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Ink Music: In The Land Of The Hundred-Tongued Lyricist is a 90-minute documentary film detailing the creative relationships in the expansive career of artistic innovator Chris Mosdell. Shot in HD on-location in Tokyomarker and Fukui, Japanmarker, and New York Citymarker, USA, the film highlights Mosdell’s rise from obscure, expatriate poet to lyricist for Japan’s popular group Yellow Magic Orchestra (YMO).

The story is told through exclusive interviews with Mosdell and his collaborators, including Academy Award-winner Ryuichi Sakamoto, anime film composer Yoko Kanno, and J-pop starlet and seiyū Maaya Sakamoto. Tokyo itself also figures into the narrative as a major character, featuring copious clips of original footage from inside the city that inspires Mosdell’s work. Interviews are visually reinforced with archival footage, showcases of songs, installations, and live performances.

The title of the film alludes to Mosdell's hankomarker, or name seal, which every individual in Japan uses in lieu of signing their name. Taken from the root of his last name, the word's Japanese meaning translates as "one-hundred tongues".

Content summary

The narrative is propelled by statements and observations gathered from exclusive interviews. Mosdell, who is interviewed numerous times in various settings, essentially acts as a narrator, tying together various fragments of observational detail to round-out sustained sequences of historical overview. For the most part, the timeline is chronological, working from the past to the present, and highlighting artistic projects along the way. In this manner Mosdell is depicted first as a renegade poet who unwittingly finds success as a lyricist; next, as a writer exploring ideas in multiple mediums (musical composition, visual arts, installation work); and finally as a highly respected wordsmith collaborating with artists on projects very much in the mainstream of Japanese popular culture.

Interview Subjects

The film's various exclusive interview subjects each discusses their collaborative work with Mosdell in addition to the Japanese cultural relevance that his work has had as a lyricist, musician, poet, visual artist and writer. Composers Ryuichi Sakamoto and Yoko Kanno, poet Shuntaro Tanikawa, and singer Maaya Sakamoto are among the interviewees. YMO co-founder and clothing designer Yukihiro Takahashi, rock guitarist Kazuhiko Kato, sho artist Juichi Yoshikawa, and koto maestro Michiyo Yagi all have considerable screen time. Also featured are stage director and designer Tomio Mohri, translator Rie Terada, and music distributor Kevin Hamilton.


The original score was composed by Mosdell and his long-time collaborator Yu Imai. Also featured are a variety of songs from most of the artists interviewed in the film, as well as some whom Mosdell has collaborated with who are not featured. Among them, Yellow Magic Orchestra, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Yukihiro Takahashi, Yoko Kanno, Maaya Sakamoto, Sandii and the Sunsetz, Sheena & The Rokkets, and Chris Mosdell & The Javelin Opera from his defining recording Equasian.


The film was privately screened in Tokyo June 18, 2009 to an audience of film distributors, music industry insiders, artists and celebrities.


  1. The Internet Movie Database
  2. Hanko Stamp
  3. Mosdell's hanko reference in the film's trailer
  4. Ink Music website

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