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Animating the SpiritedJourneys and Transformations$
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Tze-yue G. Hu, Masao Yokota, and Gyongyi Horvath

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781496826268

Published to University Press of Mississippi: September 2020

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781496826268.001.0001

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Interpreting Buddhist Influences in Kawamoto’s Puppet Animation

Interpreting Buddhist Influences in Kawamoto’s Puppet Animation

A Psychologist’s Reflections and Readings of His Animation

(p.137) Interpreting Buddhist Influences in Kawamoto’s Puppet Animation
Animating the Spirited

Masao Yokota

University Press of Mississippi

In the field of Japanese independent animation, the late Kawamoto Kihachiro (1925-2010) made tremendous contributions. This chapter discusses in particular his puppet animations which are steeped with Japanese native beliefs and elements of Buddhist thought. From a clinical psychologist’s perspective, the author analyzes the spiritual dimensions of his work, particularly highlighting the native traditions and assimilated foreign thought systems that are encased within his creations. Specifically, The Book of The Dead (2005) is examined in the essay as it was created when Kawamoto was eighty years old. Issues like mid-life crisis, death, and other related matters are explored as the author surveys the creative and personal life of the master-animator. The author’s interpretation posits that Kawamoto’s puppet animation essentially tried to express the concepts of suffering and enlightenment, and that his work is related to his profound connections to the Japanese people and the historical evolution of a new Japan after the Second World War.

Keywords:   Kihachiro Kawamoto, Buddhism, The Book of the Dead, psychologist analysis, enlightenment

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