Born in 1991 on a small island in Japan’s Seto Inland Sea, Honami Yano is an animator and filmmaker based in Kyoto and Tokyo. Having always loved to draw and paint, it wasn’t until her years in college, and a chance opportunity to study at RISD in the U.S., when she discovered animation. And it quickly became on obsession that merged her love for drawing, with moving images.
In February of 2019, Yano set to work on what would become her first professional project after graduating from university. A whole two years later she completed “A Bite of Bone” (骨噛み is the Japanese title). Clocking in at just under 10-minutes, the short animation was created entirely by hand. Working largely with colored markers of different tip sizes, Yano painstakingly employed the method of pointillism to create all her images.
The resulting film is a reflection of the director’s own experience losing her father at a young age and attending his funeral while recalling the last summer they spent together. There is a scattered tradition still alive in some parts of Japan known as “hone kami,” or “biting the bone,” explains the director. “After the deceased is cremated, certain bones survive the blaze, and fragments of these are eaten as a means of making the deceased a part of oneself, and of overcoming grief and pain.”
Yano’s home island is teeming with life and nature and “A Bite of Bone” explores natural landscapes and childhood memories by presenting memory as a collection of points. You can watch the trailer below, as well as a longer video that delves into how the film was made. You can keep up with Honami Yano on Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.