RIP Satoshi Kon


Over on the Submitterator, Boing Boing reader "gnp" pointed us to UK Anime Network's report that famed anime director Satoshi Kon (今 敏) has died. He was 47 46. (As one commenter pointed out, Kon's birthday wasn't until October. Earlier reports had stated he was 47 at his time of death.)

I wrote about Kon's sole TV creation, the short, but brilliant series Paranoia Agent, for LA Weekly's Style Council. Twitter has been abuzz regarding the sad news. There have been some lovely tributes to Kon across the social media network. Here are a few:

"Satoshi Kon has passed away at age 47. He created Paranoia Agent and Paprika. He was the Fellini of Anime." —@TheHeartSleeves

"It's not that anime will never be the same with Satoshi Kon gone. It's now much more likely that anime will always be the same."—@jbetteridge

"You shall be missed, Satoshi Kon, but more than that, you shall be remembered."—@tehnominator

" RIP Satoshi Kon. One of the greatest anime directors of all time. A man who had an infinite amount to say, and no time at all to say it."—@ Zhirzzh

"RIP Satoshi Kon. The maker of films we aspire to make."—@AWFstudio


  1. Oh, definitely sad – his work was definitely some of the most interesting of the medium.

  2. Imperfect but always getting better. Perfect Blue, Paprika, and Paranoia Agent were truly brilliant.
    In his memory I recommend watching ep 8 of Paranoia Agent:

    A self contained story and the blackest comedy I’ve ever seen.

  3. Damn, that sucks. I love his work, having stood out as more cerebral than most, he will be greatly missed.

  4. His birthday was October 12, 1963. Since his birthday had not quite rolled around this year, I think Wikipedia’s statement that he died at the age of 46 is correct.

  5. He won’t be forgotten. And as the Hollywood movie ‘Inception’ may have been a derivative of his ‘Paprika’, his inspirations will become future creations.’Live for yourself, and you live in vain, live for others, and you’ll live again’

  6. He was better known for his more head-trippy films, but I always thought that Tokyo Godfathers was absolutely moving and charming.

  7. Wikipedia says it was pancreatic cancer that got him. Very unfortunate.

    Rather have seen Little Slugger get him.

    This farewell is too soon. R.I.P. Satoshi.

  8. When Paprika came out it blew my mind. I played it over and over again. He is the one animator I hoped so much for. And now I am so unhappy that he is gone.

  9. MADHOUSE’s Masao Maruyama has said that he will make sure that Kon’s film-in-progress, “Yume-Miru Kikai” (Machine Dream) will be completed no matter what it takes. Kon’s widow Kyouko has taken over his production company to make sure it happens, as well.

  10. Man, that sucks. Poor guy, and my feelings go out to his family.

    The dude was always one I held up to the anime-haters as being really true artistry, an example of how animation can be deeply meaningful. Gonna go rock out on Paranoia Agent this weekend…

  11. I can’t believe that we lost Satoshi Kon today. It just tears me up inside. Take Kim Jong Ill, take Ozaka Ichirou, take the drunk bastard that pushed a Tokyo university professor into the line of a train yesterday… What more proof do you need that there is no justice in the universe?

    But what perhaps kills me most is the loss of a director like Kon who had that exceptional “Kubrickian” style. His films were few and far between, but each one brilliantly executed as other giants of the medium – Hitchcock, Kubrick, or Lynch themselves. He was an artist and not nearly appreciated enough in his time. May history bless and vindicate you Kon-Kantoku.

    Gomeifuku wo oinori shimasu.

  12. Kon’s age is 47–but only in Japan. For the Japanese, you’re one year old the day you’re born. In the West, you’re not one year old until you’ve completed your first year. Therefore, Kon was 46 to us here.

    BTW, let’s not forget Tokyo Godfathers, Kon’s love letter to his city. That one took you through some wonderful emotional highs and tear-jerking lows. He will be missed!

    1. I don’t remember if thats true in China or Korea but it’s definitely not true in Japan. Might have been a long time ago, but it’s definitely nothing that exists in Japanese society today.

  13. I remember that first time I stumbled upon Paranoia Agent on late night Adult Swim. I was never really a fan of most Anime, but this was so well written, and so well paced and so mindbogglingly creepy that I became a life long fan of Satoshi Kon in about ten minutes.

    He was the next step up in the evolution of his art form. Possibly the next Hayao Miyazaki. His films showed the visual imagination that inspired Jean Cocteau and Fellini.

    I am humbled by his work and deeply saddened in a selfish way for all the work that will never be.

  14. The age-vs.-birthday may be a cultural thing, as in Japanese culture, birthdays are counted differently:


    In the older system in Japan the first year is not a full calendar year. So when you are born, you are called one year old, and then on the next Jan. 1st you are called a year older. For example, if a baby is born on Dec 1st, it is called one year old. One month later, on Jan 1st, the baby is now ’2 years old’, or really, in your second year.

  15. So much anime these days is generic and derivative, but never Kon’s work. His films are all so unique, and that is what I will miss most.

  16. I remember in my early adolescent days watching Perfect Blue on VHS and being utterly floored.. can’t believe that was some 10 years ago.

    So many followers and trend-types in anime, film, and in general nowadays.. Kon, on the other hand, was a rare visionary. RIP

  17. Working nights means that I’m forever late to these threads. I was *so* sure I was getting trolled when I first heard, and then… damn.

    46 is too young, and this guy was way too good. What a damn shame.

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