Just last week we featured the work of Japanese comedian and animator Tekken when British band Muse adopted his heart-rending flip-book animation Pendulum as the official video for one of their tracks.
So imagine our surprise when Warner Music Japan unveiled the artist’s latest animation as the music video for Toshihide Baba’s inspiring track “Yowai Mushi” earlier this week.
The track’s title literally translates as “weak insect”, but we could perhaps better interpret it as “weakling” or “wimp”. Although it’s perhaps not quite as tear-jerking as Pendulum, Yowa Mushi still manages to touch even our cold, unfeeling hearts…
Featuring a protagonist and his family who fall victim to various acts of bullying and social ostracization, Tekken’s latest work presents the darker side of Japanese society and draws our attention to the issues of bullying whilealso asking us to consider our own perception of others.
At first, the idea of being wrongly accused of touching a woman on a crowded train might seem a little unlikely to westerners, but “chikan” groping and molestation has become a serious issue in urban Japan. Posters in stations and onboard trains remind passengers that unwanted touching is an illegal act and that women should speak out immediately should they feel that they personal space has been violated.
▼”Both the victim and those around should speak out in a loud voice. We can stamp out this problem.”
Unfortunately, there have been numerous cases of men, much like the protagonist of this video, wrongly accused of groping, however society is often quick to believe the worst. And with an estimated 99.7% of all crimes brought to court in Japan ending in prosecution, it is difficult if not impossible for someone to clear their name once suspected of committing the act.
The sad nature of the video aside, Yowai Mushi is a pleasure to watch. As with Pendulum, the artwork is first-rate, and the way in which each scene unfolds into the next is absolutely mesmerizing.
As well as detailing the life of this infinitely unfortunate man, Yowai Mushi also touches on the issue of bullying in school and how rumour and speculation can devastate individual lives. As a group-oriented society, individuals falling out of favour often feel entirely ostracized and struggle to regain the respect and approval of those around them. Although the video ends on something of a bitter-sweet note with the protagonist coming to realise that we must all, in some area of our lives, bow down to another, the tears of both the salary man and the prison guard make a powerful statement about the world we live in…