BEPPUNICATION is the result of the artist duo Makiko Furuichi and Jérémy Griffaud's residency in Beppu (Japan) in 2022 as part of the Kashima artist in residence program. This animated fable draws its inspiration from Japanese folklore and more precisely from the Kannawa district in Beppu. It deals with the relationship between Man and the Living World.
In Japan, during the Edo era (1603-1868), earthquakes were explained by a giant catfish. As a child, Makiko truly believed in the existence of this supernatural being. Over the centuries, while earthquakes have struck and tormented people's lives, they have also brought economic enrichment through the reconstruction of buildings and cities. Namazu, the giant catfish was seen as a sower of destruction and later as a blessing for Japan. There are illustrations in which the catfish was revered and praised, not as a being that caused earthquakes, but as a savior that solved social problems and diseases.
As part of the "Beppu Project" residency, we were inspired by this creature and designed a fish called "Zunama", like "Namazu" (catfish in Japanese). A long time ago, in a town called Beppu, known for its hot springs, lived a Yokai (malicious supernatural creature) called Saruoni. The water in Beppu's natural pools had become so hot that no human could enter. Only Saruoni was adapted to this boiling water.
Every day he bathed in it and cooked his vegetables which he sold to the citizens of Beppu.
One day, Saruoni, during a bath, was sucked by a vertical gully and slipped into the underground depths.
In a cave, he met a mysterious aquatic creature called Zunama. Zunama had been living alone in this submerged cave since his beloved Mazuna disappeared. He was convinced that humans had killed her. In his solitude, his tantrums had been boiling the water around him for many years. Bringing Saruoni back to earth, Zunama came to the surface for the first time in years. There he learned that his lover Mazuna was a famous singer in the human world. Mazuma, his beloved, was alive! His anger suddenly disappeared and the temperature of the water dropped dramatically and the humans could finally enjoy the hot springs.
In Beppu as elsewhere, in the hot springs, people bathe naked. People talk to each other without artifice, regardless of social status and age.
This is why we called the story that takes place there "BEPPUNICATION".