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Phoenix, Galaxy Express Films' Kon Ichikawa Passes Away (Updated)

posted on by Egan Loo
Pioneering filmmaker won 2 Cannes awards for Kagi, Tokyo Olympiad

Kon Ichikawa, the filmmaker who earned worldwide acclaim with his live-action documentaries and dramas and gained generations of fans with his anime adaptations of manga classics, died of pneumonia at a Tokyo hospital on Wednesday at 1:55 a.m. He was 92.

Ichikawa was born under the name Giichi Ichikawa in Iseshi, a city in the central Japanese province of Mie, on November 20, 1915. He wanted to become a painter during childhood, but changed his mind after seeing one of the first samurai films ever made, Mansaku Itami's Kokushi Muso (1932). The next year, he joined what later became TOHO's Kyoto studio and began working as producer, scriptwriter, animator, and cinematographer. He directed his first film, the puppet-animated Musume Dōjōji (A Girl at Dojo Temple), in 1945. He would then move into live-action films in every genre from comedy to drama and documentaries. In fact, he won three Cannes recognitions for distinctly different films: the tense Kagi (Jury Prize) and Otōto (Special Mention) dramas and the Tokyo Olympiad documentary (Critics Award). He also tackled anti-war themes with the Oscar-nominated Burmese Harp and Fires on the Plain.

Decades later, he would return to his animation roots and help mold two film adaptations of classic manga: 1978's The Phoenix: Chapter of Dawn and 1979's Galaxy Express 999 movie. For Phoenix, he directed and produced the first adaptation of Osamu Tezuka's magnum opus. He then supervised the first film adaptation of Leiji Matsumoto's Galaxy Express 999 manga and anime and co-wrote its script.

Thank you to enjin2000 for the news tip.

Source: Sankei Shimbun

Update: Corrected authorship of Galaxy Express 999.

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