TOKYO - Acclaimed Japanese animated film director Satoshi Kon, known for "Tokyo Godfathers," "Millennium Actress" and other prize-winning movies, has died of pancreatic cancer. He was 46.
Considered one of Japan's most exciting directors of animated films, or "anime," Kon was born in 1963 on the island of Hokkaido and debuted as a comic book artist at age 23 while still an art student at Musashino Art University near Tokyo. He began making animated films about 1990, establishing a style that blurred the boundaries of reality and fantasy.
Kon died Tuesday, his wife Kyoko said.
In his Oscar-nominated 2003 film "Tokyo Godfathers," loosely based on the 1948 John Ford movie "3 Godfathers," Kon featured three homeless people instead of three cowboys, breaking with the clean and ritzy image of the Japanese capital. Kon's characters - a drag queen, a runaway high school girl and a former professional bicycle racer - pick up an abandoned infant from a garbage dump on Christmas Day and set out to find its parents.