Cover for the children's book THE VERY SPECIAL DAY by Yuri Kageyama with pictures by Munenori Tamagawa.

THE VERY SPECIAL DAY written by Yuri Kageyama with pictures by Munenori Tamagawa and book design by Fengshui Iwazaki. (first printing in 2016. Tokyo Flower Children.)

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.



Beyond the Curve International Film Festival FRI April 23 ~ TUE April 27, 2021.

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:

The Story written by Yuri Kageyama was First Published in KONCH, Ishmael Reed Publishing Co., October 2013.


THE VERY SPECIAL DAY is an Official Selection at the Big Sur Film Festival April 2021, Winner in Best Animation at Beyond the Curve International Film Festival February-March 2021, Official Selection at the Phoenix Shorts Festival March 2021, Nominated Best International Short Film at the Brazil International Monthly Independent Film Festival, Finalist Official Selection Paris International Short Festival, Honorable Mention Official Selection London International Monthly Film Festival, Official Selection at the New Year Film Festival and Hollywood International Golden Age Festival, all February 2021, 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), LA Sun Film Fest, all in 2020, Official Selection Finalist Seoul International Short Film Festival, Semi-Finalist Jelly Film Festival and Finalist Official Selection 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, and Nominated Best Animation at the Motion Pictures International Film Festival, Finalist Official Selection the Sicily Independent Film Awards, the Pune Short Film Festival, Tokyo Lift-Off Film Festival, featured by the Australia Animation Film Festival, won the Grand Jury Award at Oniros Film Awards in Italy and Finalist Official Selection at the Kosice International Monthly Film Festival, all in 2020. It won the Silver Award Winner at the Spotlight Short Film Awards, Honorable Mention for Animation at the Los Angeles Film Awards, New York Film Awards, Festigious International Film Festival and Top Shorts Film Festival, Award of Distinction at Canada Shorts Film Festival, Best Animated film at the Hollywood Blood Horror Festival, and Official Selection at Best Global Shorts, 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 story about how a defiant young woman tries to make a birthday a very special day for her child all by herself.
A story about how discrimination begins in the home, and how the fight against discrimination also begins in the home.
A story about ice cream at a birthday party and French Fries at the aquarium.
A story about how “they didn’t like us because we were Japanese American, and not Japanese.”
A story about how stars can be that cure-all ideal but no-cost spiritual present.
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.

“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

Our Reading of THE VERY SPECIAL DAY at Inokashira Koen Tokyo SUN Oct. 23,  2016.Photo by Junji Kurokawa. Our Reading of THE VERY SPECIAL DAY at Inokashira Koen Tokyo SUN Oct. 23, 2016. Photo by Junji Kurokawa.

Featuring Live Painting by Munenori Tamagawa, the visual artist for the 2016  book, a reading by the writer Yuri Kageyama with the Yuricane band: Kouzan Kikuchi (shakuhachi), Hiroshi Tokieda (bass) and Ryan Carter (guitar). Photo by Junji Kurokawa. This is what works as the track for the 2019 film by Hayatto, with the credit roll music by Isaku Kageyama.


Photo coursety Inokashira Koen

Photo coursey Inokashira Koen

THE VERY SPECIAL DAY book party at Infinity Books in Tokyo SUN Aug. 7, 2016.

THE VERY SPECIAL DAY book party at Infinity Books in Tokyo SUN Aug. 7, 2016.

READING by Yuri Kageyama with Kouzan Kikuchi (shakuhachi), Hiroshi Tokieda (bass), Hirokazu Suyama Jackson (percussion) and Tea (vocals).  Photo by Emiko Tokai. Kenwood Dennard and Cherie joined us and Kenwood read his poem and played his mouth harp. Kenwood told me he would never forget our poetry and music, and he is always right.  

Photo by Seiko

Photo by Seiko

Video by Naomi Yoshida

Artists make any day a VERY SPECIAL DAY when we come together: Live Painting/Music/The Spoken Word collaboration at Tachikawa Gallery of Nagai Garou. Oct. 28, 2017.  Yuri Kageyama with Yuuichiro Ishii (guitar), Munenori Tamagawa (visual artist).


back cover of THE VERY SPECIAL DAY by Yuri Kageyama. Bios of the artists.

back cover of THE VERY SPECIAL DAY by Yuri Kageyama. Bios of the artists.