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Filmmaker/director Kosaku Shimamoto’s monozukuri is to “somehow bring the one back to zero”.

2024.6.29

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A circle of friends connected by goo touch! The “FIST BUMP” corner of the radio program “GRAND MARQUEE” features people who live and enjoy Tokyo in a relay format.

On December 20, filmmaker and director Kosaku Shimamoto will appear on the program, introduced by critic, beatmaker, and MC Masashi Yoshida. In this interview, we asked him not only about the story behind the creation of his works, but also about his thoughts on making things and how he became independent.

Taking a silly idea that pops into your head in your daily life and making it stick.

Celeina (MC): Mr.Shimamoto was born in Tokyo and graduated from Musashino Art University in 2005. He is mainly a filmmaker and director, and also works as a techno duo BERVATRA and “Special Editing Unit: Couch & Potato 2nd Generation”. You say that your main work is in video, but what kind of unit is “Special Editing Unit: Couch & Potato 2nd Generation”?

Shimamoto: I have been working with my friend Omino-kun (friend #1) since about 2004. We take silly thoughts that pop into our heads in our daily lives, turn them into images and videos, and fix them in place. We upload the works we create to Tumblr, review them, and laugh together.

Takano (MC): Great! So you are making what you think is good for you rather than for someone else?

Shimamoto: We don’t make things just for ourselves, but there are things that we can laugh at no matter how many times we see them, or even when we see them a few years from now.

For example, there is a saying, “Jump off the stage at Kiyomizu”. One time, I happened to visit Kiyomizu Temple while sightseeing in Kyoto. When I actually went there, I thought, “Oh, this stage is pretty high”. Moreover, there were stone walls and a sharp fence like a bamboo spear under the stage. I thought, “If I jumped off, it would hurt a lot. So I came up with a warning image that said, “Watch out!”. I came up with the idea of creating an image to alert people to the danger of jumping off the stage. I would like to take this opportunity to strongly advise everyone, “You should never actually jump off the Kiyomizu stage! I would like to strongly say that.

Takano: Normally, you use a saying as an example, but you are going to call attention to it.

Shimamoto: I happened to have that kind of realization when I went there. I make my couches in the sense that if I have an idea, even if it is silly, I will give form to it exactly as it is.

Celeina:You mentioned images, but you also make videos, don’t you ?  I saw your YouTube channel “Couch & Potato“.

Takano: This one was amazing! Are you making videos of New Year’s greeting cards?

Shimamoto: This is a new video genre called “Nengadojo” and we are the only ones doing it in the world. Well, it’s a genre we created on our own.

Takano: I saw a video of the Year of the Tiger, and it was very chaotic. I think it must have taken a lot of legwork to count all the different tigers in Tokyo.

Shimamoto: It’s a Nendogajo for the year 2022. It says, “Two middle-aged men will collect 2,022 street tigers in Tokyo”. I have no idea what it’s about.

Takano: I think it is hard to imagine.

Celeina: It would be better if you actually see the film.

Shimamoto: We have other New Year’s movement cards and video works on our YouTube channel, so please watch them in your spare time. I don’t think they will be of any use to you.

Takano: Your costumes are very elaborate. Are these reflectors worn by construction workers?

Shimamoto: That’s right. They are called “tiger vest”.

Celeina:They are actually called “tiger vest”. I didn’t know that.

Shimamoto: I clearly wrote “Couch Safety: tiger vest” on the reflector.

Celeina: Is this your original?

Shimamoto: Yes, it is. This year, I first created an original “tiger vest” and made a New Year’s greeting card in the style of a flyer commemorating the release of the “tiger vest” and sent it to my friends. The New Year’s movement cards you saw was an extension of that, so I am wearing the same “tiger vest”. I kept finding tigers in the city and shooting them, but there were so many tigers that I couldn’t finish shooting after shooting, and even in editing, the number of tigers kept swelling up and I couldn’t get rid of them.

Takano: It was like falling into a trance.

Shimamoto: It was a pretty rough year, the Year of the Tiger. In the end, I completed the project on December 31.

Celeina: Mr.Shimamoto, what do you think about the 2024 edition?

Shimamoto:I’m making New Year’s cards and New Year’s movement cards, sincerely working on the Chinese zodiac. I’m shooting again this week, but it doesn’t seem to be finished at all.

Celeina: Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to come.

Shimamoto: I’m making New Year’s cards and New Year’s movement cards, taking the zodiac into consideration. I’m shooting again this week, but it doesn’t seem to be over yet.

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