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Hayao Miyazaki (宮崎 駿 Miyazaki Hayao?, born January 5, 1941) is a Japanese manga artist and prominent film director and animator of many popular anime feature films. Through a career that has spanned nearly five decades, Miyazaki has attained international acclaim as a maker of animated feature films and, along with Isao Takahata, co-founded Studio Ghibli, an animation studio and production company. The success of Miyazaki's films has invited comparisons with American animator Walt Disney, British animator Nick Park as well as Robert Zemeckis, who pioneered Motion Capture animation, and he has been named one of the most influential people by Time Magazine.[1][2]

Miyazaki began his career at Toei Animation 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 published 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 Princess Mononoke whereafter he temporarily retired. After taking a short break, Miyazaki returned to direct Spirited Away and has continued to direct several films since then.

While Miyazaki's films have long enjoyed both commercial and critical success in Japan, he remained largely unknown to the West until Miramax released his 1997 film, 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. His next film, Spirited Away, 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. Many of his other films have won or been nominated for many awards.

Miyazaki's films often incorporate recurrent themes, such as humanity's relationship to nature and technology, and the difficulty of maintaining a pacifist ethic. Reflecting Miyazaki's feminism, 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 such as Nausicaa or Princess Mononoke present morally ambiguous antagonists with redeeming qualities.

Early life and education

Miyazaki, the second of four sons, was born in the town of Akebono-cho, part of Tokyo's Bunkyō-ku. During World War II, Miyazaki's father 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.[3][page needed]

Miyazaki's mother was a voracious reader who often questioned socially accepted norms. Miyazaki later said that he inherited his questioning and skeptical mind from her.[citation needed] His mother underwent treatment for spinal tuberculosis from 1947 until 1955, and so the family moved frequently.[3][page needed]

Miyazaki attended Toyotama High School. In his third year there, he saw the film Hakujaden, which has been described as "the first-ever Japanese feature length color anime."[4] His interest in animation began in this period; however, in order to become an animator, he had to learn to draw the human figure, since his prior work had been limited to airplanes and battleships.[4]

After high school, Miyazaki attended Gakushuin University, from which he would graduate in 1963 with degrees in political science and economics. He was a member of the "Children's Literature research club," the "closest thing to a comics club in those days."[4]

Animation career

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.[3][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 final film. In October 1965, he married fellow animator Akemi Ota, who later left work to raise their two sons, Gorō and Keisuke.[citation needed]

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 Puss 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. 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 40 Thieves, as well as storyboarding and key animating of pivotal scenes in both.[citation needed]

Work for other studios

Miyazaki left Toei in 1971 for A Pro, where he co-directed six episodes of the first Lupin III series with Isao Takahata. He and Takahata 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, they were denied permission to complete the project, and it was canceled.[3][page needed]

Instead of Pippi Longstocking, Miyazaki conceived, wrote, designed, and animated two Panda! Go, Panda! shorts which were directed by Takahata. Miyazaki then left Nippon Animation in 1979 in the middle of the production of Anne of Green Gables to direct his first feature anime The Castle of Cagliostro (1979), a Lupin III adventure film.

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. 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.

Studio Ghibli

Main article: Studio Ghibli

Studio Ghibli was originally established in 1985, as a subsidiary of Tokuma Shoten. In 2005, Hayao Miyazaki, Toshio Suzuki, and Isao Takahata established a new Studio Ghibli in Koganei, Japan and acquired all the copyrights of Miyazaki's works and business rights from Tokuma Shoten.[5]

Works

Films

Following the success of Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, Miyazaki co-founded the animation production company Studio Ghibli with Takahata in 1985, and has produced nearly all of his subsequent work through it. Miyazaki continued to gain recognition with his next three films. 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 a novel 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.

Porco Rosso (1992) 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 set in 1920s Italy and the title character is a bounty hunter who fights air pirates and an American soldier of fortune. The film explores the tension between selfishness and duty. The film can also be viewed as an abstract self-portrait of the director; its subtext can be read as a fictionalized autobiography. Like many of his movies, it is richly allusive and generates a lot of its humour and charm out of its references to American film of the 1930s and 1940s. Porco Rosso, for instance, owes much to the various screen personae of Humphrey Bogart.

1997's Princess Mononoke (Mononoke-Hime) returns to the ecological and political themes of Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. The plot centers on the struggle between the animal spirits who inhabit the forest and the humans who exploit the forest for industry. Both movies implicitly criticize the adverse impact of humans on nature, and portray the military in a negative light. Princess Mononoke is also noted as one of his most violent pictures. The film was a huge commercial success in Japan, where it became the highest grossing film of all time, until the later success of Titanic, and it ultimately won Best Picture at the Japanese Academy Awards. Miyazaki went into what would prove to be temporary retirement after directing Princess Mononoke.

During this period of semi-retirement, Miyazaki spent time with the daughters of a friend, one of whom became his inspiration for Spirited Away (Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi, 2001). Spirited Away 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. Released in Japan in July 2001, the film broke attendance and box office records with ¥30.4 billion (approximately $300 million) in total gross earnings from more than 23 million viewings. It has received many awards, including Best Picture at the 2001 Japanese Academy Awards, Golden Bear (First Prize) at the 2002 Berlin Film Festival, and the 2002 Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. In July 2004, Miyazaki completed production on Howl's Moving Castle, a film adaptation of Diana Wynne Jones' fantasy novel. Miyazaki came out of retirement following the sudden departure of original director Mamoru Hosoda.[6] The film premiered at the 2004 Venice International Film Festival and won the Golden Osella award for animation technology. On November 20, 2004, Howl's Moving Castle opened to general audiences in Japan where it earned ¥1.4 billion in its first two days. An English language version was later released in the US by Walt Disney.

In 2005, Miyazaki received a lifetime achievement award at the Venice Film Festival. Later that year, Chinese media reported that Miyazaki's final film project would be I Lost My Little Boy, based on a Chinese children's book.[7] This later proved to be faked news.[8]

In 2006, Miyazaki's son Gorō Miyazaki completed his first film, Tales from Earthsea, 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 Nausicaa of the Valley of 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.

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.[9] This movie was originally to be produced by Hayao 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.

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 Summer 2008.

In 2007, the film's title was publicly announced as Gake no ue no Ponyo, literally "Ponyo on a Cliff."[10] The story revolves around a five-year old boy, Sousuke, and the Princess goldfish, Ponyo, who wants to become human. Studio Ghibli President 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." The film does not contain any computer generated imagery (CGI) in contrast to Miyazaki's other recent work.[citation needed]

Ponyo was released in late 2009 in Japan and France, and later in the USA and Russia.

In September 2009, it was reported that Hayao Miyazaki has signed on with Studio Ghibli to direct two more feature-length films with the company over the next three years.[citation needed]

Television

Miyazaki's work in television is less known than his films. In the 1970s he worked as an animator on the World Masterpiece Theater television animation series under Isao Takahata. His first directorial credit is for the television version of Lupin III in 1971; he was co-director (with Takahata) of the second half of the first television series, and director of two episodes of the second series.

Miyazaki's most famous television work was his direction of 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.

Miyazaki also directed six episodes of Sherlock Hound, an Italian-Japanese co-production which retold Sherlock Holmes tales using anthropomorphic animals. These episodes were first broadcast in 1984-85.

Manga

Miyazaki has illustrated several manga, beginning in 1969 with Puss in Boots (Nagagutsu wo Haita Neko). His major work in this format is the seven-volume manga version of his tale 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 his film 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 returned with 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.[11]

Creation process and animation style

File:Mononoke hime cgi.png

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.[12] 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 to make."[13]

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 storyboards are developing.[14][15]

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".[12] 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."[16] Digital paint was also used for the first time in parts of Princess Mononoke in order to meet release deadlines.[17] 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."[18] Studio Ghibli's computer animation department was dissolved before production on Ponyo was started, and Miyazaki has decided to stick to hand drawn animation.[19]

Themes and devices

Script error Miyazaki’s works are characterised by the recurrence of progressive themes such as the absence of traditional antagonists or “baddie” characters; environmentalism; pacifism; and feminism.[1] His films are also frequently concerned with children, childhood transition and a marked preoccupation with flight.

Influences

A number of Western authors have influenced Miyazaki's work, including Ursula K. Le Guin, Lewis Carroll, 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.[2]

Miyazaki and French writer and illustrator Jean Giraud (aka 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.[3][4] Also Moebius named his daughter Nausicaa after Miyazaki's heroine.[5]

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.[6]

Yuriy Norshteyn, a Russian animator, is Miyazaki's friend and praised by him as "a great artist."[7] Norshteyn's Hedgehog in the Fog is cited as one of Miyazaki's favourite animated films.[6]

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.[8]

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.[9]

Family life

Miyazaki's dedication to his work has often been reported to have impacted negatively on his relationship with his son Gorō.[10] He has expressed that he does not wish to create a dynasty of animators and that his son has to create a name for himself.[11]

Filmography

File:HayaoMiyazakiCCJuly09.jpg

Director, screenplay, and storyboards

Shorts

Other work

References

  1. Script error
  2. (Japanese) Script error
  3. Yves Montmayeur. (2005). Ghibli The Miyazaki Temple. [Documentary film]. Paris.
  4. Script error
  5. Script error
  6. 6.0 6.1 A remote conversation between Yuriy Norshteyn and Hayao Miyazaki at a Russian TV Show ProSvet, on October 22, 2005, hosted by Dmitry Dibrov
  7. US Spirited Away premiere press Q&A
  8. Script error
  9. Interview with Up Director Peter Docter. By Beth Accomando. KPBS. Published May 29, 2009.
  10. Script error
  11. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named Miyazaki_Lasseter_20090928
  12. Coranto Archive
  13. http://www.ghibliworld.com/news.html#1612

Further reading

External links

Script error

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Aron Warner
for Shrek
Academy Award for Best Animated Feature
2002
for Spirited Away
Succeeded by
Andrew Stanton
for Finding Nemo
Preceded by
Patrice Chéreau
for Intimacy
Golden Bear
2002
for Spirited Away
Succeeded by
Michael Winterbottom
for In This World
Preceded by
Stanley Donen, Manoel de Oliveira
Career Golden Lion
2005
Succeeded by
David Lynch

Script error

Script error Script error Template:Hochi Film Award for Best Director

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