Highlight text to annotate itX
Hayao Miyazaki (宮崎 駿 Miyazaki Hayao?, born January 5, 1941 ) is a Japanese
film director, animator, manga artist, producer, and screenwriter. Through a
career that has spanned over fifty years, Miyazaki has attained international
acclaim as a maker of anime feature films and, along with Isao Takahata, co-founded
Studio Ghibli, a film and animation studio. The success of Miyazaki's films has
invited comparisons with American animator Walt Disney, British animator Nick
Park and American director Robert Zemeckis.
Born in Bunkyō, Tokyo, Miyazaki began his animation career in 1961, when he
joined Toei Animation. From there, Miyazaki worked as an in-between artist for
Gulliver's Travels Beyond the Moon where he pitched his own ideas that
eventually became the movie's ending. He continued to work in various roles in
the animation industry over the decade until he was able to direct his first
feature film Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro which was released in 1979.
After the success of his next film, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, he co-founded
Studio Ghibli where he continued to produce many feature films until his
temporary retirement in 1997 following Princess Mononoke.
While Miyazaki's films have long enjoyed both commercial and critical success in
Japan, he remained largely unknown to the West until Miramax Films released
Princess Mononoke. Princess Mononoke was the highest-grossing film in Japan—until
it was eclipsed by another 1997 film, Titanic—and the first animated film to win
Picture of the Year at the Japanese Academy Awards. Miyazaki returned to
animation with Spirited Away. The film topped Titanic's sales at the Japanese
box office, also won Picture of the Year at the Japanese Academy Awards and was
the first anime film to win an American Academy Award.
Miyazaki's films often contain recurrent themes like humanity's relationship
with nature and technology, and the difficulty of maintaining a pacifist ethic.
The protagonists of his films are often strong, independent girls or young women.
While two of his films, The Castle of Cagliostro and Castle in the Sky, involve
traditional villains, his other films like Nausicaä and Princess Mononoke
present morally ambiguous antagonists with redeeming qualities. He recently co-wrote
the film The Secret World of Arrietty, which was released in July 2010 in Japan
and February 2012 in the United States.
Miyazaki was born in the town of Akebono-cho in Bunkyō, Tokyo, the second of
four sons born to Katsuji Miyazaki. During World War II, Katsuji was director
of Miyazaki Airplane, owned by his brother (Hayao Miyazaki's uncle), which made
rudders for A6M Zero fighter planes. During this time, Miyazaki drew airplanes
and developed a lifelong fascination with aviation, a penchant that later
manifested as a recurring theme in his films. Miyazaki's mother was a
voracious reader who often questioned socially accepted norms. From 1947 until
1955 his mother underwent treatment for Pott disease. She spent the first few
years mostly in the hospital, but was eventually able to be nursed from home.
During his upbringing, Miyazaki was forced to switch schools several times.
These would impact elements of his films. When Miyazaki was three years old, his
family was forced to evacuate Bunkyō and began school as an evacuee in 1947. At
age nine his family returned home, but the following year he switched to another
American-influenced elementary school. Miyazaki attended Toyotama High School,
and as with many children in postwar Japan, he wanted to become a manga artist.
His talents were limited to things like planes, tanks and battleships; he had an
especially problematic time drawing people. Famous manga artists like Osamu
Tezuka, Tetsuji Fukushima and Sanpei Shirato influenced his early works. To
distance himself from the criticism he expected from following Tezuka's form, he
consciously developed his own style, but was unable to fully shake Tezuka's
influence off until he began studying animation.
During his third year at Toyotama, Miyazaki saw the film Hakujaden (The Tale of
the White Serpent), directed by Taiji Yabushita, animated by Toei Animation
described as "the first-ever Japanese feature length color anime". He "fell in
love" with the movie's heroine and it left a strong impression on him. It was
after this Miyazaki decided to stop his pursuit of being a manga artist and
pursue animation. To become an animator, Miyazaki had to learn to draw the
human figure. After graduating from Toyotama, Miyazaki attended Gakushuin
University and was a member of the university's "Children's Literature research
club," the "closest thing to a comics club in those days." Miyazaki graduated
from Gakushuin in 1963 with degrees in political science and economics.
Early career and Toei Animation
In April 1963, Miyazaki got a job at Toei Animation, working as an in-between
artist on the anime Watchdog Bow Wow (Wanwan Chushingura). He was a leader in a
labor dispute soon after his arrival, becoming chief secretary of Toei's labor
union in 1964. [page needed] He first gained recognition while working as an
in-between artist on the Toei production Gulliver's Travels Beyond the Moon (Garibā
no Uchuu Ryokō) in 1965. He found the original ending to the script
unsatisfactory and pitched his own idea, which became the ending used in the
In 1968 Miyazaki played an important role as chief animator, concept artist, and
scene designer on Hols: Prince of the Sun, a landmark animated film directed by
Isao Takahata, with whom he continued to collaborate for the next three decades.
In Kimio Yabuki's *** in Boots (1969), Miyazaki again provided key animation as
well as designs, storyboards and story ideas for key scenes in the film,
including the climactic chase scene. He also illustrated the manga version of
*** in Boots. Pero, the '*** In Boots' from that film would later received two
sequels from Toei Animation, during the 1970s and he would ultimately become the
studio's mascot, however Miyazaki wasn't involved with any of the sequels.
Shortly thereafter, Miyazaki proposed scenes in the screenplay for Flying
Phantom Ship, in which military tanks would roll into downtown Tokyo and cause
mass hysteria, and was hired to storyboard and animate those scenes. In 1971,
Miyazaki played a decisive role in developing structure, characters and designs
for Animal Treasure Island and Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves (アリババと40匹の盗賊
Aribaba to Yonjūbiki no Tozuku?). He also helped in the storyboarding and key
animating of pivotal scenes in both films.
Miyazaki left Toei in 1971 for Mushi Production, A Pro, Nippon Animation, and
TMS Entertainment where he co-directed six episodes of the first Lupin III
series with Isao Takahata. He also worked as an animator on the World
Masterpiece Theater with Takahata. The two then began pre-production on a Pippi
Longstocking series and drew extensive story boards for it. However, after
traveling to Sweden to conduct research for the film and meet the original
author, Astrid Lindgren, permission was refused to complete the project, and it
was canceled as a result. [page needed]
Miyazaki conceived, wrote, designed and animated two Panda! Go, Panda! shorts
which were directed by Takahata. He also directed Future Boy Conan (1978), an
adaptation of the children's novel The Incredible Tide by Alexander Key. The
main antagonist is the leader of the city-state of Industria who attempts to
revive lost technology. The series also elaborates on the characters and events
in the book, and is an early example of characterizations which recur throughout
Miyazaki's later work: a girl who is in touch with nature, a warrior woman who
appears menacing but is not an antagonist, and a boy who seems destined for the
girl. The series also featured imaginative aircraft designs.
Breakthrough films and Spirited Away
Miyazaki left Nippon Animation in 1979 in the middle of the production of Anne
of Green Gables to direct his first feature anime film The Castle of Cagliostro
(1979), a Lupin III adventure film. During this time, Miyazaki also directed six
episodes of Sherlock Hound, an Italian-Japanese co-production between TMS
Entertainment and the television station RAI, which retold Sherlock Holmes tales
using anthropomorphic animals. These episodes were first broadcast in 1984–85.
Miyazaki's next film, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (Kaze no Tani no
Naushika, 1984), was an adventure film that introduced many of the themes which
recur in later films: a concern with ecology and the human impact on the
environment; a fascination with aircraft and flight; pacifism, including an anti-military
streak; feminism; and morally ambiguous characterizations, especially among
villains. Starring the voices of Sumi Shimamoto, Yōji Matsuda, Iemasa Kayumi,
Gorō Naya and Yoshiko Sakakibara, this was the first film both written and
directed by Miyazaki. He adapted it from his manga series of the same title,
which he began writing and illustrating two years earlier, but which remained
incomplete until after the film's release.
In June 1985, Miyazaki, Takahata and Tokuma Shoten chairman Yasuyoshi Tokuma
organized the animation production company Studio Ghibli with funding from
Tokuma Shoten. His first film with Ghibli, Laputa: Castle in the Sky (1986)
recounts the adventure of two orphans seeking a magical castle-island that
floats in the sky; My Neighbor Totoro (Tonari no Totoro, 1988) tells of the
adventure of two girls and their interaction with forest spirits; and Kiki's
Delivery Service (1989), adapted from the 1985 novel of the same name by Eiko
Kadono, tells the story of a small-town girl who leaves home to begin life as a
witch in a big city. Miyazaki's fascination with flight is evident throughout
these films, ranging from the ornithopters flown by pirates in Castle in the Sky,
to the Totoro and the Cat Bus soaring through the air, and Kiki flying her broom.
In 1992, Miyazaki directed Porco Rosso, an adventure film set in the "Adriatic"
during the 1920s. The film was a notable departure for Miyazaki, in that the
main character was an adult male, an anti-fascist aviator transformed into an
anthropomorphic pig. The film is about a titular bounty hunter, voiced by
Shūichirō Moriyama, and an American soldier of fortune, voiced by Akio Ōtsuka.
The film explores the tension between selfishness and duty. Porco Rosso was
released on July 19, 1992. That August, Studio Ghibli set up its headquarters in
In 1995, Miyazaki began work on Princess Mononoke, which uses the ecological and
political themes of Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. Starring Yuriko Ishida,
Yōji Matsuda, Akihiro Miwa and Yūko Tanaka, the story is about a struggle
between the animal spirits inhabiting the forest and the humans exploiting the
forest for industry. The film was released on July 19, 1997 and was both a
financial and critical success; it won the Japan Academy Prize for Best Picture.
Miyazaki went into semi-retirement after directing Princess Mononoke. In working
on the film, Miyazaki redrew 80,000 of the film's frames himself. He also stated
at one point that "Princess Mononoke" would be his last film. Tokuma Shoten
merged with Studio Ghibli that June.
During this period of semi-retirement, Miyazaki spent time with the daughters of
a friend. One of these friends would become his inspiration for Miyazaki's next
film which would also become his biggest commercial success to date, Spirited
Away. The film stars Rumi Hiiragi, Mari Natsuki and Miyu Irino, and is the story
of a girl, forced to survive in a bizarre spirit world, who works in a bathhouse
for spirits after her parents are turned into pigs by the sorceress who owns it.
The film was released on July 2001 and grossed ¥30.4 billion (approximately $300
million) at the box office. Critically acclaimed, the film was considered one of
the best films of the 2000s. It won a Japan Academy Prize, a Golden Bear
award at the 2002 Berlin Film Festival, and an Academy Award for Best Animated
In July 2004, Miyazaki completed production on Howl's Moving Castle, based on
Diana Wynne Jones' 1986 fantasy novel of the same name. Miyazaki came out of
retirement following the sudden departure of Mamoru Hosoda, the film's original
director. The film premiered at the 2004 Venice International Film Festival and
was later released on November 24, 2004, again to positive reviews. It won the
Golden Osella award for animation technology, and received an Oscar nomination
for Best Animated Feature.
In 2005, Miyazaki received a lifetime achievement award at the Venice Film
Festival. On February 10, 2005, Studio Ghibli announced that it was ending its
relationship with Tokuma Shoten. The studio moved its headquarters to Koganei,
Tokyo, and acquired the copyrights of Miyazaki's works and business rights from
In 2006, Miyazaki's son Gorō Miyazaki completed his first film, Tales from
Earthsea, starring Jun'ichi Okada and Bunta Sugawara and based on several
stories by Ursula K. Le Guin. Hayao Miyazaki had long aspired to make an anime
of this work and had repeatedly asked for permission from the author, Ursula K.
Le Guin. However, he had been refused every time. Instead, Miyazaki produced
Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind and Shuna no tabi, (The Journey of Shuna) as
substitutes (some of the ideas from Shuna no tabi were diverted to this movie).
When Le Guin finally requested that Miyazaki produce an anime adaptation of her
work, he refused, because he had lost the desire to do so. Le Guin remembers
this differently: "In August 2005, Mr Toshio Suzuki of Studio Ghibli came with
Mr Hayao Miyazaki to talk with me and my son (who controls the trust which owns
the Earthsea copyrights). We had a pleasant visit in my house. It was explained
to us that Mr Hayao wished to retire from film making, and that the family and
the studio wanted Mr Hayao's son Goro, who had never made a film at all, to make
this one. We were very disappointed, and also anxious, but we were given the
impression, indeed assured, that the project would be always subject to Mr Hayao's
approval. With this understanding, we made the agreement." Throughout the film's
production, Gorō and his father were not speaking to each other, due to a
dispute over whether or not Gorō was ready to direct. It was originally to
be produced by Miyazaki, but he declined as he was already in the middle of
producing Howl's Moving Castle. Ghibli decided to make Gorō, who had yet to head
any animated films, the producer instead. Tales from Earthsea was released on
July 29, 2006, to mixed reviews.
In 2006, Nausicaa.net reported Hayao Miyazaki's plans to direct another film,
rumored to be set in Kobe. Among areas Miyazaki's team visited during pre-production
were an old café run by an elderly couple, and the view of a city from high in
the mountains. The exact location of these places was censored from Studio
Ghibli's production diaries. The studio also announced that Miyazaki had begun
creating storyboards for the film and that they were being produced in
watercolor because the film would have an "unusual visual style." Studio Ghibli
said the production time would be about 20 months, with release slated for
In 2007, the film's title was publicly announced as Gake no ue no Ponyo,
which was eventually retitled Ponyo for its international releases. The film
stars Yuria Nara, Hiroki Doi, Tomoko Yamaguchi, Kazushige Nagashima, George
Tokoro and Yūki Amami. Toshio Suzuki noted that "70 to 80% of the film takes
place at sea. It will be a director's challenge on how they will express the sea
and its waves with freehand drawing." Ponyo was released on July 19, 2008, to
positive reviews and the film grossed $202 million worldwide.
Miyazaki later co-wrote the screenplay for Studio Ghibli's next film, Arrietty,
based on Mary Norton's 1952 novel The Borrowers. The film was the directorial
debut of Hiromasa Yonebayashi, a Ghibli animator. Starring Mirai Shida,
Ryūnosuke Kamiki, Tomokazu Miura, Keiko Takeshita, Shinobu Otake and Kirin Kiki,
the film focuses on a small family known as the Borrowers who must avoid
detection when discovered by humans. The film was released on July 17, 2010,
again to positive reviews, and grossed $145 million worldwide. In 2011, Miyazaki
co-wrote From up on Poppy Hill, based on the 1980 manga of the same name written
by Tetsurō Sayama and illustrated by Chizuru Takahashi. The film stars Masami
Nagasawa, Junichi Okada, Shunsuke Kazama and Teruyuki Kagawa. Set in Yokohama,
the film's story focuses on Umi Matsuzaki, a high school student who is forced
to fend for herself when her sailor father goes missing from the seaside town.
The film was released on July 16, 2011, once again to positive reviews.
On December 13, 2012, Studio Ghibli announced that Miyazaki was working on his
next film, Kaze Tachinu, based on his manga of the same name, with plans to
simultaneously release it with Kaguya-hime no Monogatari. The film stars
Hideaki Anno, Hidetoshi Nishijima, Masahiko Nishimura and Miori Takimoto.
Miyazaki has illustrated several manga, beginning in 1969 with *** in Boots (Nagagutsu
wo Haita Neko). His major work in this format is the seven-volume manga version
of Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, which he created from 1982 to 1994 and
which has sold millions of copies worldwide. Other works include Sabaku no Tami
(砂漠の民 People of the Desert?), Shuna no Tabi (シュナの旅 The Journey of Shuna?),
The Notebook of Various Images (雑想ノート
Zassō Nōto?), which was the basis of Porco Rosso.
In October 2006, A Trip to Tynemouth was published in Japan. Miyazaki based it
on the young adult short stories of Robert Westall, who grew up in World War II
England. The most famous story, first published in a collection called Break of
Dark, is titled Blackham's Wimpy, the name of a Vickers Wellington Bomber
featured in the story, whose nickname comes from the character J. Wellington
Wimpy from the Popeye comics and cartoons (the Wellington was named for Arthur
Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, victor over Napoleon).
In early 2009, Miyazaki began writing a new manga called Kaze Tachinu (風立ちぬ The
Wind Rises?), telling the story of Mitsubishi A6M Zero fighter designer Jiro
Horikoshi. The manga was published in two issues of the Model Graphix magazine,
published on February 25 and March 25, 2009.
In October 1965, Miyazaki married fellow animator Akemi Ota, with whom he had
two sons, Gorō and Keisuke. Miyazaki's dedication to his work has often been
reported to have impacted negatively on his relationship with Gorō. He has
expressed he does not wish to create a dynasty of animators and his son has to
create a name for himself. Nonetheless he has shown support of his son's
career in animation in recent times, co-writing the screenplay for Gorō's
feature From Up on Poppy Hill and is in the process of developing the story for
his son's third film as of November 2011.
Themes, influences and style
Main article: Styles and themes of Hayao Miyazaki
Miyazaki's works are characterised by the recurrence of progressive themes, such
as environmentalism, pacifism, feminism, and the absence of villains. His
films are also frequently concerned with childhood transition and a marked
preoccupation with flight.
Miyazaki's narratives are notable for not pitting a hero against an
unsympathetic antagonist. In Spirited Away, Miyazaki states "the heroine [is]
thrown into a place where the good and bad dwell together. [...] She manages not
because she has destroyed the 'evil', but because she has acquired the ability
to survive." Even though Miyazaki sometimes feels pessimistic about the
world, he prefers to show children a positive world view instead, and rejects
simplistic stereotypes of good and evil
Miyazaki's films often emphasize environmentalism and the Earth's fragility.
In an interview with The New Yorker, Miyazaki claimed that much of modern
culture is "thin and shallow and fake", and "not entirely jokingly" looked
forward to an apocalyptic age in which "wild green grasses" take over.
Growing up in the Shōwa period was an unhappy time for him because "nature — the
mountains and rivers — was being destroyed in the name of economic progress."
Miyazaki is critical of capitalism, globalization, and their impacts on modern
life. Commenting on the 1954 Animal Farm animated film, he has said that "exploitation
is not only found in communism, capitalism is a system just like that. I believe
a company is common property of the people that work there. But that is a
socialistic idea." Nonetheless, he suggests that adults should not "impose
their vision of the world on children."
Nausicaä, Princess Mononoke and Howl's Moving Castle feature anti-war themes. In
2003, when Spirited Away won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature,
Miyazaki did not attend the awards show personally. He later explained that it
was because he "didn’t want to visit a country that was bombing Iraq".
Miyazaki has been called a feminist by Studio Ghibli President Toshio Suzuki, in
reference to his attitude to female workers. This is evident in the all-female
factories of Porco Rosso and Princess Mononoke, as well as the matriarchal bath-house
of Spirited Away. Many of Miyazaki's films are populated by strong female
protagonists that go against gender roles common in Japanese animation and
Creation process and animation style
Miyazaki takes a leading role when creating his films, frequently serving as
both writer and director. He personally reviewed every frame used in his early
films, though due to health concerns over the high workload he now delegates
some of the workload to other Ghibli members. In a 1999 interview, Miyazaki
said, "at this age, I cannot do the work I used to. If my staff can relieve me
and I can concentrate on directing, there are still a number of movies I'd like
Miyazaki uses very human-like movements in his animation. In addition, much of
the art is done using water colors.
In contrast to American animation, the script and storyboards are created
together, and animation begins before the story is finished and while
storyboards are developing.
Miyazaki has used traditional animation throughout the animation process, though
computer-generated imagery was employed starting with Princess Mononoke to give
"a little boost of elegance". In an interview with the Financial Times,
Miyazaki said "it's very important for me to retain the right ratio between
working by hand and computer. I have learnt that balance now, how to use both
and still be able to call my films 2D." Digital paint was also used for the
first time in parts of Princess Mononoke in order to meet release deadlines.
It was used as standard for subsequent films. However, in his 2008 film Ponyo,
Miyazaki went back to traditional hand-drawn animation for everything, saying "hand
drawing on paper is the fundamental of animation." Studio Ghibli's computer
animation department was dissolved before production on Ponyo was started, and
Miyazaki has decided to keep to hand drawn animation.
A number of Western authors have influenced Miyazaki's work, including Ursula K.
Le Guin, Lewis Carroll, Edward Blishen and Diana Wynne Jones. Miyazaki confided
to Le Guin that Earthsea had been a great influence on all his works, and that
he kept her books at his bedside. Miyazaki and French writer and illustrator
Jean Giraud (a.k.a. Moebius) have influenced each other and have become friends
as a result of their mutual admiration. Monnaie de Paris held an exhibition of
their work titled Miyazaki et Moebius: Deux Artistes Dont Les Dessins Prennent
Vie (Two Artists’s Drawings Taking on a Life of Their Own) from December 2004 to
April 2005. Both artists attended the opening of the exhibition. Moebius
named his daughter Nausicaa after Miyazaki's heroine. Miyazaki has been
deeply influenced by another French writer, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. He
illustrated the Japanese covers of Saint-Exupéry's Night Flight (Vol de nuit)
and Wind, Sand and Stars (Terre des Hommes), and wrote an afterword for Wind,
Sand and Stars.
In an interview broadcast on BBC Choice on 2002-06-10, Miyazaki cited the
British authors Eleanor Farjeon, Rosemary Sutcliff, and Philippa Pearce as
influences. The filmmaker has also publicly expressed fondness for Roald Dahl's
stories about pilots and airplanes; the image in Porco Rosso of a cloud of dead
pilots was inspired by Dahl's They Shall Not Grow Old. As in Miyazaki's films,
these authors create self-contained worlds in which allegory is often used, and
characters have complex, and often ambiguous, motivations. Other Miyazaki works,
such as My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke, and Spirited Away, incorporate
elements of Japanese history and mythology.
Miyazaki has said he was inspired to become an animator by The Tale of the White
Serpent, considered the first modern anime, in 1958. He has also said that The
Snow Queen, a Soviet animated film, was one of his earliest inspirations, and
that it motivated him to stay in animation production. Yuriy Norshteyn, a
Russian animator, is Miyazaki's friend and praised by him as "a great artist."
Norshteyn's Hedgehog in the Fog is cited as one of Miyazaki's favourite animated
films. Miyazaki has long been a fan of the Aardman Studios animation. In May
2006, David Sproxton and Peter Lord, founders of Aardman Studios, visited the
Ghibli Museum exhibit dedicated to their works, where they also met Miyazaki.
Pete Docter, director of the popular films Up and Monsters, Inc. as well as a co-creator
of other Pixar works, has praised Miyazaki and described him as an influence.
Glen Keane, the animator for successful Disney films such as The Little Mermaid,
The Rescuers Down Under, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and Tangled, has also
credited Miyazaki as a "huge influence" on his work and on Disney in general
during the past two decades. Bryan Konietzko and Michael Dante DiMartino
have cited Miyazaki's work as having the biggest influence on the universe and
style of Avatar: The Last Airbender.
Miyazaki has also been cited as an influence on various role-playing video games.
The creator of Square's Final Fantasy series, Hironobu Sakaguchi, cited Miyazaki
as inspiration for elements such as the airships and chocobos featured in the
series. The post-apocalyptic setting of SNK's Crystalis was inspired by
Miyazaki's Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, and Crystalis in turn influenced
Square's Secret of Mana.
Miyazaki has also been influenced by Akira Kurosawa. Kurosawa was successful in
bringing the Western World's attention to Japanese cinematography with the
success of the 1951 film, Rashomon, Seven Samurai in 1957, and Yojimbo in 1960.
Another influence was Osamu Tezuka who was a pioneer in new manga styles and
techniques. And also, Miyazaki even said 'I wish Osamu Tezuka could have watched
it Princess Mononoke'.
Among the actors that have collaborated with Miyazaki on his films, other
filmmakers, writers, and producers have also collaborated with Miyazaki in
multiple instances. This includes Isao Takahata, Toshio Suzuki, Hiromasa
Yonebayashi, Gorō Miyazaki, Takeshi Seyama, Azumi Inoue, Youmi Kimura, Yoshifumi
Kondō, Hiroyuki Morita, Kazuo Oga and Hideaki Anno. Also, music composer Joe
Hisaishi has been responsible for every film score for Miyazaki's films since
Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind.