Tokyo Zombie: Sakichi Sato and Yusaku Hanakuma in Shinjuku

Tokyo Zombie: Sakichi Sato and Yusaku Hanakuma in Shinjuku
The writer/director and artist behind Tokyo Zombie talk to fans in Shinjuku.
Updated: 12-14-2005

If you're a Tokyo Zombie fan, or at least interested, you probably already know how the previous chapter of's coverage closed. Last we heard from the team in Tokyo, they were wandering the streets of Shibuya looking for some Tokyo Zombie action figures.

This time around,'s crack reporting team are in Shinjuku. If you know a little about Tokyo, their previous destination - Shibuya - is the teen fashion center of Japan. Shinjuku, however, is the center of a lot more. Shinjuku is the headquarters of the Japanese government, the place where big corporations have really really big skyscrapers, and yes, the sometimes wild center of Japanese nightlife. Takeshi Miike has set several of his movies in the area - and even mentions Shinjuku in the title of at least two films. Enough said.

So, when the crew found themselves wandering the narrow streets on the East side of Shinjuku Station, there was no doubt that something was going down. What was that something? Just a little chat with the writer-director behind the Tokyo Zombie movie and the manga artist who created Tokyo Zombie in the first place. That's right, Sakichi Sato and Yusaku Hanakuma were coming to town. More specifically, they were going to be at the Tower Records in Shinjuku for a Tokyo Zombie talk and autograph signing session.

Before arrival, the not-quite-fluent-in-Japanese crew wasn't 100% sure exactly that's what the event was. They knew something was going on because the words "Tower Records" and "Tokyo Zombie" - along with the date - were written on one of the Japanese-only fliers they had picked up at the Shibuya promo event only days earlier. Something Zombie-related was happening, and made the trek to find out what.

Upon arriving at the scene, it became apparent that the Japanese Tokyo Zombie fans were one step ahead. There were quite a few people already waiting at Tower Records a half an hour or so before the event officially got started. Once the lights went on and the curtain rose (actually, there was no curtain and no rose), the crowd grew quiet and the two Zombie-ites took over.

Writer/director Sakichi Sato and artist Yusaku Hanakuma took turns talking about the movie and answering questions from a moderator. They went on for about a half an hour, telling stories, making jokes, getting serious now and then, and keeping the crowd's full attention. After they were done talking about the film, the guys sat down at a table and singed autographs and talked to individual fans for a bit. Yusaku Hanakuma was drawing little Tokyo Zombie characters for everyone on their comic books, notepads, place mats, t-shirts, and any number of other available movie-related goods.

Speaking of Yusaku Hanakuma, one of the crew noted at the Shinjuku event that this guys looks like a bit of a badass. He seemed like the nicest guy in the world and he doesn't look mean, but still doesn't look like the comic book artist type, if there is such a thing. A little extra research turned up the fact that he is, in fact, not only a manga artist, but also a mixed martial arts fighter (photo). How cool is that? This guy could draw you a funny picture of a Japanese zombie fighter with an afro, then kick your ass and steal your girlfriend. Fortunately, he stuck with just drawing at the Tokyo Zombie event in Shinjuku.

Enough about real fighting, though - let's get back to the movie about zombie fighting! took several video clips of both Sakichi Sato and Yusaku Hanakuma. As of now, the video is still being translated (yes, it's all in Japanese!). The photographs are online already. Click on over to the Tokyo Zombie Shinjuku Event gallery to see how bad the camera work was this time.

Also at the show, the Tokyo Zombie promo people were passing out fliers for an art exhibit by Yusaku Hanakuma in the Sendagaya area of Tokyo. There seems to be a pattern emerging. They handed out fliers for Shinjuku at Shibuya. Then they handed out fliers for Sendagaya at Shinjuku. It's like a scavenger hunt when you're a kid. Each clue leads you to the next clue, and pretty soon you get to actually eat the jelly beans - or in this case, you might actually see the movie! So, if things turn out right, look for some coverage of the Tokyo Zombie art show later this month on

As far as the little Tokyo Zombie action figures, those were (once again) nowhere to be found. In fact, they have been more elusive than the actual cast of the film. The search will continue, though. There are many wards of Tokyo waiting to be searched for little plastic zombies. Until next time, jaa mata.

Pictures from Shinjuku: Tokyo Zombie With Sakichi Sato and Yusaku Hanakuma At Tower Records

More Tokyo Zombie coverage coming soon.

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