In memory of Satoshi Kon: Japan pays tribute to a master
A still from Satoshi Kon's "Milennium Actress."
September 22nd, 2011
03:54 PM ET

In memory of Satoshi Kon: Japan pays tribute to a master

It's been just over a year since the death of Satoshi Kon, one of Japan's grand masters of animation.

Famous for films including "Millennium Actress", a story of a renowned actress and the story of her life across her films, "Paprika", a futuristic fantasy that dabbled in dreams and the ability to enter the subconscious mind, and "Perfect Blue", a psychological thriller about a pop star who descends into Hitchcock-flavored madness, Kon was courageous in his storytelling, taking an unflinching look at worlds both fantastic and commonplace.

Bringing broad, memorable characters to life and leading them down impossibly twisting pathways was Kon's specialty. With the help of animation studio Madhouse, Kon was able to bring his vision of these unforgettable stories to the world. 

His passing on August 24th, 2010, was met with heavy hearts by many in the animation community. It was no surprise - we hoped there was much more to come.

Japan celebrates the animator's legacy with a fitting tribute: "Millenium Souvenir," an event showcasing a collection of art and sketches that included rare pieces which Kon personally gathered to be collected for a limited edition box set of artwork. He wrote descriptions for each of the illustrations as well, and there are only 300 sets available of the box set called "Satoshi Kon Art Works Box".

The memorial event was held in August at the Shinjuku Ophthalmologist Gallery from August 12th-24th, drawing over 6,000 visitors during the week it was showcased. Kon's widow thanked the visitors via a video post on his official website, happy to see so many fans paying their respects. If you weren't lucky enough to find your way over the Shinjuku to see this brilliant tribute to the late animator, videos and slideshows of the art on display are now popping up all over the web, and are also available at Kon's website in video form.

A video that tours the gallery is available on Kon's website, showing off the stunning expanse of Kon's imagination in the form of prints, sketches, collectibles from his films and more. It's humbling to see the art of a master collected in one place, and the faces of the event's attendees reflect a sense of awe to be near art of such greatness. A quiet, consistent procession of over 6,000 visitors came and went to be near the work and to honor the artist's memory.

Kon may be gone, but it's evident in the reaction to an event like this that his impact on the animation world will not be easily forgotten. When speaking to Kon's memory in an entry about the gallery, a writer on his blog expressed his gratitude to the artist and wished his spirit well, saying only a few simple words to express a powerful emotion.

"Goodbye. Thank you. Let's meet again."

soundoff (One Response)
  1. Salsabila

    I beg to dieffr. With regard to the Bowie original, your criteria for a song's greatness seems to require textual brilliance, which would preclude much of the early Beatles catalog, perhaps entire genres of music (classical? ambient? Gee that ambient stuff really drones on incessantly . . . ). Heroes rocks on a sonic plane that still makes me sit up and listen. Must be the Eno orchestration that I respond to. To think of it, it is quite amazing that a song with such avant-minimalist influences could have scored so high on the charts. Pop music meets the avant garde in an unlikely place. Respect its place.

    February 1, 2012 at 1:39 am |