Anime Biography: Satoshi Kon

Satoshi Kon was born on October 12, 1963, and he came from Kushiro, Hokkaido, Japan. He is the younger brother of guitarist and studio musician Tsuyoshi Kon.

Kon attended Musashino Art University, where he graduated from the Graphic Design course in 1982.  He graduated from college in 1987.

While he was in college, Kon made his debut as a manga artist. In 1984, his short manga Toriko earned a runner-up spot in the 10th Annual Tetsuya Chiba Awards held by Young Magazine.

In 1990, Kon wrote a one-volume manga titled Kaikisen. He also wrote the script for Katsuhiro Otomo’s live-action film, World Apartment Horror.

Kon got his start in the anime industry in 1991, when he worked as an animator and layout artist for the anime film, Roujin Z. He also worked as a supervisor for Mamoru Oshii’s Patlabor 2: The Movie. In 1993, Kon wrote and co-produced the fifth episode of the JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure OVA.

In 1994, Kon worked on the Seraphim: 266,613,336 Wings with Otomo, which was published in Anuimage in 1994.

In 1995, Kon worked as a scriptwriter, layout artist and art director for “Magnetic Rose,” the first of three short films in the Memories anthology film that was directed by Otomo.

In 1997, Kon made his anime directorial debut with Perfect Blue. The production was originally intended to be an original video animation, but it was turned into a feature film in the middle of production. After Perfect Blue, Kon went on to direct Millennium Actress, Tokyo Godfathers, Paprika, and the television series Paranoia Agent.

Kon teamed up with Otomo to create the 2007 NHK television production Ani*Kuri15. Kon created a short for this production titled, “Ohayo.” That same year, Kon helped to establish the Japan Animation Creators Association (JAniCA), and served as a member.

All of Kon’s work as an anime director was made by Studio Madhouse, where he served as a staff director, alongside Rintaro and Yoshiaki Kawajiri. Kon’s work has a strong emphasis on the psychological well-being of his characters. In Tokyo Gofathers, he explored themes of personal guilt, loss, and suicidal ideation. In films such as Paprika and Millennium Actress, Kon steps between the boundaries of fantasy and reality (such as breaking the fourth wall), and he has characters performing actions that are impossible in the real world.

In addition to writing “Magnetic Rose” for Memories, Kon also wrote the screenplays for the films Millennium Actress, Tokyo Godfathers, and Paprika. Kon also contributed as an animator on the films Perfect Blue, Millennium Actress, and Tokyo Godfathers.

Sadly, Satoshi Kon passed away on August 23, 2010 at the age of 46.  After his death, statements posted by Kyoko Kon (Satoshi Kon’s wife) and the Madhouse studio, said that the cause of his death was pancreatic cancer.

Additional post about Satoshi Kon:

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