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Roger Walch (*1965) is a Swiss born filmmaker who has been living in Kyoto (Japan) for more than 12 years. He is the head of film and video production company Rowmuse Films. After having obtained a Masters degree in Japanese Studies and Social Anthropology from the University of Zurich, he studied 16mm filmmaking with Japanese director Katsu Kanai at the Image Forum Institute in Tokyo. Roger directed his first short-film "Yuwaku 1" in 2002. "Yuwaku 2" (21 min) was nominated for the Best Picture Award at the CO2 Short-Film Festival 2005 in Osaka. The documentary film "Even a large River starts with a Drop of Water" won the Friendship Prize at the International Documentary Film Festival of the Aichi Expo 2005 in Japan and was broadcasted by Japanese and Swiss TV stations. In 2006 Roger was invited to show his video "Teahouse of a Homeless Prince" at the Festival du The (Tea Festival) in Paris, France. In 2007 he was commissioned to make a documentary about Japanese photographer Iwaki Tadao ("Timetunnel of the Heart", 30 min). Roger finished a 63 minute long narrative feature film called Tengu (starring Ted Taylor, Mimori Sento and legendary Japanese actor/singer Kan Mikami) in early 2009. Apart from being a filmmaker and film producer, Roger is a well-versed teacher of Japanese culture and a Jazz pianist. Speaking fluent Japanese, he was a part-time commentator for the Fuji TV show Nippon@World. Homepage:


Other languages or subtitles: 
Production country: 
Running time (In minutes): 
Japanese Films
Student film: 
Production year: 
June, 2009
Film Credits
About the Director: 

Roger Walch (*1965) is a Swiss born filmmaker who has been living in Kyoto (Japan) for more than 12 years.

Film director: 
Roger Walch
Roger Walch
Roger Walch
Roger Walch
Film photographer: 
Yoshinobu Hayano
Tetsuji Hayashi
Kan Mikami (Guitar, Vocals), Takatora Kawamoto (Shamisen), Silvain Kyokusai Guignard (Biwa lute), Taro Matsumoto (Shakuhachi), Shino Nagasaka (Double Bass), Kumiko Itoyama (Double Bass), Roger Walch (Piano)
Yoshiko Matsuda
Ryuho Sakai
Cast 1: 
Ted Taylor
Cast 2: 
Kan Mikami
Cast 3: 
Mimori Sento
Cast 4: 
Sakiko Ikegami
Film synopsis: 
David (Ted Taylor) comes to Japan for one week to study traditional legends. He is supposed to meet Professor Ozawa, a leading expert in the field. But when he arrives, he gets picked up by Ozawa's two female assistants, Sanae (Mimori Sento) and Manami (Sakiko Ikegami). They bring him to a traditional guest-house and accompany him during his stay. A strange man in the bath house (Kan Mikami) tells David about the local Tengu legend. Tengu are a class of well known monster-spirits with a long nose and a red face who live in the Japanese forests and mountains. David is immediately fascinated. But the more he finds out about the Tengu, the more he is drawn into his own past-life. As a matter of fact some Tengu legends can be connected to shipwrecked foreigners who were forced to live in hiding in the Japanese mountains during Japan's Sakoku (closed country) era (1637 - 1853). Ultimately, "Tengu" is the story of a Westerner who becomes the origin of a famous Japanese legend.
Budget Range: 
Between $100 000 and $10 000
Technical infos
Technical infos
Original Film Format: 
Film Sound: 
Dolby A
Festival Selection, Awards...
Festival selection, awards or citation already received and other comments... :
Already selected in a Festival?: 
Film reviews: 
Red-faced and large-nosed, the Tengu is a Japanese nature spirit, dwelling in remote forests, eating raw meat, and teaching fighting skills to the famous warriors of history. Interestingly, there is speculation that the Tengu stories were derived from encounters with ship-wrecked European sailors, forced into hiding during Japan’s period of isolation. It is this aspect of the myth that filmmaker Roger Walch seizes in a new hour-length feature film, and turns into an exploration of the modern ex-pat experience, as well as the power of dreams, mask and mystery in everyday life. David (Ted Taylor), a student of Japanese legends, comes to Japan to meet the mysterious Professor Ozawa. But he never does – he is met by his assistant (Sakiko Ikegami), and taken to a quiet forest ryokan run by the alluring Sanae (Mimori Sento). At the station on the way there, the camera pans across three topless figures in fox-spirit masks, waiting alongside David, yet invisible to him. So begins a masterful creation of a dual reality – David’s mundane introduction to Japanese customs and life, and a larger world of spirits, demons and dreams in which he obliviously moves. The two worlds begin to intersect as it becomes increasingly clear that Professor Ozawa is not going to show, and David is fatefully enchanted by the presence of Sanae. In Walch’s previous film, Yuwaku 3, he explored a similar theme of the innocent abroad, when a hapless English teacher is entrapped into involuntary donating his organs to an ailing Kyoto man. That movie effectively combined humour and malice, and Tengu shares its thickening atmosphere of ‘something’s happening here but you don’t know what it is’ – a familiar feeling to many a foreigner who has lingered on these shores. It is clearly an aspect of cross-cultural life that Walch, a Kyoto resident from Switzerland, wants to explore, but here he mixes it with a sophisticated extra dimension – the idea that dreams and collective myths have a greater truth than mundane experience. The use of traditional masks in the movie is quite brilliant – powerfully telling the story while effortlessly carrying its themes. Tengu – shot on a low budget and using both professional and amateur actors and crew – could be better paced in its opening scenes, and the occasional dialogue is clunky, but the script, the art design, the use of settings and the cinematography all show that Walch is a writer / director with impressive skills, and original ideas. A must-see for people interested in local art forged by the clash of East with West. (Reviewed by Australian Film Critic Miles Hitchcock)
Film distribution
Sales/distribution name: 
Rowmuse Films
38 Shimofusa-cho, Koyama, Kita-ku, Kyoto 603-8151 (Japan)
Publicity Infos
Publicity contact: 
Rowmuse Films
publicity address: 
38 Shimofusa-cho, Koyama, Kita-ku, Kyoto 603-8151 (Japan)
Publicity contact email: 
Trailer availble: 
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(Rowmuse Films)



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