Puppet animation producer dies

Kyodo News

Leading puppet animation producer Kihachiro Kawamoto, best known for the NHK series “Sangokushi” (“The Romance of the Three Kingdoms”), died Monday of pneumonia, his family said Friday. He was 85.

Kawamoto released numerous stop-motion puppet animation films, including “Oni” (“The Demon”), “Dojoji” (“Dojoji Temple”), and the series “Heikemonogatari” (“Tale of the Heike”), which was also aired on NHK.

In 1963, he traveled to Czechoslovakia to study under acclaimed puppet motion picture animator and film director Jiri Trnka.

His last film “Shishanosho” (“The Book of the Dead”), based on a book by Japanese folklorist Shinobu Origuchi, premiered in 2005.

The recipient of many film awards at home and abroad, he was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette in 1995. In 2007, a museum displaying his major productions was opened in Iida, Nagano Prefecture.