2023.07.06   News

Completion of the VR Film 'My Inner Ear Quartet ', written by Yoko Ogawa and directed by Koji Yamamura

Kodansha VR Lab Ltd. (Head office: Chuo-ku, Tokyo; Representative Director: Kenji Ishimaru) is pleased to announce the completion of the VR animation “My Inner Ear Quartet”, which was planned and produced by Kodansha VR Lab Ltd. Based on an original story written for VR by Akutagawa Award-winning author and Medal with Purple Ribbon winner Yoko Ogawa, this is a groundbreaking and ambitious VR film by Academy Award-nominated animator and another Medal with Purple Ribbon winner Koji Yamamura. The two masters with their unique world view spent two years to complete a work that can only be experienced through the medium of VR.

This film is not open to the public as it is in the process of submission to the film festival competition.


What lives in a lonely boy’s ear? And why a boy’s ear…?
A lonely boy dug in the dirt every day and collected what he found in a cookie tin.
In the boy’s notebook, he recorded the lonely voices of the objects he collected. Inside the boy’s ears live four musicians and two Venus’ Flower Basket Shrimps, who play and dance in response to his tears.
He shook a cookie tin filled with found objects in return. In this way, the boy grew up.
The boy grew up and became a salesman selling hearing aids and no longer picked up lonely voices or shed tears. One day, fascinated by a handmade bird brooch saw on the TV news that was found in a Japanese American internment camp, he set out on a journey to collect lonely voices again. What would he find there eventually?

【Comment from the Director Koji Yamamura】
This is my first attempt at both VR and 3DCG expression, but by fusing the worldviews of Ms. Yoko Ogawa and myself, we have created a new image that can only be experienced in VR, taking advantage of the characteristics of 360-degree images. Please enjoy this journey into the abyss of memory and self that transcends time and space.

【Comment From the Original Author Yoko Ogawa】
I wasn’t consciously aware of it, but I think it has a universal message for people of all nationalities, all ideologies, all ages and all kinds of people. There is a world here for the viewer. I don’t want to say that you should receive the common message we have put in here, but I hope that this work will revive the memories that are important to each person who sees it, that lie deep within their ears, and that they will be able to confront and affirm the loneliness that they feel they have no choice but to live with. I hope it is a work that can affirm that.

【Comment From the Producer Kenji Ishimaru】
We have completed a dream-like VR film, with Yoko Ogawa writing the original story for VR, Koji Yamamura directing and Masaki Okada voicing the main character. Just as the they saw the potential in VR films, we hope that many novelists, manga artists, animation artists and other artists who have never been involved in VR before will become interested in VR as a result of this work.

Voice Acting
Man: Daman Mills
Boy: Nicholas Young

Director: Koji Yamamura / Original Author: Yoko Ogawa
Screenplay: Yoko Ogawa, Koji Yamamura
Producer: Kenji Ishimaru
Executive Producer: Yoshinobu Noma
Sound Director: Masataka Ota
Music: Koji Ueno
CG Director: Gee Yeung
Lead Unity Engineer: Jorge Pedrero Reyna
Line Producer: Yumiko Kano
Production Manager: Yui Tamanaha
Planning and Production: Kodansha VR Lab, Ltd.

【Director Koji Yamamura】

Koji Yamamura was nominated for the 75th Academy Awards for “Mt. Head” (02) and won 6 Grand Prix including the Annecy Grand Prix. Received the Medal with Purple Ribbon. Professor at Tokyo University of the Arts.

【Original Author Yoko Ogawa】

Born in Okayama City Japan in 1962; Graduated from Waseda University, Faculty of Literature , Department of Literature and Arts.
Debuted in 1988 with ‘When Butterflies Break’, which won the Kaien Newcomer Literature Award.
Major books include ‘Pregnancy Calendar’, ‘The Doctor’s Beloved Equation’, ‘Secret Crystals’, ‘Kotori’ and ‘The Stage That Sleeps in Your Palm’. Her latest book is a collection of essays entitled The Beauty of the Body, published by Bungeishunju-sha.

【Lead Voice Actor Masaki Okada】

Born 15 August 1989 in Tokyo.
Recent films include Arc (21′), Drive My Car (21′), CUBE: Once You Enter, It’s the Last (21′), Drama: Tomoko Ozuida and Her Three Ex-husbands (21′), The Travel Nurse (22′), Stage: No Story In This World (21′). Glass Zoo (21′), etc. The film ‘One Second Ahead of Him’ released on 7 July and the film ‘Yutori desuka nanika international’ on 13 October. He also narrates ‘SWITCH Interview Tatsujin ‘ (E-TV), which airs every Friday.