The Book of the Dead


Directed by Kihachiro Kawamoto
84 min. / Japan / Japanese with English subtitles / 2005

Japanese animation beyond anime: The renowned Kihachiro Kawamoto is regarded as the master of Japanese puppet animation. From an early age, he was captivated by the art of doll and puppet making. During the 1950s, he began working alongside Japan’s first stop motion animator, the legendary Tadahito Mochinaga, and in the 60s he studied under Czech animation legend Jiri Trnka. Famous for his beautiful, expressive puppets, Kawamoto integrates the traditional art forms of Noh, Bunraku doll theatre, and Kabuki into a unique aesthetic to exquisite effect.

In The Book of the Dead, Buddhism has recently arrived from China and is all the rage amongst the Japanese nobility. Iratsume, a devoted young noblewoman, attracts the attention of the spirit of the executed Prince Otsu. She begins weaving a giant shroud to relieve his pain. A sumptuous study of obsession and deliverance brought to life through Kawamoto’s meticulous puppet animation, this is a delicate masterpiece.


Breaking Of Branches Is Forbidden (Hana-Ori)

Directed by Kihachiro Kawamoto
14 min. / Japan / Japanese with English subtitles / 1968

In this delightful and poetic comedy, everyone can relate to an acolyte who is tempted by the enticing fragrances of worldly generosity. Breaking of Branches is Forbiddenis a light-hearted contemplation of such universal themes as living a spiritual life amidst the temptations of the sensual world and suffering the consequences of one’s actions. This film features examples of Kawamoto’s experiments in kirigami(cutout animation).

This screening is part of the International Buddhist Film Festival 2012 Hong Kong. For more information, please visit


Presenting Sponsor

The Robert H.H. Ho Family Foundation


Co-presented by


Curated by

Event Details

Sat 17 Mar 2012
3 - 4:30 p.m.
9 Justice Drive, Admiralty, Hong Kong
Buy Tickets
HK$ 55 Asia Society members; HK$ 65 Non-members; HK$ 30 full-time students/ Seniors (aged 60 or above)/ Individuals with disabilities
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