The Japan Information & Culture Center (JICC), Embassy of Japan and the National Museum of Asian Art have teamed up to present a retrospective of the influential anime director Satoshi Kon, including a new documentary about his life and work! The legendary Japanese animator passed away suddenly at the peak of his career leaving behind a dazzling collection of films that continue to fascinate audiences from around the world.

To commemorate Kon’s achievements in Japanese cinema and animation, we are bringing back all of his well-loved titles this spring! The retrospective spring series will end with a special US screening of Satoshi Kon: The Illusionist, a 2021 documentary film directed by French filmmaker Pascal-Alex Vincent featuring interviews with animators, voice actors, producers, directors, and writers who worked with Kon during his career.

Five virtual weekend screenings will be held throughout the cherry blossom season
in Washington DC during March 26th to April 10th, 2022.

JICC Film Series

Since 2006, the JICC has been organizing free Japanese film screenings in the DMV area. We are so proud to offer a diverse monthly film program and a fun way to engage with Japanese arts & culture! From award-winning classics to exciting new works from rising auteurs, please check out the many other titles from both of our J-Film and Animezing! series in our Event Archive.

  • DATE





  • MARCH 17 2022

  • Doubles and Composites: How Satoshi Kon Animates the Self

    with Dr. Thomas Lamarre

  • Special Lecture
    Hosted on Zoom
  • The animated films of Satoshi Kon are often praised for the depth of psychological portrayals. But how is a sense of psychological depth produced in animation?

    To answer this question, noted anime expert Dr. Thomas Lamarre proposes a closer look at the production of doubles in Kon’s 2006 film Paprika in order to situate the distinctiveness of his animation style.

    Dr. Lamarre will focus particularly on Kon's use of techniques of compositing to generate doubles of characters, in conjunction with techniques of framing inspired by the art of manga. A closer look at these animation techniques will provide insight into Kon’s use of doubles to “animate the self” in a manner that makes him a pioneer of the mind-game film.

  • STARTS 3/26 ENDS 4/10

  • Perfect Blue


  • Drama,
    Mystery, Thriller
  • This iconic psychological thriller has frequently been hailed as one of the most important animated films of all time! Intended for mature audiences.
    Description adapted from GKIDS.

    In legendary anime director Satoshi Kon’s groundbreaking first feature, rising pop star Mima has quit singing to pursue a career as an actress and model, but her fans aren’t ready to see her go. Encouraged by her managers, Mima takes on a recurring role on a popular TV show, when suddenly her handlers and collaborators begin turning up murdered.

    Harboring feelings of guilt and haunted by visions of her former self, Mima’s reality and fantasy meld into a frenzied paranoia. As her stalker closes in both in person and online, the threat he poses is more real than even Mima knows.

  • STARTS 3/26 ENDS 4/10

  • Millennium Actress

  • Drama, Fantasy,
  • Experience the gorgeous new restoration of what many believe to be Satoshi Kon’s (Perfect Blue, Paprika, Tokyo Godfathers) greatest work, Millennium Actress!

    When the legendary Ginei Studios shuts down, filmmaker Genya Tachibana and his assistant are tasked with interviewing its reclusive star, Chiyoko Fujiwara, who retired from the spotlight thirty years prior. As Chiyoko recounts her career, Genya and his crew are literally pulled into her memories, where they witness her chance encounter with a mysterious man on the run from the police.

    Despite never knowing his name or his face, Chiyoko relentlessly pursues the man in a seamless blend of reality and memory that only Satoshi Kon could deliver. Boasting countless awards, including the Grand Prize in the Japan Media Arts Festival—which it shared with Hayao Miyazaki's Spirited AwayMillennium Actress is a must-see for anime fans of all ages.

  • STARTS 3/26 ENDS 4/10

  • Tokyo Godfathers

  • Comedy, Family,
  • Satoshi Kon’s third feature that was hailed by Roger Ebert as “harrowing and heartwarming.”
    Description adapted from Sony Pictures Entertainment.

    In modern-day Tokyo, three homeless people's lives are changed forever when they discover a baby girl at a garbage dump on Christmas Eve. As the new year fast approaches, these three forgotten members of society band together to solve the mystery of the abandoned child and the fate of her parents.

    Along the way, encounters with seemingly unrelated events and people force them to confront their own haunted pasts as they learn to face their future together.

  • STARTS 3/26 ENDS 4/10

  • Paprika


  • Fantasy,
    Sci-Fi, Thriller
  • Prepare to enter the realm of fantasy and imagination—where reality and dreams collide in a kaleidoscopic mindscape of sheer visual genius! Liam Lacey of the Globe and Mail calls Satoshi Kon’s final feature “a creatively dizzying and visually dazzling allegory about alternative realities.”

    This magical tale centers on a revolutionary machine that allows scientists to enter and record a subject's dreams. After being stolen, a fearless detective and brilliant therapist join forces in this gripping anime thriller to recover the device before it falls into the hands of a "dream terrorist."

  • STARTS 3/26 ENDS 4/10

  • Satoshi Kon:
    The Illusionist

    今敏 夢みる人

  • Documentary
  • “An intoxicating celebration of an astonishing talent cruelly cut down in his prime, Vincent's film serves as an enthusiastic eulogy for long-time fans, but also as a tantalising eye-opener to the as-yet uninitiated.” (James Marsh, South China Morning Post).

    This documentary celebrates the legacy and influence of Satoshi Kon’s work, both in Japan and abroad. It features interviews with fellow anime directors including Mamoru Oshii (Ghost in the Shell) and Mamoru Hosoda (The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, Belle), as well as overseas admirers such as Darren Aronofsky (who included an homage to Kon in Requiem for a Dream) and Rodney Rothman (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse).

Co-Presented With

  • The Smithsonian's National Museum of Asian Art
  • National Cherry Blossom Festival