Masahiro Sakurai On Late Nintendo President Satoru Iwata's Funeral
The wake and funeral of former Nintendo president Satoru Iwata was held on July 16 and 17, and Kirby and Smash Bros. creator Masahiro Sakurai (a colleague and close friend of Iwata) has spoken about the experience and his personal grief in his column for Weekly Famitsu.
At the funeral (which was attended by thousands of friends, family members, supporters and fans), Sakurai occupied one of the few guest seats, which are reserved for close friends of the deceased. Sakurai, who had previously written about who Iwata was following his death, wrote of his experience at the funeral: “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.”
However, during the ceremony Sakurai found himself unable to look away from the casket. “Inside there was the still body of Mr. Iwata.”
“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.”
At the end of the service, guests offer incense and are then permitted to leave, however, Sakurai chose to stay behind with his friend: “As this was the last time I would be with Mr. Iwata, I wanted to remain there as long as I could.”
“Many people, especially those close to him, spoke of how the realisation that they would never be able to see Mr. Iwata gain just hadn’t sunk in. I feel the same way.”
Sakurai's closing words were concerned with continuing the work he and Iwata were known for, rather than giving into grief:
"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."