Hayao Miyazaki

Hayao Miyazaki

Original Name 宮崎 駿
Born January 15, 1941 (78)
Tokyo, Japan

Legendary director of Japanese animated films, and one of the mostly highly regarded Japanese filmmakers both in his home country and around the world. Interestingly, his films were virutally unknown stateside until Miramax’s wide release of Princess Mononoke (1997). Since then, Disney has partnered with Studio Ghibli to release Miyazaki’s animated works with high quality dubs featuring A-list actors. Princess Mononoke won Best Picture at the Japanese Academy Awards, and was the highest grossing Japanese film in history until it was supplanted by Miyazaki’s Spirited Away (2001), which took home the Oscar for Best Animated Film and the Golden Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival. Miyazaki’s important role within Studio Ghibli was such that the studio contemplated shutting down production completely on news of his [second] retirement in 2013. Miyazaki, ever the workaholic, soon returned to Ghibli, but not before a small cadre of animators broke off into Studio Ponoc in order to continue Miyazaki’s legacy.

Miyazaki’s first work in animation was for a Toei feature film called The Adventure of Horus, Prince of the Sun, which took a full 3 years to produce. The film was helmed by Isao Takahata, who would become the No. 2 director at Studio Ghibli. Miyazaki and Takahata continued working together on the Lupin the 3rd television series, which would eventually spawn The Castle of Cagliostro (1979), Miyazaki’s first directorial effort. (Miyazaki later recommended Mamoru Oshii as director for a subsequent Lupin film.) Miyazaki and Takahata found greater success with an animated version of Heidi in 1974 and the Future Boy Conan series on NHK in 1978. Future Boy Conan was the catalyst needed to thrust Miyazaki into the director’s chair for the rest of his career. He acquired studio funding for Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984) by first producing a successful manga of the concept. After Nausicaä’s success, and with investment funds from Tokuma Publishing, Miyazaki founded Studio Ghibli to produce his subsequent works. While all of Miyazaki’s films are considered classics, the studio’s first hit wasn’t until 1989’s Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989), Miyazaki’s third Ghibli film.

Miyazaki retired after Spirited Away, and Ghibli attempted to hand the reigns of their next project to his son, Goro Miyazaki. Goro wasn’t up to the task of directing, and Hayao came out of retirement to direct Howl’s Moving Castle (2004). (Goro would eventually direct the much-maligned Tales from Earthsea and the more favorably received From Up on Poppy Hill.) Miyazaki then announced his retirement again following the release of The Wind Rises (2013), but has since returned to Ghibli to work on new projects. Miyazaki is notable for being a staunch pacifist and environmentalist and his films often explore these themes in broad strokes (esp. Nausicaä, Princess Mononoke, Howl’s Moving Castle, Ponyo). He is friends with John Lasseter, former head of Pixar, who claims Miyazaki as an influence on Pixar’s works and has directed the English dubbing sessions for several of Miyazaki’s films.

Original Name 宮崎 駿
Born January 15, 1941 (78)
Tokyo, Japan

Legendary director of Japanese animated films, and one of the mostly highly regarded Japanese filmmakers both in his home country and around the world. Interestingly, his films were virutally unknown stateside until Miramax’s wide release of Princess Mononoke (1997). Since then, Disney has partnered with Studio Ghibli to release Miyazaki’s animated works with high quality dubs featuring A-list actors. Princess Mononoke won Best Picture at the Japanese Academy Awards, and was the highest grossing Japanese film in history until it was supplanted by Miyazaki’s Spirited Away (2001), which took home the Oscar for Best Animated Film and the Golden Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival. Miyazaki’s important role within Studio Ghibli was such that the studio contemplated shutting down production completely on news of his [second] retirement in 2013. Miyazaki, ever the workaholic, soon returned to Ghibli, but not before a small cadre of animators broke off into Studio Ponoc in order to continue Miyazaki’s legacy.

Miyazaki’s first work in animation was for a Toei feature film called The Adventure of Horus, Prince of the Sun, which took a full 3 years to produce. The film was helmed by Isao Takahata, who would become the No. 2 director at Studio Ghibli. Miyazaki and Takahata continued working together on the Lupin the 3rd television series, which would eventually spawn The Castle of Cagliostro (1979), Miyazaki’s first directorial effort. (Miyazaki later recommended Mamoru Oshii as director for a subsequent Lupin film.) Miyazaki and Takahata found greater success with an animated version of Heidi in 1974 and the Future Boy Conan series on NHK in 1978. Future Boy Conan was the catalyst needed to thrust Miyazaki into the director’s chair for the rest of his career. He acquired studio funding for Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984) by first producing a successful manga of the concept. After Nausicaä’s success, and with investment funds from Tokuma Publishing, Miyazaki founded Studio Ghibli to produce his subsequent works. While all of Miyazaki’s films are considered classics, the studio’s first hit wasn’t until 1989’s Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989), Miyazaki’s third Ghibli film.

Miyazaki retired after Spirited Away, and Ghibli attempted to hand the reigns of their next project to his son, Goro Miyazaki. Goro wasn’t up to the task of directing, and Hayao came out of retirement to direct Howl’s Moving Castle (2004). (Goro would eventually direct the much-maligned Tales from Earthsea and the more favorably received From Up on Poppy Hill.) Miyazaki then announced his retirement again following the release of The Wind Rises (2013), but has since returned to Ghibli to work on new projects. Miyazaki is notable for being a staunch pacifist and environmentalist and his films often explore these themes in broad strokes (esp. Nausicaä, Princess Mononoke, Howl’s Moving Castle, Ponyo). He is friends with John Lasseter, former head of Pixar, who claims Miyazaki as an influence on Pixar’s works and has directed the English dubbing sessions for several of Miyazaki’s films.