Super Smash Bros. Creator Speaks on Iwata’s Funeral
The former Nintendo President Satoru Iwata's funeral took place two weeks ago during a two-day-long ceremony that was attended by thousands of friends, family members, supporters and fans. Near the front of these crowds was Iwata's longtime friend, Masahiro Sakurai, who had been working with Iwata since the early '90s back in HAL Laboratory. Iwata was actually one of the people who interviewed Sakurai when he was trying to get a job there. In a column written in Famitsu (courtesy of Kotaku), Sakurai described what it was like being honored by Iwata's family having been given one of the few guest seats available, which was reserved for his closest friends and family members in the front row during the funeral service.
“Normally at a place like this, one’s eyes go to the photo [of the deceased]. The smiling face of Mr. Iwata surrounded by flowers was a very nice picture.” Sakurai wrote. Nevertheless, Sakurai mentioned that he was unable to stop looking at the casket.
“Inside there was the still body of Mr. Iwata.” Sakurai said. “He was probably dressed in traditional white funeral garb, his glasses removed, and his nose stuffed [with cotton]. And today, his body was going to be burned and reduced to nothing. Mr. Iwata would no longer exist in this world.”
As the funeral's proceedings and traditions were completed, Sakurai mentioned that he didn't want to leave his friend.
"As this was the last time I would be with Mr. Iwata, I wanted to remain there as long as I could," Sakurai added, mentioning that he stayed after the the incense was offered and the guests started to exit. “Many people, especially those close to him, spoke of how the realization that they would never be able to see Mr. Iwata gain just hadn’t sunk in. I feel the same way.”
Sakurai's final comments on Satoru Iwata's funeral will leave readers saddened for his loss, but also hopeful for the future. All the people Iwata influenced will continue on in his honor, whether it be at HAL Laboratory, Nintendo, or Sakurai's new studio, Sora Ltd. Sakurai's words are a reminder that those in the gaming industry shouldn't lose hope and should carry on making products that gamers will enjoy:
In a previous column, I wrote that when someone passes on, for those around them, it’s simply as though a character has been removed from their story, but for the deceased, the entire world has gone away. However, even for other people, Mr. Iwata’s presence was too great to simply call him a character in the story of life.
Mr. Iwata’s world is gone, leaving a massive impression on those around him. Yet, even so, our world continues.
I will not mourn or fall into depression. I will continue to do my work as best as I can. All I can offer is that I complete that which I have to do.
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