Toho Gakuen Film School 東放学園映画専門学校

Posted By yonghow on November 13th, 2007

Toho Gakuen Film Techniques Training College (東放学園映画専門学校) , located in Takadanobaba (高田馬場), Tokyo, was where I took a 2 year filmmaking course while under the NAC Takashimaya scholarship program. The school was established by TBS (Tokyo Broadcasting System) in 1969 to nurture able talent for the Japanese film, animation and music industries, and has continued to produce skilled professionals for the media industry till this day. Well, so the website says. :p



For foreign students, admission to the film school requires you to hold at least a level 2 for JLPT (Japanese language proficiency test), but the true challenge of one’s command of the language is tested only during the first day of school, when you have to participate in chatty discussions with your Japanese classmates, mostly teenagers who have just graduated from high school and are absolutely bursting with energy and zest.


My letter of acceptance from the Toho Gakuen.

Their rapid fire spiel is but the least of your linguistic worries – many of them had come from faraway cities like Fukuoka and Osaka, speaking in accents only faintly more comprehensible than native Tibetan. I very much struggled through the first few months in a daze just trying to make sense of what everyone was talking about.


My first Japanese film project – 花子と太郎, ( Hanako to Taro ) shot on an antiquated Sony VX2000 camera.

The school curriculum in Toho is a comprehensive mix of theory and practical lessons like screen and scriptwriting, film theory, Arri lights and 16ST film camera techniques ( I’ve already forgotten what’s “check the gate” in 日本語 ) – all taught in Japanese of course. While certain subjects like Avid editing and 3D Studio Max were easy subjects ( having taken them in polytechnic before ), scriptwriting and film theory lessons were complete nightmares with (usually 2000 kanji characters equivalent ) written assignments.


Japanese film directors Yukihiko Tsutsumi and Yukisada Isao, past students of Toho Gakuen.

I think I enjoyed the film appreciation classes and guest speakers seminars the most – some memorable filmmakers that visited us included Naoki Kayano ( DP, Shall we Dance & Onmyoji ), Morishita Shozo ( Camera, Casshern ), Yukihiko Tsutsumi ( director, Trick, 2LDK ) and Yukisada Isao ( director, Crying Out Love, In The Center of the World. ), the latter 2 who are actually graduates of Toho Gakuen.




Some stills from my graduation film Umi no Namida (海の涙)/ On Location.

As we entered year 2 in school we were given much more personal time to prepare for our final film project, as well as for job hunting. I actually started working on Freedom a full 5 months before my graduation ( students who have secured jobs are allowed to skip school ) and had also completed my graduation film project 2 months prior.

A webpage from Toho Gakuen (above) reports that some of my ex-classmates have gone on to work in production houses who have shot PVs for Ayumi Hamasaki and Koda Kumi. Shinosaki (guy in black T-shirt) is working with the production house that made the popular Japanese drama series Hana Yori Dango ( with theme song “Flavor of Life” by Utada Hikaru ). His Korean girlfriend, whom I worked with on a school film project and is also a Toho student, is now working in Imagica, Japan’s largest post house.

Check out the “school” category on the sidebar for more posts on Toho Gakuen.

Resources :
Takashimaya NAC scholarship
Toho Gakuen film school

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Posted in Life, School

19 Responses to “Toho Gakuen Film School 東放学園映画専門学校”

Zer0

*envy*

don777

Thank you for a very interesting story.

Even for Japanese, Speaking Japanese with strong local accent is sometimes hard to understand. I wonder how you could cope with Japanese local dialect.

Anyway, Why don’t you show your self portrait photo at any media (^^).

tragic comedy

i thnk thats because it looks like him minus the specs??

yonghow

don777 – I wasn’t able to cope actually; on many occasions in school I had very little idea what my classmates were saying. As for my photo, haha, I’m sure people will find Takeru’s face more pleasant than mine.

Ahboon

wow! you’re living the dream man… I hope to get my hands on some of da Freedom merchandise soonest. :-))

yonghow

:] Hey there ! Are you a filmmaker ? I’ve bookmarked your blog, will visit it often.

Ahboon

Aiyah… struggling production designer ( lowest in the foodchain here in singapore man…) i’ve done it all, clear shit, make maggots, hang pig head… hahaha but all fun though. ;-))

tj han

Man, going overseas to study is difficult enough, but doing so in a country which doesn’t use English is just so much harder. But in the end, it does seem far more enriching.

yonghow

The famed tj han himself ! An honor.

Let’s just say I would want to think that the hard times endured were worth it. :]

patricia

Hi ,

I saw that u had the nac scholarship to study in japan. but wat does it takes to sign in for this scholarship ? i hrd that the person must be taleneted to be choosen for this scholarship and only for 1 person only …

im not very fantastic but im very interested in studyin in japan with this scholarship provided …

hope to hear from you soon
patricia

yonghow

hey patricia, you can check out details of the scholarship here :

http://www.nac.gov.sg/sch/sch04.asp#tak

Chris

hello, i don’t know if this is tooooooo late to comment you or not. i just found this page today.

i’m very interesting at Toho, I’m not Japanese of course. I wanna be in film school but i talked with Ms.Kim,Department of foreigners at Toho and she told me that i’m fit with the media training.

i’m really finding someone who study at Toho to talk with and now i’ve found you.

so can you mail me with my address that i left for you?
thank you very much

Hana

hi…
sory I’m too late to cment you
cause I just found this web today
I want to ask you some question about TOHO
can you mail me in the address that I filled in

thank you

Ling

Hi,
I’m very late to left a comment. I just found your blog when trying to look up more on TOHO. I have some questions would like to ask you about TOHO and living in Japan. Could you reply me to the email I filled in when you have the time?

Thanks

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