Kondo Yoshifumi San, you passed away so suddenly.
I can not accept such an injustice. We haven't gotten
used to the reality of it yet. When I saw your desk,
Kon-Chan, I just felt that you happen to be away, and
that you'll be sitting there tomorrow as usual.
Still, it's true that you are not coming back any
more, so we must mourn you.
Kondo Yoshifumi San, you had a rare talent. You
were a great animator, character designer, and
supervising animator. You have left many
accomplishments, and was highly acclaimed for your
direction in "Whisper of the Heart" and
"Sorairo no Tane".
Kon-Chan, you used to remember the Don Gabacho's
song in "Hyokkori Houtanjima" as "Even
if today was no good, we still have tomorrow",
changing it into something more positive, from the
original "If today is no good, we'll do it
tomorrow". I used it in "Only
Yesterday". You always wanted to be positive,
and on the side of social justice.
At the studio, you were beginning to assume a
position of leading the entire staff members as a
We have many people here who admire such a
personality of yours and your works. Many young
people have been inspired by your works and chosen
this profession. But you were still 47. It shouldn't
have been the age to reflect. There are many things
you wanted or had to do, in your life and work. Why
did the things turn out this way? Everyone is vexed
and can not help but feel sorry, but, you must be the
one who feels the regret most.
Let me speak of personal matters. Selfishly, all
the memories came back to me when I heard that you
collapsed on the 26th of last month (ed: December,
1997). How much I have depended on you. How much you
have helped me. If it were not for your great talent,
huge efforts, and hard working, and before that, if
you had not decided to work with me, there wouldn't
have been "Grave of Fireflies" or
I noticed you, Kon-Chan, when you did a scene in
"Panda Kopanda, Rainy Circus", where
characters had the breakfast on the roof in the
morning after the flood. It was so care-free, lively,
and shining. You were still 22 years old. You became
better and better in a short time, and after you did
such great work for "Future Boy Conan", I
asked you to work as a character designer and
supervising animator. That was when you were 28 years
We went to the Prince Edward Island together
location hunting (ed: for "Anne of Green
Gables"). Many photograph books about the island
have been published these days, but they don't have a
picture of the Driad's (sp?) Spring, which we saw and
scooped the water with our own hands - we said so and
grinned to each other - when was it? You came to my
house, and we went through many trial-and-errors in
character design. We discarded the sweet girl design
which embodied your love for Anne, and finally
decided on a skinny, large-eyed, almost skeleton-like
Anne. But as the story progressed, the skinny Anne
grew up amazingly to be a cheerful and beautiful
young woman with class, as written in the original
novel. It was very much like your sophisticated
character, Kon-Chan. Your characters such as Anne and
Setsuko in "Grave of the Fireflies"
strongly influenced the anime characters afterward. I
think that you must have been very proud of it,
though you never mentioned anything.
The picture with a feeling, the movement with a
feeling, and the person who can draw such a picture -
Kon-Chan was such a person for me. Every time I
challenged a new task, I trusted your talent,
depended on it, and pulled you into the long hard
journey, selfishly believing that it would make your
talent flourish at the same time, and that you would
get a joy and pride from such a work eventually. When
I think that such hard work might have shortened your
life, I don't know what to do.
When you were young, Kon-Chan, you were so skinny.
You didn't speak much, didn't eat much, and you were
calm. But your animation was so lively. You suffered
from some serious illness, but you looked healthier
these days. Although you were still calm, you began
to speak more, and yet, you listened to others well.
And you were looking for your own new way in the
work, and you were about to step on the new road.
You loved your work, and even after the operation,
you worried about the work, till the end. When I
think of your regrets, I can not possibly find a word
to send you off.
Kon-Chan, I truly thank you for your great work. I
am sure that your work will continue to live, be
loved by people, and influence people.