Winner 2003

Mother Flew Away as a Kite

TV Asahi, Tokyo, Japan

Based on an original story by Akiyuki Nosaka, Mother Flew Away As A Kite is a haunting depiction of the horrors of war, and how a mother and child live everyday in the hope of a peaceful future. Told through animation, this is the story of five year-old Ka-chan who lives with his mother in a Japanese town during the waning days of World War II. Ka-chan’s father, a school teacher, is away fighting the war, and the small family must rely on its own resourcefulness and on the help of neighbors for day-to-day survival. Despite the constant threat of bombing, the family maintains a semblance of normalcy, and Ka-chan and his friends fill their days with the pleasures of childhood. The children idealize the convoys of dispirited soldiers passing through town while dreaming of the day when they will no longer live with hunger or fear of the bombs. But the bombs do come to their town, and the terror felt by Ka-chan and his mother is made graphic and intimate through expert animation. They have no place to hide, nowhere to run to. In a soaring conclusion, their spirits joyfully float into the sky, like kites in the breeze. Producer Kenji Ota, with chief director Yoshio Takeuchi, director Hiroki Negishi and producers Sojiro Masuko and Hisami Ogura, reminds us that war touches not only the warriors, it touches us all. For this powerful message of hope, a Peabody Award goes to Mother Flew Away as a Kite.