THE VERY SPECIAL DAY A VERY SPECIAL FILM

THE VERY SPECIAL DAY IS NOW A VERY SPECIAL FILM

A collaboration with stop motion artist Hayatto.

Story written and read by Yuri Kageyama.

THE VERY SPECIAL DAY is Nominated Best International Short Film at the Brazil International Monthly Independent Film Festival, Official Selection at the Phoenix Shorts Festival February 2021, Finalist Official Selection Paris International Short Festival and Beyond the Curve International Film Festival February-March 2021, Official Selection New Year Film Festival and Hollywood International Golden Age Festival, both in February 2021, won Best Animation at the New Wave Short Film Festival, Milan Short Film Festival, Madras Independent Film Festival, Award of Excellence in Animation Directing at the Montreal Independent Film Festival, Finalist Best Children’s Film at Indie Short Fest (Los Angeles International Film Festival) and the LA Sun Film Fest, in 2020, Honorable Mention Official Selection London International Monthly Film Festival February 2021, Official Selection Finalist Seoul International Short Film Festival, Semi-Finalist Jelly Film Festival and Finalist Official Selection at the Tokyo International Short Film Festival, in January 2021, Best Animation Short Winner at the Royal Wolf Film Awards and Special Jury Selection at the Roma Short Film Festival, both in December 2020, Official Selection Kalakari Film Festival May 15, 2021, Cyrus International Film Festival, New York Tri-State International Film Festival and the Silicon Beach Film Festival, Nominated Best Animation the Motion Pictures International Film Festival, Finalist Official Selection at the Sicily Independent Film Awards, the Pune Short Film Festival, Tokyo Lift-Off Film Festival, Grand Jury Award Oniros Film Awards in Italy, Finalist Official Selection at the Košice International Monthly Film Festival, in 2020. It won the Silver Award Spotlight Short Film Awards, Honorable Mention Los Angeles Film Awards, New York Film Awards, Festigious International Film Festival and Top Shorts Film Festival, Award of Distinction Canada Shorts Film Festival, Best Animated film at the Hollywood Blood Horror Festival and was part of the Best Global Shorts film festival, in 2019.


“Your film brought us enormous pleasure and exhibits excellence in artistry and craftsmanship in noteworthy fashions.” _ Hans Krause, New Wave Short Film Festival.

“Brilliant concept and excellent execution. The structure works well.” _ Nami, Roy and the Los Angeles Film Awards team

A birthday is very special for any little boy. And a little boy is very special for any parent.

This is an everyday but very special story about the trials and joys of growing up in an imperfect world.

A story that’s a bit sentimental but honorable and true, written for all the children in the world.
May they stay safe, may they enjoy peace, may they find love and may they know who they really are.

Music by Kouzan Kikuchi, Hiroshi Tokieda, Ryan Carter and Isaku Kageyama.

Copyright All Rights Reserved by the Artists. August 2019.

“All my works deal with the theme of love, and I put a lot of love in my work. As soon as I saw Yuri’s THE VERY SPECIAL DAY, I felt the same kind of love in the story and knew at once it should be made with my stop motion. Stop motion requires arduous time: Each item is made by hand and moved a little bit at a time to create movement on film. A minimum of eight frames is needed per second. The number of handmade parts is considerable. I make everything myself_ alone but with love. Although, or perhaps because, it requires so much work, time and love, stop motion relays a nostalgic sense of warmth and frailty. When finally completed, it fills me with an emotion that makes me forget all the hard work that went into it. People will likely react in different ways to THE VERY SPECIAL DAY, but I can say it is filled with love. After all, everyone has his or her own “special,” and everyone realizes that what makes for this special ultimately is love, the greatest amorphous theme for humanity. I hope my work will help people around the world rediscover the meaning of love.” _ Hayatto

ONLINE SCREENINGS:

Brazil International Monthly Independent Film Festival MON March 8 ~ MON March 15, 2021.

Silicon Beach Film Festival FRI Nov. 13 ~ THU Nov. 19, 2020, extended through Thanksgiving.

TUE Nov. 10 ~ WED Nov. 11, 2020 at the Motion Pictures International Film Festival.

ode to the stroller – a poem by Yuri Kageyama

Photos of San Francisco by Annette Borromeo Dorfman

A book party

A book party

MY POEM “ode to the Stroller” got published in TOKYO POETRY JOURNAL Vol. 5, dedicated to the Beat Poets January 2018.
THE BOOK PARTY AT OL TOKYO
37-10 Udagawa-cho
Shibuya, Tokyo
7 p.m. SAT Jan. 27, 2018.

Photo by John Matthews

Photos of the reading by John Matthews

I read this poem with my YURICANE spoken-word band: Winchester Nii Tete (percussion), Kouzan Kikuchi (shakuhachi) and Hirokazu Natsuaki (cello), crossing borders so sounds, genres, cultures, people come together in a performance with no score but all soul.

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Motherhood poems are usually square or oppressive and so many women don’t like to write about motherhood. I chose pushing the stroller as a metaphor to depict motherhood in all its proper liberated glory. This happens to be in San Francisco because that is where I had my son and I pushed him around on strollers a lot. But it can be about any mom anywhere. The point of this poem is that it is location-specific and so it takes you on a journey, not only where the stroller went but also in our minds and our path of life like a movie.
We dedicate our performance to all mothers, including Mother Earth herself, and, of course, all the children.

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ode to the stroller
a poem by Yuri Kageyama

we zip weightless like silent angels
up and down San Francisco hills
running on the mother of all energy
greener than solar
rolling rolling rolling
with laughter
cream acid rock ‘n’ rolling
lightning dazzling wheels
gara-gara-gara-gara
teethers jangling dangling dancing
going mad on strangle-free rubbery ribbons
up and down the Avenues
J-town, Clement Street
Golden Gate Park
Museum of Modern Art
we are singing:
“Ouma no oyako wa nakayoshi koyoshi
itsudemo issho ni pokkuri pokkuri aruku”
perfume wind in our hair
springing over potholes
not even stopping just for breast feeds
connected as one through this magical machine
me pushing
you riding
the Lamborghini of strollers
the Gundam of strollers
the little train that could of strollers
up up up into the joyous clouds
zooming wheeeeee
down slurping slopes
around swervacious curves
we are one
yes, we are one
tied in the past with our
umbilical cord
and
even in death
in our dreams

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This version of my reading was recorded at Jackson’s Garage in Tokyo, with Hirokazu Suyama Jackson on drums, Yuuichiro Ishii on guitar and Hiroshi Tokieda on bass.
The poem is about young motherhood some time back, but I wrote this poem recently.
The feelings remain the same, eternal:

My songwriting _ “Oh My Buddha” and “I Will Bleed”

Two of my songs in this new album

my songwriting

“Oh My Buddha” and “I Will Bleed,” two songs I co-wrote with Hiroshi Tokieda and Tea, are part of this great album that just came out (October 2017).
“Oh My Buddha” (audio of an earlier reading in the link) is an Asian take on what we often say: “Oh My God,” something that Toshinori Kondo pointed out some time back as what we should be saying as Asians.
And so I imagined what it would have been like to have been married to a great man like Buddha.
It might have not been as wonderful as it might seem.
Tea and I were talking about how fun it would be to write a pop song that was inspired by an Indian theme.
And so this is what we did.
I even rap or read my poem in the recording _ woooh la la !!

OH MY BUDDHA
_ a song about faith, love and other things
By Yuri Kageyama

REPEATING THEME:
My name is Yasodhara
Wife of Buddha
Mother of Rahula
I ride a white elephant
I am Siddharta’s woman

VERSE 1
You took off to find Nirvana
Became a hero for the poor
You just took off one sunny day
And found enlightenment
While I’m stuck in the kitchen
Barefoot and pregnant, alone

(Repeat theme)

VERSE 2
You’ve started a religion
See statues in your likeness
Of gold and bronze and wood
Sitting prim on that lotus
While I’m having your babies
Feeding them, aborting them, alone

(Repeat theme)

VERSE 3
You remember I cooked you breakfast?
So you could go and contemplate
Sitting 49 days under the Bodhi tree
To discover, sacrifice, meditate?
While I’m crying in my misery
Breathing my prayers, alone

(Repeat theme)

REFRAIN
You’re a superstar
I’m a nobody
You live in history
I die unknown
When I awoke
There was no sign of you
When I awoke
There was no sign of you
My universe went up in smoke
My universe went up in smoke
Oh, my Buddha
Oh, my Buddha

I am planning a music video, and I have asked Toshinori “Toshichael” Tani to come up with choreography.
He will dance in the video, which I will film.

“I Will Bleed,” to me, evokes a lot of things _ abortion, miscarriage, birth, heartbeat, love, death.
Love is such a powerful force it is both horrible and awful.
My poem is about that horror, inspired by the double suicides of Chikamatsu, which highlight how the puppets, in death, are able to transcend how miserable, human and lowly they were before that moment of death.
That beauty to me is about the kind of love that crosses boundaries, overcoming racism and other small, discriminatory, confining preconceptions.
It speaks of the potential of our human condition.
I wrote the poem for Hiroshi and Tea.
But it is a poem for all lovers, and the hope love will overcome hate around the world, through the purification of our bleeding.

THE MANY LIVES OF YURI KAGEYAMA _ THE POET IN ME AND THE JOURNALIST IN ME

I get such a nice write-up by Tim Hornyak in No. 1 Shimbun, the publication of the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan in Tokyo, I can’t believe it is really about me.
It’s called The Many Lives of Yuri Kageyama.
And it brings together the sides of me I usually like to keep separate _ the poet in me and the journalist in me.

“The prose is unvarnished, unflinchingly personal and adroit in quickly juggling themes of child abuse, racism and sexuality while maintaining a narrative flow,” he writes.

“Kageyama’s poems have addressed stereotypes about race and gender roles. They’re made even more powerful when Kageyama recites them with collaborators such as Ghanaian percussionist Winchester Nii Tete on African drums and Keiji Kubo on didgeridoo. Against the backdrop of a traditional Noh stage, it’s a heady, globalized mix of words and music.”

Thanks to Tim. Thanks to all the musicians who have helped my poetry. Thanks to the poets, the literary publishers, the songwriters, the photographers, the filmmakers. Thanks to all the people of Fukushima who have shared their stories with me. Thanks, above all, to all the honorable, creative and dedicated colleagues I have at The Associated Press.

OH MY BUDDHA _ A poem by Yuri Kageyama with Music composed by Tea and Hiroshi Tokieda

Buddha in Bangkok. Photo by Yuri Kageyama

Buddha in Bangkok. Photo by Yuri Kageyama

OH MY BUDDHA
_ a song about faith, love and other things
By Yuri Kageyama

REPEATING THEME:
My name is Yasodhara
Wife of Buddha
Mother of Rahula
I ride a white elephant
I am Siddharta’s woman

VERSE 1
You took off to find Nirvana
Became a hero for the poor
You just took off one sunny day
And found enlightenment
While I’m stuck in the kitchen
Barefoot and pregnant, alone

(Repeat theme)

VERSE 2
You’ve started a religion
See statues in your likeness
Of gold and bronze and wood
Sitting prim on that lotus
While I’m having your babies
Feeding them, aborting them, alone

(Repeat theme)

VERSE 3
You remember I cooked you breakfast?
So you could go and contemplate
Sitting 49 days under the Bodhi tree
To discover, sacrifice, meditate?
While I’m crying in my misery
Breathing my prayers, alone

(Repeat theme)

REFRAIN
You’re a superstar
I’m a nobody
You live in history
I die unknown
When I awoke
There was no sign of you
When I awoke
There was no sign of you
My universe went up in smoke
My universe went up in smoke
Oh, my Buddha
Oh, my Buddha

Sung by Tea Tokieda and Read by Yuri Kageyama.
Music composed by Tea and Hiroshi Tokieda.
Bass by Hiroshi Tokieda, percussions/tabla by Hirokazu Suyama Jackson and shakuhachi by Kouzan Kikuchi.
At Infinity Books AUG 7, 2016, in Tokyo.
Inspired by and dedicated to Toshinori Kondo, who is constantly exploring the meaning of the Asian sound/literarture/self in the world, and told me once that we should all start saying: “Oh My Buddha,” like the way Westerners say: “Oh My God.”
So this is a song about what it would like to be the wife of Buddha _ that behind-every-man-is-a-woman story, and how we women are selfless in love and almost always invisible:

Buddha in Bangkok. Photo by Yuri Kageyama

Buddha in Bangkok. Photo by Yuri Kageyama

MY LYRICS FOR A SONG AND MY POEM IN KONCH MAGAZINE

HANDS OF A CLOCK is an R&B song for which I wrote the lyrics for music by Trupti aka Tea and Hiroshi Tokieda _ the same team for I WILL BLEED (featured in the previous post), as well as for “Oh My Buddha.”

HANDS OF A CLOCK is in the January 2016 issue of KONCH magazine, published by Ishmael Reed and edited by Tennessee Reed.

The January 2016 issue of KONCH also published my poem “A Crow’s Request.”

Hands of a Clock
Words by Trupti and Yuri Kageyama
Music by Trupti and Hiroshi Tokieda
Written to be sung by Sybil Thomas in her next album.

Verse 1

Hey, we’ve met before
You say the first night we meet
It feels like a life that’s come around before

Verse 2

Hey, shall we dance?
We’ve met many times in our dreams
I was sure I knew you at first glance

Pre-Chorus

Long before a thing has begun,
We’re tied in a destiny of time
Ticking together as one

Chorus

Like the hands of a clock
We are like the hands of a clock
The world keeps spinning
At every new beginning
We come back around
Like the hands of a clock

Verse 3

Hey, is this reality?
Will this last through the changing times?
‘Coz I am a true believer in eternity

Pre-Chorus

Long before a thing has begun,
We’re tied in a destiny of time
Ticking together as one

Chorus

Like the hands of a clock
We are like the hands of a clock
The world keeps spinning
At every new beginning
We come back around
Like the hands of a clock

Bridge

Seconds Minutes and Hours
Are just ways time stays in a groove
When love has stopped our inner clock
Toward timeless love we will move

I WILL BLEED a song about love that defies all _ a finalist in a UK songwriting contest

I co-wrote the poem/lyrics with Trupti for “I WILL BLEED,” a song about star-crossed lovers inspired by Chikamatsu‘s double-suicides written for Bunraku puppet theater, about how love, no matter how simple, mundane and pathetic, endures, even in death.
The melody was composed by Trupti and Hiroshi Tokieda, who also plays bass in this fine rendition at his father’s Tokyo recording studio (SoundCloud below).
The musical composition by the couple songwriting team was selected a finalist winner in the U.K. Songwriting Contest in December 2015.
I am blessed to be collaborating with and just to know these two young brilliant musicians. I have seen them get married, despite being of different nationalities and backgrounds, tied together so absolutely through their love for music, and their love for each other.
They met at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, where my son Isaku Kageyama graduated recently, and performed together in different musical groups, with both Trupti and Hiroshi.
They are our future, and the future of the best in music.
The best in us. All of us.
What I want to say in this song is that I still believe in love.
I wrote the poem and worked on the song with Trupti, knowing all the while that Trupti would sing it, and that Hiroshi and Trupti would compose the music together.
The song debuted at my poetry reading and tribute to my poet mentor Ishmael Reed at SFJAZZ CENTER in June 2014 (YouTube clip below).
They are the idea for this song.
They are this song.
I created this song for them.

I WILL BLEED
V1
I won’t cry (a)
Coz it’s in love that I bleed (b)
A bridge of ribbon that carries me (b)
Across waves of war no one can see (b)
V2
I won’t run (a)
My blood will rush strong and drain (b)
All my pride, prejudice and pain (b)
Only our love will still remain (b)
C
I will bleed (a)
But I won’t flee,
Hell is what I desire (b)
I will bleed
But I won’t hide
Hell is what I desire
Such heavenly fire
V3
I won’t sleep (a)
Until this ocean turns to wine (b)
On a night when our stars align (b)
Lying cheek to cheek no longer confined (x)
V4
We will live (a)
You the east and me the sun (b)
Not afraid of different tongues (b)
Our blood joined will make us one (x)

reading my poem FUKUSHIMA in Tokyo

topojohide

Reading my poem FUKUSHIMA with my YURICANE band _ Hiroshi Tokieda (bass), Yuuichiro Ishii (guitar), Hide Asada (guitar), Morgan Fisher (keyboards) and Trupti (vocals) at Tokyo Salon. A book party for Tokyo Poetry Journal, Nov. 13, 2015. Photos by Eba Chan.

fukushima tokyo salon

FUKUSHIMA a poem by Yuri Kageyama
Vocals Lyrics by Trupti and Yuri

It’s a Meltdown nation
Since Three-Eleven
Covered in the fear
Of unseen radiation
But don’t you expect
Any revolution
All you will find
Is fear and contamination.

Here in Fukushima
It rhymes with Hiroshima
Instead of a holler
Hear just a whimper
They say it is safe
The kids like Chernobyl
Are coming down sick
With Thyroid cancer.

Fukushima
Fukushima
Fukushima

Well, they’re bound to keep on lying
But we’ve got to keep on trying
Though we’ve got one more case of cancer
So I’m not gonna let them cover up
Yes, I’m gonna be the Fukushima fighter

Y’all, it’s no hallucination
The refugees’ life
No compensation
No resolution
Just nuclear explosions
Get your dosimeter
Cesium in the water
Lost Imagination

Here in Fukushima
It rhymes with Hiroshima
The radiated Brothers
Faces are hidden
Goggles and masks
Like an astronaut
From head to toe
The Invisible workers

Fukushima
Fukushima
Fukushima

Premature aging
Nerve cells dying
Sterility, deformity
Unborn baby
Blood count dissipation
Leukemia debilitation
DNA radiation
Godzilla’s affliction

Tsunami Demolition
God’s DeCreation
Genetic Devastation
Our next Generation.
Here in Fukushima
It rhymes with Hiroshima
No-go zones forever
The World must remember.

Fukushima
Fukushima
Fukushima

And we got stuck with massive meltdowns
They’ve got to stop with the clowning around
Coz here’s yet another case of cancer
No, I’m not gonna let them cover up
Yes, I’m gonna be the Fukushima fighter

Now they’ve gone by the point of caring
Some old bed they might be sharing
Won’t be long before we all get cancer
No, we can’t let them cover up
Let’s all get up and be Fukushima fighters

topojo

toppojoyuuichiro

trupti

My First Film

I’ve written, directed and edited my first film “I Will Bleed.”
I am still learning; I am now a student at the New York Film Academy.
But it is wonderful to learn visual storytelling _ another way to express my poetry.
I’m working on my second film.

“I Will Bleed,”
a film written and directed by Yuri Kageyama

Cast:
Woman: Raquel Prado
Man: Rodrigo Albuquerque

Camera by Rodrigo Albuquerque and Desiree Cantuaria

Music “I Will Bleed” based on poetry by Yuri Kageyama
Lyrics by Yuri Kageyama and Trupti Pandkar
Vocals by Trupti Pandkar
Music composed by Trupti Pandkar and Hiroshi Tokieda

Performed at the SFJAZZ CENTER in San Francisco June 2014,
by the Yuricane band
featuring Hirokazu Suyama on drums, Hiroshi Tokieda on bass, Hide Asada on guitar,
and featuring Trupti Pandkar on vocals.

A TOKYO FLOWER CHILDREN PRODUCTION
September 2014.
A New York Film Academy student music movie film.

My Poetry with Music at SFJAZZ CENTER in a tribute to ISHMAEL REED June 2014.

SFstage
Photo by Annette Borromeo Dorfman.

Poetry written and read by Yuri Kageyama with the Yuricane band, featuring Hirokazu Suyama on drums and tablas, Hiroshi Tokieda on bass, Hide Asada on guitar and Trupti Pandkar on vocals.
“A Tribute for Ishmael Reed”
SFJAZZ CENTER in San Francisco SAT June 28, 2014.
All poetry written and read by Yuri Kageyama http://yurikageyama.com
5:40 “Loving Younger Men”
11:05 “Little YELLOW Slut”
17:25 “No Gift of the Magi”
23:55 “Ode to the Stroller”
30:00 “Fukushima” in homage to Questlove Jenkins and The Roots.
34:00 “Hiroshima”
40:10 Indian Improv Interlude
44:02 “I Will Bleed” Lyrics by Yuri Kageyama and Trupti Pandkar, Melody by Trupti Pandkar and Hiroshi Tokieda.

withbass
Photo by Annette Borromeo Dorfman.

SFJAZZ with drums
Photo by Annette Borromeo Dorfman.

with trupti
Photo by Eba Chan.

ebaSF
Photo by Eba Chan.