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Japanese Horror Visual Aesthetics

Satoshi Kon

"Film director, animator, screenwriter and manga artist from Sapporo, Hokkaidō" (Wikipedia, 2020) 

Who is Satoshi Kon?

Kon was a director born in Hokkaido, Japan in 1963. He passed away from pancreatic cancer in 2010. He is known for directing groundbreaking films such as Perfect Blue, Paprika, and Millennium Actress. In spite of his relatively short career, his works are remembered for their "biting social commentary, fantastical dreamscapes, and glimpses of his vision that people live in multiple realities" (Sparks, 2020). Though his works are not explicitly viewed as horror films, his films have influenced the anime and film industry in all genres. Inception is a great example from the Western world  (Schley, 2020).

Satoshi Kon's Otaku: The Dangers of Technological Fantasy

An in-depth look at a few of Kon's work through the years

McAndrew's article delves deep into some of Kon's work as it pertains to the "dangers of technological fantasy" (McAndrew, 2014). Specifically, this article looks at the origin of the Japanese word "otaku," the cultural evolution of the word's meaning in Japanese and American culture, and Kon's take on "otaku" individuals in his films. Many of Kon's contemporaries view him as being beyond his time and argue that his themes relating to technology and media culture are more representative of today's world than when they first debuted. 

Interview with Satoshi Kon | Perfect Blue (1997)

Film Director Satoshi Kon Interview on his 1997 hit movie Perfect Blue. (metadata link)

This interview with Satoshi Kon took place in 1997. This ten-minute interview showcases his main concerns, struggles, and focus on directing his first cinematic hit movie, Perfect Blue. This interview has English subtitles.

For those unfamilar with the story of Perfect Blue, the film features "Mima Kirigoe, a member of a Japanese idol group, who retires from music to pursue an acting career. As she becomes a victim of stalking, gruesome murders begin to occur, and Mima starts to lose her grip on reality. Like much of Kon's later work, such as Paprika, the film deals with the blurring of the lines between fantasy and reality in contemporary Japan" (Wikipedia, 2020).


An in-depth video essay about Satoshi's Kon work (metadata link)

Grab your popcorn folks! YouTuber STEVEM created a 54 minute video essay discussing Satoshi Kon's career, life, and the "biggest problem that came from that" from a retrospective perspective (STEVEM, 2020).

Satoshi Kon Interview - Paranoia Agent (2004)

A 2004 interview with director and writer Satoshi Kon. (metadata link)

This short 5 minute interview is an extra from the UK DVD special features of Paranoia Agent. For context, Paranoia Agent was a 2004 television series where director and writer Satoshi Kon told a story "about a social phenomenon in Musashino, Tokyo caused by a juvenile serial assailant named Lil' Slugger (the English equivalent to Shōnen Bat, which translates to "Bat Boy"). As each character becomes the focus of the story, details are revealed about their secret lives and the truth about Lil' Slugger." (Wikipedia 2020).

Midnight Eye Interview: Satoshi Kon

Reviewer Tom Mes interviews film director Satoshi Kon about the themes, characters, and success of his 1997 critically acclaimed film Perfect Blue. This interview covers questions like Kon's reaction to the success and longevity of Perfect Blue, the differences between the film and the novel, and how Kon's life experiences affected the film's development and direction. Anyone who is a fan of Kon's work or merely interested in understanding his mindset will find this interview a compelling read.

A Satoshi Kon interview about his work on Perfect Blue in 2002

                              Perfect Blue Movie Image Stills, Production/Interview Notes, Promotional Material

Perfect Blue Movie Promotional Image from the Mark Schilling Collection

Image Stills from the 1997 anime film Perfect Blue from the Mark Schilling Collection

Production & Interview Notes about Perfect Blue from the Mark Schilling Collection

A set of images (relating to promotion or editoral notes) found in the Mark Schilling collection concerning Satoshi Kon and one of his most famous films, Perfect Blue