Satoshi Kon, the acclaimed director of a number of Japan’s contemporary animated features such as “Tokyo Godfathers” and the anime series “Paranoia Agent,” passed away on Aug. 24 in his home in Tokyo. He had been diagnosed with an advanced case of pancreatic cancer a few months earlier in May. Kon was 46.

He did not reveal his diagnosis to the public, and his death was seen as terribly sudden by his fans. He was hospitalized on Tanabata (July 7), and was expected to only have a few days or weeks to live.

Kon wrote a long farewell letter to his friends, family and fans on his blog, detailed his failing health and his thoughts on awaiting death inside a hospital room. He accepted his death, that it was “something that could not be helped,” but yearned to meet with people close to him before he went. The fact that it would be the last time he would meet them made it hard for him to tell anyone, and thus he could not tell his friends or family of his imminent death.

He spent his last days confiding with his closest friends and family, including his parents and his co-worker Masao Maruyama (a film producer and the first man to mention on his Twitter account Kon’s death).

Kon’s life works are known across the world for their fantastic imagery that often transcends the literary culture of Japan. His works acknowledged filmmakers around the world, and his films in turn inspired many others. Works such as the psychological thriller “Perfect Blue” influenced Darren Aronofsky’s “Requiem for a Dream.” Many critics note the similarities of Christopher Nolan’s “Inception” to Kon’s “Paprika.”

2020 Japanese Culture Guide

2020 Japanese Culture Guide

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