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KONDO, Yoshifumi (1950-1998)
Sankei Sports News Report

[Picture of Shizuku, character from _Whisper of the Heart_, crying.]
Mr. Yoshifumi Kondo, the director of "Whisper of the Heart" passed away of an aneurysm at 47 on January 21st. He was also known as a supervising animator of "Mononoke Hime". His funeral was held on the 23rd (ed: of January, 1988), at Zenryuuji Temple in Kiyose, Tokyo. Mr. Hayao Miyazaki cried, saying "I will never forget you."

After graduating from high school, Mr. Kondo chose animation which he loved very much as his life's work. In 1972, he met two directors, Mr. Miyazaki and Mr. Takahata, while working on "Lupin III". Since then, he had been a part of the creating team for the "Miyazaki world".

He worked as a supervising animator for films such as "Grave of the Fireflies", "Kiki's Delivery Service", and "Only Yesterday". He worked as a supporting staff behind the scenes, but "If we call Mr. Miyazaki 'Dynamic', Mr. Kondo was 'Calm'", according to a staff member.

Mr. Miyazaki, who has lost his "right arm", lost his usual grand smile. He was grief-stricken when he read the eulogy to Mr. Kondo. His voice was shaken when he said, "I'm a kind of person who would abandon a sinking ship, but Kon-Chan was a kind of person who chooses to die with the people at the bottom of the ship. Maybe you didn't want to be dragged around by me any longer...You were such a patient one, like waiting silently for the snow to melt. Why, at this time, have you gone before me?"

Also, Mr. Takahata said that "If it were not for your great ability and intense talent and resolution, we wouldn't have had "Grave" nor "Only Yesterday"". Both of the two great masters of anime mourned for his death.

Beside being a famous animator, Mr. Kondo was seriously involved with his community work. He planned a Bon dance party, and recently, he went to Europe to study the situation about garbage. In his local community, Kiyose, he was known as "Kon-Chan". For his funeral, among the about 400 people who came to pay respect to him, there were people from Kiyose, along with the people from the anime industry, such as Mr. Tokuma, the president of Tokuma Publishing, and Mr. Hideaki Anno, the creator of "Evangelion".

Translation provided by Ryoko Toyama.

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