A couple of days ago, I wrote about the sad, sad news of Satoshi Kon‘s passing. Kon-san was one of the greatest Anime directors in the world. He worked for the Anime production company Madhouse. Before he died, he composed a farewell letter meant for his blog as a way of saying thank you and actually explaining himself, as if anyone would demand such a thing! His family has posthumously published the letter. I came across it today in a translation by another blogger.
Before giving the link, I’d like to give a warning that if you have no particular interest in the director, or feel that the subject matter is too morbid, don’t press the link! In the post Satoshi Kon writes about how suddenly the cancer developed, about his wish to die at home rather than in a hospital and shares some of his thoughts about leaving his family. The reason I write this post is that while of course the letter is sad, it is not sentimental, and Kon-san himself meant for this to be published. He ends the letter with these lines:
“So, to everyone who stuck with me through this long document, thank you. With my heart full of gratitude for everything good in the world, I’ll put down my pen.
Now excuse me, I have to go”.
The letter is also interesting as it gives us an insight in not only Kon-san’s mindset, but perhaps also what for me seems a wider Japanese mentality, although I’m hesitant to generalize. I perceive a profound sense of duty and also shame not to live long enough to fullfill that duty. When his mother sees him for the last time, she asks his forgiveness “for not bringing you into this world with a stronger body”. But enough of me. The letter can be found here. And I’ll cease my comments now.
On a brighter side, Kon-san also left a list of his 150 favourite films, or films that had influenced him. It is a good list. Of course, I don’t agree with all the choices, but it is nice to see his love of John Ford, Frank Capra, Billy Wilder and quite some cult films. Of Japanese directors, he mentions of course Akira Kurosawa and Yasuhiro Ozu, but also Shohei Imamura and Kon Ichikawa are represented, to mention some. Anyway, the list can be found on the same blog as his letter, in this post.