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Receiving honorable mention in the 31st Annual Tokyo Video Festival, one of the largest film festivals in the world open to the public

Mr. Yoshinari Kojima

After graduating from Tokyo Gakugei University, Mr. Kojima worked at a company involved in preparatory schooling. After three years of a working lifestyle, he entered the Kawaguchi Art School of Waseda University. "I started looking for work with the goal of entering a job related to production. I found the idea of getting other people involved and having them do things to be enticing. The operating company of Waseda Prep School, for which I used to work, allowed me to work in an environment where I was given a lot of responsibility despite how young I was. I also experienced what it was like to be in charge of the school in Ikebukuro, and learned much about what it means to produce."

During that period of time, the desire to produce movies that he had loved since his childhood grew even stronger. The decision of whether or not to enter the Kawaguchi Art School represented an important crossroads in his life. "The reason I was able to make the decision was because my father, who suddenly passed away while I was a fourth year university student, pushed me in that direction. When I received an employment offer while I was job hunting, my father, who knew how I felt about film, told me 'You only live once. It's important to do what you want to do while you are still able to do it.' These words still lingered inside me, and so I had the resolve to continue pursuing my dream."

The short documentary Mr. Kojima made for a class filmmaking assignment, "Rekishi to tomo ni ikiru machi - kochira kame no yu / honmachi icchou me," received honorable mention at the 31st Annual Tokyo Video Festival. The theme for the class was "rediscovering Kawaguchi." The bedroom community of Kawaguchi in Saitama prefecture is a town where urban redevelopment is rapidly moving forward. Mr. Kojima's film depicts the other side of this process, the loss of the traditional cityscape of the past, through "Kame no yu," a public bathhouse that will soon be forced to close down. "Kame no yu offers the best representation of the issues that Kawaguchi faces during its urban redevelopment. The film doesn't judge whether the loss of traditional cityscape is a good or a bad thing, because I wanted to just depict it as it is. The speed at which urban redevelopment is occurring is way too fast. I wanted to raise the question of whether or not things are good the way they are."

Including himself, twenty generations of Mr. Kojima's family have lived in Kawaguchi. The deciding factors in his decision to enter the Kawaguchi Art School were the feeling of security attached to Waseda's name as well as the school's location in his hometown. He also plans to settle down in Kawaguchi in the future. "I recently started the Nonprofit Organization 'the Saitama Prefecture Video City Promotion Committee.' If you're looking to do something original, it's best for it to be locally based. I believe that there is a way for the intense individuality born from a local community to be widely taken in by the rest of the world. My goal is to bring Kawaguchi to the world. I want to proactively participate in international film festivals, as well." We wait in anticipation for the day to come when Mr. Kojima returns from the world stage to Japan and Kawaguchi.

(Offered by WASEDA WEEKLY)

Mr. Yoshinari Kojima

Born in 1980 in Saitama Prefecture. Graduated from Tokyo Gakugei University's Education Program. Third year student in the Kawaguchi Art School of Waseda University. "Rekishi to tomo ni ikiru machi - kochira kame no yu / honmachi icchou me," a short documentary that he produced along with three other classmates, received honorable mention at the 31st Annual Tokyo Video Festival, one of the largest film festivals in the world open to the public, in which films are submitted from 54 countries and regions. The film also was awarded the top prize in the Chromatic Country Public Film Contest. Mr. Kojima is a representative director of the Nonprofit Organization "the Saitama Prefecture Video City Promotion Committee" and representative of "the Creative Art Collective namamo." His favorite films include "The Godfather" and "Kiki's Delivery Service."