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Eiichi Takahashi

Eiichi Takahashi was born in Gifu Prefecture, Japan in 1990.
After studying architecture and fashion, he studied under director Shinya Tsukamoto.
He participated as an assistant director on his films The Whistler and Kotoko.
Since then, he has been making films and working as a video director, including NHK's "Tensai TV kun" and "Aoki Iro".

His film Sakura was a semi-finalist in the Best Music for Experimental Shorts category at Experimental Brasil 2024.


1-Can you provide us with a brief introduction to yourself and your journey into the world of filmmaking, particularly your transition from architecture and fashion to directing?

Ever since I was a child, I wanted to work in a creative profession.

At first, I wanted to be an architect and studied at a professional school, but I became tired of the fact that architecture could only be seen by visitors, so I decided to go into fashion, which I loved as much as architecture, and moved from the countryside to Tokyo to study fashion stylist.

However, when I learned that fashion stylists have clients and work with art directors and photographers, I gradually lost interest in this profession.

It was then that I first saw "Tetsuo," directed by Shinya Tsukamoto.

It was a very exciting film, and I was struck by the fact that he did all the main work himself.

I then decided that I wanted to make films like Tsukamoto and began to pursue a career as a film director.

2-What inspired you to create "Sakura," and how does this film reflect your personal artistic vision and thematic interests?


This film is one of the five directors who each created a film on the theme of sin.

I wrote the scenario for this film interpreting sin as the desire to enjoy, because I am skeptical about other people's enjoyment.

In Japan, cherry blossoms are generally beautiful, and many people enjoy hanami, or cherry blossom viewing parties, as an enjoyable event.

However, I don't think so, and I feel disgusted by the fact that the parks are filled with garbage due to hanami.

This would not happen if people did not have the desire to enjoy themselves, but this desire does not disappear from human beings.

This is because I myself always want to enjoy something.

3-"Sakura" explores themes of monotony, self-discovery, and the search for enjoyment in life. How did you approach the storytelling and character development to convey these themes effectively?


The motif of hole is consistently used in this work.

The story of a man with a large hole in his head, a hole in a love doll with its local area taken, a hole looking into the next room.

I associate the hole as a symbol of desire.

In order to appeal to the intellect rather than the emotions, the characters' lines are selected to be simpler, symbolic words.

4-The character of Utsumi encounters a discarded love doll named Nishi, whose story prompts Utsumi to reflect on his own feelings and perceptions of fun. Can you share more about the symbolism and significance of Nishi's character in the film?


Nishi's line "We, love dolls, are dolls made for people to enjoy." says it all.

Nishi is the destination to which desire is directed, and the moment that desire is lost, the reason for its existence ceases.

Nishi is the embodiment of desire and the victim of desire.

Nish symbolizes sin in this film.

5-Your upcoming feature film, "Suncream and Windchimes," is set to be released later this year. Could you provide us with a glimpse into the themes and storytelling style of this project?

It is a story about encounters with unknown desires.

A man who monitors his possibly unfaithful wife with a hidden camera crosses paths with a variety of characters who have various desires.

It is a work that challenges the viewer to capture the surrealistic aspects of the very everyday.

6-As someone who has worked as an assistant director under renowned filmmaker Shinya Tsukamoto, how has this experience influenced your approach to directing and storytelling in your own films?

I feel very influenced by the way he deals with his themes.

I believe that facing more personal and minimalistic themes in depth is the process of making a film that no one has seen before.

7-Your directorial statement reflects on the concept of fun and how it evolves throughout life. How do you think filmmaking contributes to creating enjoyable and meaningful experiences for both yourself as an artist and for your audience?


My understanding of a theme changes throughout the process of filmmaking.

What I was thinking before shooting may have changed during editing, and discovering such changes in myself is a good experience for me as a filmmaker.

I also feel a change in myself when I receive feedback from the audience after they see my film.

I think that making a film and having the audience watch it is a process of facing the theme for me.

The part of the film that I want the audience to enjoy is my exploration of the theme through the film.

8-"Sakura" is a relatively short film, running for 19 minutes. What were some of the challenges you faced in telling a compelling and emotionally resonant story within this limited runtime?

The story is unrealistic, so the challenge was how to establish reality in this piece.

We created the tempo and mood of the symbolic dialogue and characters, and designed the costumes and background colors in detail.

Finally, the music we used in the film made the film's worldview more compelling.

9-Could you share some insights into your creative process when crafting the visual style and atmosphere of "Sakura," particularly in capturing the essence of cherry blossom season and its significance in Japanese culture?

Japan has four seasons, and the Japanese have a warm, bright and cheerful image of spring, especially when the cherry blossoms are in bloom.

Since this work is about objecting to fun, it was important to depict this story in a season that gives a positive impression.

I wanted to express another perspective on what is considered culturally correct.

10-As a filmmaker who has explored various genres and mediums, including directing for television programs like NHK's "Tensai TV kun" and "Aoki Iro," how do you approach storytelling differently in each format?

The most different aspect of each medium is the number of people watching and how they view it.

Television requires consideration for the audience because more than 100,000 people can easily watch it by simply turning on the TV.

Movies do not require consideration for the audience, since they buy tickets to see them of their own volition, but they do require what they really want to see.

The style changes depending on the format, but the underlying theme as an artist is important.

11-Lastly, looking ahead, are there any specific themes, genres, or storytelling techniques you're eager to explore in your future projects as a director?

I would like to continue to deal with the theme of desire.

It is important to discover unknown desires and re-observe common sense from that standpoint.

Above all, I believe that my duty as an artist is to create something that no one has ever seen before.

For this purpose, I will face myself through filmmaking.

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