A Japanese mechanical designer, animation creator and director.
Shoji Kawamori is a vision creator, who handles animation directing, planning, concept creation, scriptwriting, video and stage directing, as well as mechanical design.
Mr. Kawamori was born in 1960 in Toyama, Japan. At the age of three, he moved from the snowy village of Gokayama to rapidly urbanizing Yokohama, where he experienced severe culture shock after witnessing various aspects of modern urban life, including steam locomotives and streetcars – from this experience sprang his strong desire to “create excitement that would surprise everyone” and to be involved in the creative industry.
After enrolling in Keio University, he was able to cultivate free sensibility through interactions with many creative alumni who are internationally active designers and creators. While still studying engineering at Keio, he joined Studio Nue (a creative planning and production group) which has been a central force in the development of Japanese science fiction and animation.
Shortly after joining Studio Nue and while still studying at Keio, he transferred to Takara (currently Takara Tomy). While there, he participated in the initial design of the “Transformers” central robot character Optimus Prime, as well as the car robot of “Diaclone” and several other popular mechanical designs.
While simultaneously participating in several animation projects and mechanical design, he also participated in the development of “The Super Dimension Fortress Macross” (1982-1983) that was launched as a project with his friends from Studio Nue. As a primary team member, he was intimately involved in original story creation, mechanical design, script, and storyboard writing.
At the age of 21, he independently developed "Valkyrie," the world's first fully variable three-stage fighter, which was the leading mechanism that appears in this work.
He made his directorial debut at the age of 23 in the movie version of "The Super Dimension Fortress Macross: Do you remember love? " (1984)
This work and "Valkyrie" were broadcast on television around the world, and the video that mixes realistic mecha and battle scenes, idol music and romance elements was used in the entertainment industry, including Hollywood. For many children and young people, this was the first Japanese animation to become very “cool” around the world.
In the subsequent "Macross" series, he still played a key role in the creative works, with original stories, directoring, and mechanical designs.
Continuing his work in animation, he was involved in the initial mechanical setting production of "Mobile Suit Gundam". Since then, he has participated in the "Mobile Suit Gundam 0083 STARDUST MEMORY" mechanic styling as part of the " Eureka seveN" series. He served as a mechanical designer in the "Ghost in the Shell" series, and " Mobile Police PATLABOR".
Even in the world of video games, from the early days of the PlayStation release, he has worked with multiple mechanical designs, including planning and mechanical design and supervising of the "Armored Core" series (From Software) and the arcade game "Tech Romancer" (Capcom).
His general design work includes:
Sony robot pet "AIBO (ERS-220)",
Nissan DUALIS CM mechanism "Powered Suit DUALIS",
Image character of SUBARU's driving support system "EyeSight",
The variable mode design of the TOYOTA body concept car " Coms CONNECT".
In "Earth Maiden Arjuna" (2001), he made a hybrid movie with 2D animation using CG, which is rare for a TV series at the time, and at the same time worked on themes such as Radiation waste and environmental problems.
Kenji Miyazawa's centennial anniversary animation "Kenji no Haru -Spring & Chaos-" (1996), a semi-autobiographical animation of Miyazawa was produced as a program commemorating the 25th anniversary of the opening of TV Iwate. It received the 23rd Broadcast Culture Foundation Award (TV entertainment program) in 1997. It incorporated fantastic images that made full use of pencil animation and CG, highly praised as works that combine shamanistic feeling and beautiful music.
He served as Executive Director in his original stories, including:
“Macross Plus” (1995-1995), “Macross Zero” (2002-2004), “Genesis of Aquarion” (2005), “Macross F” (2008), “Aquarion EVOL” (2012), “AKB0048 “( (2011-2012), “Nobunaga the Fool” (2014), “Macross Δ”(2016), “LAST HOPE” (2018), “Macross Delta the movie” (2018).
Other major activities in recent years:
Joint Production stage "Multi-dimensional project "The Fool"" (2013) that fuses actor and voice actor plays.
Tokyo Game Show 2014 Sony Computer Entertainment "Project Morpheus" Produces images (2014) for VR head mounted display.
He was in charge of designing a new original mechanic called "Thunderbird S" for the first time as a Japanese designer in "Thunderbird ARE GO" (2015), a new series of special-effects program "Thunderbird" produced by British ITV aired on NHK. He produced CG modeling with the staff of WETA WORKSHOP in New Zealand, which is famous for the special effects in "The Lord of the Rings".
PlayStation 4 software "Devil May Cry 5" (2019) The design of the protagonist deformed weapon.
NINTENDO SWITCH software " DAEMON X MACHINA" (2019) main mecha design.
He has held many lectures and workshops on creative activities at more than 20 educational facilities, including schools such as Kindai University and J. F. Oberlin University, as well as professional training colleges in Tokyo. He also focuses on human resource development for young people.
In April 2017, he spoke at the talk event, TEDx Keio High School, held at his alma mater, Keio High School. He talked about "Multi-dimensional idea generation method that creates originality".
He lectured at the Japanese Traditional Culture Noh Society held in June 2017,
He performed "animation expression and "flower"". * Also published in the book "Noh and Kyogen" 16.
In March 2018, the digital installation "Mechasobi" robot was designed as a collaborative work with Pentagram Design at the exhibition "Mangasia" held at Barbican Center, Europe's largest art facility in London, England.
From May to June 2019, we celebrated the 40th anniversary of his professional debut, an exhibition called "Kawamori Shoji EXPO," held at Tokyo Dome City. The exhibition would showcase valuable materials, animations and mechanical design production processes that have been preserved for decades. Also a new dome-shaped 3D image was produced.
In September 2019, he gave a special lecture in conjunction with the movie screening event "Anime's Human Machine" held at the Barbican Centre. Europe's largest art facility in London, England.
In November 2019 at Keio General Course of his alma mater he gave a lecture on "Individuality and originality -Let's stretch out the piles that stick out".
In March 2020, he participated as a lecturer for junior and senior high school students who are aiming to become creators in "ENTERTAINMENT CAMP" of "SONY CREATORS GATE", a youth development program of Sony Corporation.
He was responsible for the original design, promotion, manufacturing and production of "wena wrist design by Kawamori," a hybrid smartwatch from Sony Corporation, released in March 2020.
In February 2020, he became the Chief Creative Officer of "SMALL WORLDS TOKYO," a miniature theme park that opened in Ariake Tokyo in June of the same year.