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Thought about the earthquake committed to CM competition
Won Kazuhiro Suda Award and Consolation Prize!

Keigo Kato
Hidetaka Komukai

My Japan Award 2011 is a CM competition in which the government, companies and students work together to think about the future of Japan, and two members of the WASEDA University Broadcasting Association (WHK), Keigo Kato and Hidetaka Komukai, won the Kazuhiro Suda Award and Consolation Prize, respectively.

The origin of their production lies in the occurrence of the Great East Japan Earthquake. "I was afraid that memories of the earthquake was fading in me and the people in Japan," says Keigo who committed his thoughts that the earthquake should not be forgotten into his visual work, "10 Nengo no Jugyo" (A Class Ten Years Later). Hidetaka says, "When I returned home to Iwate Prefecture, I was driven by the thought that we must question the waste of energy, while public opinion was mixed between the pros and cons of nuclear power plants. At that time, an image of a certain popular boys animation came to mind, and just a week before the deadline, I hastily started to produce "Mirai no Tatakai" (The Battle of the Future).

A scene from a shoot with members of the WASEDA University Broadcasting Association

On the day of the announcement of judgment, Mr. Kazuhiro Suda, a CM planner, praised Keigo's work, saying, "It is very cynical and raises wonderful questions!" Keigo expresses his joy at winning the award, saying, "As the invitation bulletin required work with hope, I didn't think I could win." What about the Consolation Award that Hidetaka won? He explained with satisfaction, saying, "My work won substantial evaluations, but as it was a work of parody, it won the 'Consolation Award' due to a copyright reason. Still, I was happy to see the audience at the venue burst into laughter."

How did they produce the work? "I took care of direction and scenario, but Hide (nickname of Hidetaka) helped me to edit it as usual", Keigo says. Does Hidetaka help Keigo's production often? "Yes, Katokei-san (nickname of Keigo) is my classmate, but he is a senior in WHK (laughing)." "During editing, I basically complain about Hide (laughing)." "I just operate the PC as I am told...but when I helped Katokei-san's "10 Nengo no Jugyo," I rather added my own arrangements."

Now the two are a nice (troublesome) pair. What first impression did you have of each other? "Katokei-san was always laughing and having fun. I felt he didn't care about minor things and lived, as he liked. I thought he was a free spirit." On the other hand, Keigo comments on Hidetaka, saying, "He is an odd fellow (laughing). When you read his scenarios, you see his unique view of the world that ordinary people don't have. I wondered what kind of life he has led (laughing)." Katokei-san, are you often said to be odd? "I'm completely nonplussed (laughing). In fact, in the winter of my first year at WASEDA, I got a serious disease and hovered between life and death. I felt that if I went to sleep, I would never wake up, so I kept my eyes open in bed. With that experience, I may have a more tenacious clinging to life than others. That may be my 'uniqueness' appealing to Katokei-san." The two have completely different characters. In film production, each other's presence seems to be stimulating, and they became indispensable partners.

Finishing "my Japan Award 2011," what is on your mind? "In bed when hospitalized, I kept on thinking that I wanted to do something. When I made the audience laugh at the venue, I thought I could do that. I want to continue to lead a life to entertain people," Hidetaka says. "It was a first experience that my work drew the attention of many people and was discussed. I was very happy, and I want to do it again. If I continue to live like this, I will be happy," Keigo replies. Their experience to devote themselves to produce works, sharing the same target of "my Japan Award 2011," together with friends they met at WHK appears to be a precious asset for the two who will lead a long life.

"W" peace sign together

From "Mirai no Tatakai" directed by Hidetaka

From "10 Nengo no Jugyo" directed by Keigo


Keigo Kato (right)

Born in Kanagawa Prefecture. Graduated from Hakuyo High School. 5th year of the School of Culture, Media and Society. He loves comedy films. Impressed with the works of Atsuhiro Yamashita, film director, he got interested in movies. "I cannot cry when I see movies intended to make people cry. Instead, I cry when I see movies not intended to make the audience cry at all (laughing)." His work, "Genkai no Sono Sakihe" (Beyond the Limit) advanced to the East Japan qualification round of 2011 TOHO Cinemas Student Film Festival and was nominated in the 2nd Isezaki Film Festival 2012.

Hidetaka Komukai (left)

Born in Iwate Prefecture. Graduated from Kuji Senior High School. 5th year of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences. He doesn't like happy movies. "The good thing about movies is that you can experience violence and sadness in simulation from a safe place, so I don't think we need happy movies. Happiness should be found in the real world." His target is to be 'kind.' His work, "Ihojin" (Stranger) was nominated at the 2012 Tokyo Student Film Festival