Winter Days

Winter Days (冬の日, Fuyu no Hi) is a 2003 Japanese anime film directed by Kihachirō Kawamoto. It is based on one of the renku (collaborative linked poems) in the 1684 collection of the same name by the 17th-century Japanese poet Bashō.

Winter Days
Film Poster
Directed byKihachirō Kawamoto
Written byMatsuo Bashō
Release date
November 27, 2003 (Japan)
Running time
105 minutes (40 minutes animation)

The creation of the film followed the traditional collaborative nature of the source material – the visuals for each of the 36 stanzas were independently created by 35 different animators. As well as many Japanese animators, Kawamoto assembled leading names of animation from across the world. Each animator was asked to contribute at least 30 seconds to illustrate their stanza, and most of the sequences are under a minute (Yuri Norstein's, though, is nearly two minutes long).

The released film consists of the 40-minute animation, followed by an hour-long 'Making of' documentary, including interviews with the animators. Winter Days won the Grand Prize of the Japan Media Arts Festival in 2003.

Bashō's hokku, or opening verse, of the 36-verse poem:[1]

kogarashi no
mi wa chikusai ni
nitaru kana
(Crazy verse)
In the withering wind
it is Chikusai
whom I resemble!

Animated segments

Norstein animated the opening stanza (hokku) as the special guest (kyaku). Chikusai is running around listening to trees, and meets Bashō. He's awed, but is amused to see that Bashō is picking bugs out of a cloak that is as torn as his own. He gives Bashō his own hat in exchange for Bashō's (which has a gaping hole at the top) and goes away. Suddenly, the wind picks up and blows the torn hat away. Chikusai chases after it and manages to catch it, but then with a shrug lets it go and allows it to fly off wherever the wind will take it. Meanwhile, Bashō is moving slowly and laboriously against the wind, with a hand on his new hat to keep it from flying away.

Speaking at the November 30, 2007 Russian theatrical premiere of Winter Days, Norstein said that he had made a longer, 3-minute version of this segment, but had not yet added sound to it.[2]

Kawamoto animated the second (waki) and final (ageku) stanzas as the organiser (shōshō).

Sheet 1 Side 1 - jo (introduction)
1 Bashō Yuri Norstein 110 cut-out Russia
2 Yasui Kihachirō Kawamoto 52 puppet Japan
3 Kakei Fumio Oi 44 CGI Japan
4 Jūgo Tatsutoshi Nomura 48 cel Japan
5 Tokoku Shinichi Suzuki 51 cel Japan
6 Shōhei Haru Fukushima 47 vector animation Japan
Sheet 1 Side 2 - ha (intensification)
7 Yasui Tatsuya Ishida Japan
8 Bashō Raoul Servais Belgium
9 Jūgo Noriko Morita Japan
10 Kakei Tatsuo Shimamura Japan
11 Bashō Yōichi Kotabe &
Reiko Okuyama
12 Tokoku Aleksandr Petrov paint-on-glass Russia
13 Kakei Maya Yonesho Japan
14 Yasui Yoji Kuri Japan
15 Tokoku Uruma Delvi Japan
16 Jūgo Seiichi Hayashi Japan
17 Yasui Azuru Isshiki Japan
18 Bashō Břetislav Pojar Canada
Czech Republic
Sheet 2 Side 1 - ha (intensification)
19 Jūgo Katsushi Boda Japan
20 Kakei Masahiro Katayama Japan
21 Bashō Mark Baker UK
22 Tokoku Yuichi Ito Japan
23 Kakei Keita Kurosaka Japan
24 Yasui Reiko Yokosuka Japan
25 Tokoku Yuko Asano Japan
26 Jūgo IKIF Japan
27 Yasui Bairong Wang
28 Bashō Isao Takahata Japan
29 Jūgo Nori Hikone Japan
30 Kakei Masaaki Mori Japan
Sheet 2 Side 2 - kyū (rapid finale)
31 Bashō Taku Furukawa Japan
32 Tokoku Co Hoedeman Canada
33 Kakei Jacques Drouin pinscreen Canada
34 Yasui Fusako Yusaki Japan
35 Tokoku Kōji Yamamura 40 Japan
36 Jūgo Kihachirō Kawamoto puppet Japan

DVD releases

The film is currently available in four DVD versions, none of which has English dubbing or subtitles.

  • Regular Japanese release, November 22, 2003 (R2, NTSC). Contains original film (40+65 min), no subtitles.
  • "Complete Box" Japanese release, November 22, 2003 (R2, NTSC). Contains film + eight additional DVDs with making-of featurettes (total: 945 mins). No subtitles.
  • Korean "RABA Animation" release, February 7, 2006 (R3, NTSC). Contains Korean subtitles; otherwise, identical to "regular" Japanese release in all but the region encoding and price.
  • French release, June 20, 2008 (R2, PAL). Original animation with French audio, and 'making-of' with French sub-titles.[3]

See also


  1. Horton, H. Mack. Gradus ad Mount Tsukuba, An Introduction to the Culture of Japanese Linked Verse in Journal of Renga & Renku, issue 1, 2010, p46
  2. Norstein's LiveJournal blog (in Russian)
  3. Review on Les Fiches du cinéma Archived 2014-01-04 at the Wayback Machine website
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