In early 2012, art directors Dice Tsutsumi and Robert Kondo found themselves searching for ways to expand upon their filmmaking experience in Pixar’s art department. They decided to write and direct an independent animated short film together. The film, The Dam Keeper, was an 18-minute short that garnered an Academy Award Nomination. Upon completing the film, they found the experience of building the team and film life-changing, and the two artists found themselves reinvestigating their current path. They began to pursue answers to the question, “why?” related to their ambitions and dreams. The search for an answer led the two away from the comfort of Pixar’s gates to challenge themselves with the unfamiliar, to continue on the path of learning. In July 2014, Dice and Robert founded Tonko House as a place to nurture growth while telling stories for the world.
Originally from Southern California, Robert Kondo graduated with a degree in illustration from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. Robert landed his dream job as a sketch artist at Pixar on their 2006 release Ratatouille. While at Pixar, his film credits included Sets Art Director for Ratatouille, Toy Story 3, and most recently Monsters University and Production Designer on two shorts. In July, 2014, Robert left Pixar to start Tonko House, where everyday is a challenge and an adventure.
Daisuke “Dice” Tsutsumi, originally from Japan, is a filmmaker, painter and philanthropist. A graduate from The School of Visual Arts in New York, Dice has worked as a visual development/color key artist at Blue Sky Studios on Ice Age, Robots and Horton Hears a Who! His credits at Pixar Animation include Lighting Art Director for Toy Story 3 and Monsters University. Dice is passionate about charity work and spearheaded both The Totoro Forest Project and Sketchtravel.
Zen plays a vital role at Tonko House as an anchor between his partners Dice and Robert in pursuit of sustainable content business through Tonko House’s signature storytelling. Originally from Japan, Zen graduated from UC Berkeley as a comparative literature major, and has a diverse business background spanning marketing, video production, and restaurant management in bilingual and bicultural environments. Additionally, as a trained carpenter and an ordained monk, Zen brings a unique flavor to the culture of Tonko House.