Thursday, August 26, 2010

Satoshi Kon, 1963-2010

Japan Society remembers Satoshi Kon (originally at
We would like to pay our respects to visionary Japanese animation director Satoshi Kon, who passed away on the morning of August 24 from pancreatic cancer. On that occasion, we wish to celebrate the exceptional body of work he leaves to posterity: his four feature films, Perfect Blue (1997), Millennium Actress (2001), Tokyo Godfathers (2003) and Paprika (2006), which was screened as part of the KRAZY! exhibition at Japan Society last year, and the 13-episode television series "Paranoia Agent" (2004). His thought-provoking, innovative works were admired both inside and outside anime circles.

Satoshi Kon was 46 years old and was still working on a fifth film project (his first children’s feature) titled The Dream Machine, which he had described as “a road movie for robots”. The news of his death started off as a rumor on Twitter in the early hours of Wednesday morning when animation producer Yasuhiro Takeda (and founding member of Gainax) posted a cursory note on the micro-blogging website. First met with incredulity, the rumor spread like wildfire and was finally confirmed by Masao Maruyama, Kon’s producer and president of the Madhouse animation studio, which produced all the master’s works and apparently still plans to complete his last film.

Kon’s dark but dazzling creations were at the crossroads of fundamentally different literary and visual traditions, offering complex meta-narratives that covered a wide spectrum of socio-realistic subjects, and always transcending genre conventions and limitations.

From his directorial debut, Perfect Blue, a chilling thriller about a pop-star-turned-actress who gradually loses her grip on reality while under siege by a mysterious and murderous stalker, to Paprika, the dizzying tale of a dream detective (it premiered at the Venice Film Festival among films by prestigious directors like Johnnie To, Jia Zhangke, Tsai Ming-liang, Apichatpong Weerasethakul and his former mentor Katsuhiro Otomo), Kon had deservedly gained international recognition as an artist and will live on through his art.

His final message, posted by his widow on his website, concludes with the following words:

“With feelings of gratitude for all that is good in this world, I put down my pen.

Well, I’ll be leaving now.

Satoshi Kon"
Anime News Network has Kon's final correspondences. He was also memorialized today by The New York Times.


Cat Soup said...

I'm in tears right now. Rest in peace dear Satoshi. Your work will live on in our hearts.

Anonymous said...

One of my favorites. Still young. He will be missed, but his legacy is sublime.