April 9, 1928|
Yōji Kuri (久里洋二 Kuri Yōji, born April 9, 1928) is a Japanese cartoonist and independent filmmaker. One of if not the most important figures in the history of Japanese independent animation, he was the unofficial leader and most prolific of the "Animation Association of Three" (アニメーション三人の会 Animēshon Sannin no Kai) collective who kick-started the renaissance of modern-styled, independently made, adult-aimed animation in early 1960s Japan. He is known internationally for the very black comedy of his films, with the typically naïve style of his cartooning often belying the surreal, obscene and disturbing situations they depict (though he has worked in a variety of styles and mediums, including pixilation); this made them a favourite among the fervently counter-cultural audiences, which included such filmmakers as René Laloux, of the first few years of the Annecy International Animated Film Festival, and in a 1967 publication he was considered to be "the most significant" and "the only Japanese animator whose work is known in the West" (which is to disregard the Tōei Animation features and Astro Boy series that were first seen in the West around the same time that Kuri's first several films were and mentioned in passing in the same publication, though these were not known as works of an individual and characteristic filmmaker and often had their Japanese origin played down). He is also known in Japan for his comics, a collection of which earned him the 1958 Bungeishunjū Manga Award. Though now retired from filmmaking he continues to illustrate and to teach animation at Laputa Art Animation School (アート・アニメーションのちいさな学校 Āto Animēshon no Chiisana Gakkō). In 2012 he received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the World Festival of Animated Film - Animafest Zagreb.
- Fantasia of Stamps (切手の幻想 Kitte no Gensō) (1960)
- Clap Vocalism (人間動物園 Ningen Dōbutsuen, literally "Human Zoo") (1962)
- Here and There (あっちこっち Atchi Kotchi) (1962)
- Locus (軌跡 Kiseki) (1963)
- Love (愛 Ai) (1963)
- The Button (1963)
- The Chair (椅子 Isu) (1964)
- Man, Woman and Dog (男と女と犬 Otoko to Onna to Inu) (1963)
- Aos (アオス) (1964)
- The Man Next Door (隣の野郎 Tonari no Yarō) (1965)
- Samurai (さむらい) (1965)
- The Window (窓 Mado) (1965)
- Ettinger, Benjamin (6 September 2004). "The first wave of independent animators in Japan". AniPages Daily. Retrieved 8 March 2010.
- "Kuri Yōji Sakuhinshū -New Animation Animation-" (in Japanese). Geneon Universal Entertainment. 2009. Retrieved 8 March 2010.
- Bendazzi, Giannalberto (1 April 1996). "Book Review: René Laloux". Animation World Network. Retrieved 8 March 2010.
- Stephenson, Ralph (1967). "12. Germany, Japan, the Rest". In Peter Cowie. Animation in the Cinema. International Film Guide. London: A. Zwemmer. pp. 154–156.
- "Āto Animēshon no Chiisana Gakkō -Laputa Art Animation School-". Retrieved 10 March 2010.
- Munroe Hotes, Catherine. "Clap Vocalism (Ningen Dōbutsuen, 1962)". Nishikata Film Review. Retrieved 27 June 2011.