2023.09.26   News

VR animation "My Inner Ear Quartet", written by Yoko Ogawa and directed by Koji Yamamura, has won the Best VR Award in Ottawa Animation International Film Festival 2023!

Kodansha VR Lab, Ltd. (Head office: Chuo-ku, Tokyo; Representative Director: Kenji Ishimaru; hereafter referred to as ‘the Company’) is pleased to announce that the VR animation ‘My Inner Ear Quartet’ (hereafter referred to as ‘the film’), planned and produced by the Company, has won the Best VR Award at the Ottawa Animation International Film Festival 2023.

Ottawa Animation International Film Festival 2023
Award-winning film: ‘My Inner Ear Quartet’
 (Director: Koji Yamamura, Original Story: Yoko Ogawa)
Award: Best VR Award

【Director: Koji Yamamura Award-winning comment】

Thank you very much for giving me the Grand Prize in the VR category. This ‘ My Inner Ear Quartet ‘ is my first VR directed film and I would like to thank all the members of the jury, the festival management and the audience. I have participated in the Ottawa International Animation Film Festival many times and each time I have been inspired in many ways. Unfortunately, I was not able to be there this time, but I am chewing over the award in Ottawa, along with the memories I have made so far. My Inner Ear Quartet was a work that took two years to complete and was given shape by the original author, Yoko Ogawa, and many other staff members, and I would like to share the joy of this award with all the production staff. Thank you very much.”

Koji Yamamura was awarded the Grand Prize for Best Feature Film at the Ottawa International Animated Film Festival in 2021 for his film Kikata no Kita, the Grand Prize for Best Short Film in 2020 for his produced film Bone Engagement (directed by Honami Yano), the Grand Prize for Best Short Film in 2007 for Kafka: A Country Doctor, and the Short Film Grand Prize for Which One? (directed by Yano Honami) in 1999.

【Producer Kenji Ishimaru’s Award-winning comments】

I was fortunate to receive the trophy on behalf of everyone involved in the project. It was a truly happy time. I would like to thank Director Koji Yamamura, Yoko Ogawa, who wrote the original story and screenplay, and all the people who worked on the film, for giving me this opportunity, and at the same time send my congratulations. This was also my first time attending the festival and I was amazed at the wonderful hospitality of the festival and the high quality of the content gathered. I would also like to express my sincere gratitude to all those involved in keeping such a wonderful film festival going.

【About My Inner Ear Quartet】

This is a groundbreaking and ambitious work based on an original story written for VR work by Akutagawa Award-winning author and Medal with Purple Ribbon winner Yoko Ogawa, and adapted into a VR film by Academy Award-nominated animation artist 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. We plan to enter the film in major international film festivals with VR sections so that it can be experienced around the world.


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?

Voice Acting (Japanese/English)
Man: Masaki Okada / Daman Mills
Boy: Kawaguchi Shirabe / 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.