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Puppet Master/Animator Kihachiro Kawamoto Passes Away (Updated)

posted on 2010-08-26 22:46 EDT
Best known for puppet works such as Sangokushi, experimental anime

The quintessential Japanese puppet master and animator Kihachiro Kawamoto passed away due to pneumonia on Monday, August 23. He was 85. Kawamoto is best known for Sangokushi, the 1982-1984 television puppet adaptation of the Chinese literary novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms. He also worked on a number of experimental animated works such as Shijin no Shougai and Winter Days. For Winter Days, Kawamoto won the Grand Prize in the Animation Division of the Japan Media Arts Festival Awards in 2003.

Kawamoto was born in Tokyo in 1925, and he began working in the industry through Toho Studio's art department in 1946. He later became a freelancing puppeteer and travelled to the former Czechoslovakia to learn the craft from the internationally renowned artist Jiri Trnka. He helped develop the field of Japanese puppet-making and theater when he returned home.

In addition to Sangokushi, Kawamoto created the 1993-1995 puppet adaptation of the Japanese classic war epic Heike Monogatari. His last work was a 2005 adaptation of Shinobu Orikuchi's Shisha no Sho novel. He served as the chairperson of the Japan Animation Association.

Source: 47 News

Update: More background information added.

Update 2: Writer/director Sakichi Sato confirmed on Friday that the second "legendary anime director" that he mentioned had passed away earlier this week was Kawamoto.


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