24 February 2012

Puppet Maker Sumiko Hosaka's Animation Top 20

Sumiko Hosaka  (保坂純子, b. 1930) has worked as a puppet artist since 1953.  Throughout her career she has made puppets for live theatre, TV, and commercials, but is perhaps best known for the puppets she made for the stop motion animation of Tadanari Okamoto.  She has also made puppets for the films of Fumiko Magari and the Noburo Ofuji Award winning team N&G Production.
Her first experience making puppets for stop motion animaton came in the early 60s when she was part of the original staff at Tadahito Mochinaga’s MOM Productions.  She was on one of the puppet-making  teams that worked on MOM Pro's first project for Rankin/Bass The New Adventures of Pinocchio (1960-61).  Starting in the late 1960s, she began working for Okamoto, her former colleague at MOM Pro, after he had set up his own independent studio Echo Productions.   She made puppets for many of his most significant stop motion works from The Mochi Mochi Tree (1972) to The Magic Ballad (1982).  She also occasionally worked for Kihachirō Kawamoto – including his greatest work Book of the Dead (2005).

Sumiko Hosaka currently teaches puppet making techniques at Laputa Art Animation School.  Examples of her freelance work can be seen in her profile at Puppet House.

Selected Filmography

The New Adventures of Pinocchio (Rankin Bass, 1960-61)
Back When Grandpa Was a Pirate (Tadanari Okamoto, 1968)
Home My Home (Tadanari Okamoto, 1970)
The Flower and the Mole (Tadanari Okamoto, 1970)
The Monkey and the Crab (Tadanari Okamoto, 1972)
The Mochi Mochi Tree (Tadanari Okamoto, 1972)
Praise Be to Small Ills (Tadanari Okamoto, 1973)
Five Small Stories (Tadanari Okamoto, 1974)
Are wa dare? (Tadanari Okamoto, 1976)
The Magic Ballad (Tadanari Okamoto, 1982)
The Little Bear Oof (Fumiko Magari, 1983)
The Fourth of the Narcissus Month (Suisenzuki no Yokka, Nozomi Nagasaki , N&G Production, 1990)
Home Alone (Rusuban, Nozomi Nagasaki, N&G Production, 1996) – won Noburo Ofuji Award
Book of the Dead (Kihachiro Kawamoto, 2005)

Hosaka’s picks for the Laputa 150 poll in 2003 speak for themselves: a cross-section of some the greatest films in world animation.  Reflecting her interest in puppets, the list is heavy with examples of stop motion animation by Jiri Trnka, Karel Zeman, Roman Kachanov, Jan Svankmajer, and, of course, Okamoto and Kawamoto.  At #1, Hosaka placed the Soyuzmultfilm classic The Little Grey Neck (1948).  In Japan, it was released on DVD together with Ivan Ivanov-Vano’s The Humpbacked Horse (1947/75) as part of The Ghibli Museum Library.  It is also available to buy as a download here.

Konyok-gorbunok & Seraya Sheika / Animation
Order from cdjapan

1.   The Little Grey Neck (灰色くびの野鴨, Vladimir Polkovnikov/Leonid Amalrik, USSR, 1948)
2.   The Emperor's Nightingale (支那の皇帝の鴬, Jiri Trnka, Czechoslovakia, 1948)
3.   Prince Bayaya (バヤヤ王子, Jiri Trnka, Czechoslovakia, 1950)
4.   The Hand (, Jiri Trnka, Czechoslovakia, 1965)
5.   Inspiration (水玉の幻想, Karel Zeman, 1948)
6.   The Fantastic World of Jules Verne (悪魔の発明, Karel Zeman, 1958)
7.   Tale of Tales (話の話, Yuri Norstein, Russia/USSR, 1979)
8.   Hedgehog in the Fog (霧につつまれたハリネズミ, Yuri Norstein, Russia/USSR, 1975)
9.   Cheburashka (チェブラーシカ, Roman Kachanov, Russia/USSR, 1971)
10. Dimensions of Dialogue (対話の可能性, Jan Svankmajer, Czechoslovakia, 1982)
11. Faust (ファウスト, Jan Svankmajer, Czech Republic, 1994)
12. The Fall ( 落下, Aurel Klimt/Derek Shea, Czech Republic, 1999)
13. The Cowboy’s Flute (牧笛, Tei Wei/Qian Jianjun, China, 1963
14. The Demon (, Kihachirō Kawamoto, Japan, 1972)
15. The Magic Ballad (おこんじょうるり, Tadanari Okamoto, Japan, 1982)
16. Creature Comforts (快適な生活, Nick Park, UK, 1989)
17. Nausicaä of the Valley of theWind (風の谷のナウシカ, Hayao Miyazaki, Japan, 1984)
18. The Man Who Planted Trees/L'homme qui plantait des arbres 
      (木を植えた男, Frédéric Back, Canada, 1987)
19. Otesánek (オテサーネ, Jan Svankmajer, Czech Republic, 2001)
20. A Christmas Dream (おもちゃの反乱, Karel and Borivoj Zeman, Czechoslovakia, 1946)