Iwai Shunji was born on January 24, 1963 in Sendai City, Japan. He began his career in 1988, directing music videos and CATV programs. He wrote and directed numerous television dramas, video clips, and TV commercials, soon earning a reputation for his distinctive visual style. In 1994, he was awarded Best Newcomer by the Japan Film Director`s Association for his television drama Fireworks, Should We See It From the Side or the Bottom?(1993).
In 1995, his short film entitled Undo(1994) won the NETPAC Award at the Berlin Int`l Film Festival. He returned to Berlin the next year with another short film, Picnic(1994) which won the Berliner Zeitung Reader`s Jury Prize.
His first theatrical feature film, Love Letter(1995), reinforced his growing popularity, collecting the year`s Best Director and Best Picture Awards from the Yokohama Film Festival and the Ministry of Education.
Swallowtail Butterfly(1996), his second feature film was made with the well-known music producer, Kobayashi Takeshi, who composed the music for the film, as well as producing Yen Town Band and its mega-hit title track sung by Chara. Hailed as one of the most significant collaborations of the 90`s, their commercial and artistic success further established Iwai, demonstrating his versatility as a virtual artist.
Iwai`s most recent work is April Story(1998), a visual "free hand" portrayal of a young woman played by one of Japan`s leading popular actors, Takako Matsu.
Rockwell Eyes, Inc. was founded in 1995 by Iwai Shunji. Main activities include film production and management of Iwai`s various activities as a filmmaker, writer and composer. Rockwell Eyes, Inc.`s productions include feature films Swallowtail Butterfly(
"Welcome to the world of ether." April 1st. The story begins with the opening of Lilyholic, the new website dedicated to a musician named Lily Chou-Chou and her fans. Hosted by Satie, a well-known figure in the now non-existent Lily fan site Lily Philia, the site soon becomes a gathering place for the former frequenters of Lily Philia.
The old members of Lily Philia speculate about the fatal stabbing of a 15-year-old boy at Lily`s live concert at Shibuya Quatre on Dec. 8th, 1999. The mysterious disappearance of Lily Philia had coincided with the murder and Lily Philia`s host, Philia, as well as BBS regulars Pascal and Blue Cat have been missing on the net ever since.
On the day of Lily`s concert, Lily Philia members were supposed to gather at the venue, each with their own sign: Blue Cat, a green apple; Satie, yellow shades and a yellow jacket; Philia, a Lily Philia T-shirt; Teddy would bring a teddy bear, etc.
Pascal, who had been following the BBS since the opening of Lilyholic, reveals that he saw the stabbing and that the victim was holding Blue Cat`s sign, a green apple. But then someone claiming to be Blue Cat posts a message on the BBS confessing to the murder and saying the victim was, in fact, Philia. The confusion continues as someone else comes forward, eradicating Blue Cat`s professed motive to kill Philia. In the end, Pascal finally figures out that Satie is, in fact, Philia and that Satie/Philia killed Blue Cat. But what he can`t understand is his motive. Satie responds by restricting all access to the BBS and begins to tell his story. Not the story of `Satie` inside the cyber world, but the story of the real him...All about Lily Chou-Chou and all about Philia...
Lily Chou-Chou was born on Dec. 8th, 1980, the day John Lennon died. Her parents broke up when she was young, and she soon lost her place in the world. One day, she was passing time alone in silence when suddenly words and music began to well up inside her. It was the moment she discovered music. She made a sensational debut in February 1995 and after the break-up of her band, Philia, she released her first solo album in July 1997.
Back then, `I`(Satie) didn`t even know she existed. I was a promising sprinter on the school track team and all I did in those days was run. I first heard her music after shoplifting a CD in 1998 by pure coincidence. I listened to her 2nd album Erotic and immediately fell into a trance. I got myself a potted cyclamen and tried growing it with my own blood, just like Lily`s lyrics.
I started a website called Lily Philia. Philia was my handle. Numerous Lily fans visited my site and posted messages. Satie was my second handle.
At night, Hoshino, a classmate of mine, would call me to an empty lot and beat me up with his buddies. I handed them money, and I would sing Lily Chou-Chou tunes to myself on the way and back. Once, my mother told me about a classmate of mine who killed himself after being bullied, but it only increased my addiction to Lily`s music.
In June 1999, Lily`s new album Respiration was released. I was caught shoplifting her CD while skipping school. My mother forced me to explain the things that were happening to me.
Hoshino and I had both been top competitors on the track team. The older teammates resented this and beat us up. We were forced to quit the team. Two months later, Hoshino took me to the guys who beat us up; they ripped out my toenails and demanded money.
Hoshino was the one who taught me how to steal. He came up with another scam in which he chatted up girls in a "telephone club" to get them to a "love hotel" where he would steal their money and toss it out of the window to me. Meanwhile, the bullies graduated and Hoshino took their place as the school tyrant and bully.
I gave my mother the first part of the story, but omitted the part about Hoshino. The rest of my family was sound asleep when I headed for the lot that night as usual. But this time, Hoshino took Lily`s Respiration CD and broke it in two. I vowed never to forgive him.
Then one evening, Hoshino ordered me to hide in the gym with a video camera. He showed up with Yoko, the best student and pianist in our school, and suddenly attacked her. I felt myself shaking violently with sheer fear. I was witnessing Yoko`s ether being torn to pieces.
Back then, Hoshino was blackmailing girls and forcing them into prostitution. On the day Yoko was to make her "debut", I wondered if she would ever become like those girls who sleep with guys just like that. Only afterwards did we learn that Yoko had committed suicide. That day, Lily`s Wings That Can`t Fly played in my head over and over, all day.
Around this time, Lily announced a birthday concert for December 8th. This was only a month after Yoko`s death, and also when I saw Hoshino running again on the track team. His face was glowing, just as it had before all this happened. I could feel my blood boiling with anger, but at the same time an unbearable numbness took hold of me. I had nightmares and could no longer hear Lily`s voice. Instead, the noise surrounding me kept growing louder and louder.
Then, one night, I had a dream in which I was playing Lily`s The Heart of September Rain on the piano while blood from a wound on my left wrist was creating a puddle on the ground. When I woke up, I realized that it was a revelation.
While waiting in line at the concert, I saw a green apple. My heart skipped a beat - it was Hoshino. Hoshino was Blue Cat, the fair and square knight of Lily Philia, the man who defied bullying, the one full of love and affection. It was all a lie. And he had the nerve to take my ticket.
I was left outside where a girl was singing Lily`s The Healing Wound. Without even knowing it, I sang along. I slit my wrist, and looking at the blood oozing out, I thought, "Today`s the day Lily was born."
The concert was over and people were filing out. Among them was Hoshino. I slowly made my way to him and stabbed him as he passed by me. As I was carried away from him by the crowd, I looked down at my wound. The blood had already dried. I started singing softly to myself. The song, of course, was Lily`s The Healing Wound.