Let’s cross the continent! This time, the Friday Spotlight is dedicated to a Japanese screenwriter, producer, film director, author and animator Hayao Miyazaki. Miyazaki is also the co-founder of Ghibli Studio. The man who was born on January 5th, 1941, has attained international acclaim as a masterful storyteller and as a maker of anime feature films through a career that has spanned five decades. Miyazaki is also being compared to Steven Spielberg and Walt Disney in terms of their success.
The man who is fascinated with planes since he was a kid aspired to become a manga author at his early age and he never abandoned that childhood dream. His professional career in this domain began in 1969 with the publication of his manga interpretation of Puss in Boots. His fascination with planes is made obvious by the recurring use of planes in his films.
The creator of Princess Mononoke, Nausicaä the Valley of the Wind, Spirited away, My Neighbor Totoro and The Wind Rises is an indie-styled animator. As Helen McCarthy put it, « Miyazaki realized the folly of trying to succeed as manga writer by echoing what was fashionable, and decided to follow his true feelings in his work even if that might seem foolish. »
Princess Mononoke was briefly the highest-grossing film in Japan until it was eclipsed by another 1997 film, Titanic, and it became the first animated film to win Picture of the Year at the Japanese Academy Award. Miyazaki’s next film, Spirited Away (2001), topped Titanic’s sales at the Japanese box office, won Picture of the Year at the Japanese Academy Awards, and was the first anime film to win an American Academy Award.
His works concern moral values such as ecology, human interaction with the environment, feminism and love. He prefers to show children a positive world view and rejects simplistic stereotypes of good and evil. Miyazaki’s films often emphasize environmentalism and the Earth’s fragility.
Miyazaki has claimed he was retiring several times, but on September 6, 2013, he assured his fans that he is “quite serious” this time. He believes he is getting too old for the business, and wants to make room for new animators. A previous home that Miyazaki spent part of his childhood in has been transformed into a museum. So, like Miyazaki, we also believe that instead of echoing what is fashionable, we should stand for what we believe and be original, and that is the essence of indie!