You know, after a life of being brought up by the likes of Looney Tunes, Hanna Barbera and MGM, it’s actually a real change of pace to see stuff like this. I espicially enjoyed “The Old Crocodile”, not just for its unforgettable animation but mainly for how the story is spread out and told by the soothing, calm narrator. A true winner in my book.

  • Myke

    Thanks for posting The Old Crocodile.

    It was my first time viewing of Koji Yamamura’s work. I will be on the look out for his other films. I’m a big fan of slower paced, dramatic storytelling, especially in animation. Are theyre any other films or filmakers you might recomend?

  • Chuck R.

    Good post, Thanks!

    I’ll agree with Christopher and add that the sound effects really enhance the atmosphere as well. It’s nice to see drawings “come to life” like this. For anyone who loves “The Giving Tree” —this may well be it’s evil twin.

  • Chris Sobieniak

    For anyone who might like to see one more, here’s an earlier work of Yamamura’s, “Japanese-English Pictionary” (1989)….
    http://www.guba.com/watch/3000007073

    And a little something he did for Greenpeace last year…
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jo-Houfh83M

  • http://www.mnemesis.net Allison Westbrook

    Oh man those were awesome. Thank you!

  • Andrew

    The Crocodile was one of the most compelling shorts I ever saw. There’s nothing quite like it. I saw it in a festival with a college group, and it went over so well, one student wanted to make an unofficial sequel to it as an assignment.

  • Blasko

    Yes, thanks for posting this. I recently bought the Old Crocodile DVD from Yesasia and to my surprize it also contained the Academy Award winning “Frank Film,” and “Time Out,” “The Swamp” and other classics. It seems as though Mr. Yamamura is not only an outstanding animator, but also a champion for the art and something of a historian as well. Of course. Robinson has a nice chapter devoted to the artist in his book “Unsung Heroes of Animation.” Can’t wait to see his latest work.

  • sean

    Imagine this scenario
    I approach Amid at an animation convention and I say “Hey Amid i have this great idea for a short animated film”

    Amid says “Tell me a little bit about it …”

    I say “Well, Amid the synopsis of the film is intriguing if slightly confusing: A child whose head is numerals, a child who winds his own face and has it under his arm. What was left is his identity, a child whose eyes are provided by fishes, a child who lies down on the floor and head-butts his identity, a child who cannot say anything because of a zipper across his mouth. He undo the zipper but under it is another zipper…

    Amid says “SECURITY!!!”