Kihachiro Kawamoto and Tadanori Okamoto are considered two of the most iconic figures in the Japanese animation film industry. During the late twentieth century, they helped shape the industry through their ingenuity and dedication to their art. They were responsible for creating films and shows that will always have a special place in the hearts of the Japanese viewing public.

Early in their careers, they shared a mutual connection by being proteges of another man who proved to be influential to the animation industry: Tadahito Mochinaga, the father of Japanese stop-motion puppet animation. Thanks to the knowledge and experience they gained from the pioneering Mochinaga — and also of course, thanks to their own skills and talents — Kawamoto and Okamoto went on to create various films and puppet shows that are still praised for their craftsmanship to this day.1

In commemoration of their great contributions to Japanese culture, the National Film Archive of Japan is holding an exhibition not just for fans who saw their work as they were originally released, but also to appeal to a wider and newer audience from the 21st century.

The exhibition is simply titled “Kihachiro Kawamoto and Tadanari Okamoto, Puppet Animation Filmmakers”, and is divided into 5 chapters that are representative of periods in the duo’s history. There will be displays of things like the original dolls & puppets they used and also behind-the-scenes essentials like storyboards, posters, and even documentary footage.

For those interested in the exhibition, you can find details for the event below or visit the National Film Archive’s English website.

Kihachiro Kawamoto and Tadanari Okamoto, Puppet Animation Filmmakers Exhibition

  • Date: December 12, 2020 to March 28, 2021 (Closed on Mondays, and from Dec. 28, 2020 to Jan. 4, 2021 & Feb. 1-8, 2021)
  • Hours: 11:00 AM - 6:30 PM (extended to 8:00 PM every last Friday of the month)
  • Venue: National Film Archive of Japan 7th Floor Exhibition Gallery, 3 Chome-7-6 Kyobashi, Chuo City, Tokyo 104-0031
  • Admission: 250 yen (adults), 130 yen (university students), free of charge for people over 65 years old, people with disabilities, people under 18 years old, and campus members of the National Film Archive
  • Event website


1 ANIPAGES, "Tadanori Okamoto: The Heart of Animation"

By - Jen Laforteza.