Hayao Miyazaki

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Animator Hayao Miyazaki

Hayao Miyazaki (宮崎 駿 (http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E5%AE%AE%E5%B4%8E%E9%A7%BF) Miyazaki Hayao) (born January 5, 1941) is one of the most famous and respected creators of Anime, or Japanese animated films.

Miyazaki was born in Tokyo in 1941. He is the creator of many popular anime feature films, as well as some manga (Japanese comics). Although largely unknown in the west outside of animation circles until his 2002 Oscar-Winning Animated Feature Spirited Away, his films have enjoyed huge box-office and critical success in Japan. Spirited Away is the top grossing film of all time in Japan; Princess Mononoke and Howl's Moving Castle have also been huge successes. Many of his films explore the theme of humanity's relationship to nature and technology; a sometimes faltering coexistence due to human nature's fine line between ambition and greed.



Miyazaki first gained notice while working as an inbetween artist on the Toei Co. Ltd. production of Gariba no uchu ryoko (1965) (U.S. title -- Gulliver's Travels Beyond the Moon). He felt that the original ending in the script was lacking and pitched his own idea -- which became the ending that was actually used in the final film.

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Nausica flying her Mehve over the Valley of the Wind
A few years later Miyazaki played an important role as chief animator and concept artist on Horus: Prince of the Sun, a landmark animated film directed by Isao Takahata with whom he would continue to collaborate for the next three decades.

His first film as a director was The Castle of Cagliostro, a light adventure film based on Lupin III, a TV series some of which he had directed earlier.

His next film, Nausica of the Valley of the Wind (1984) (Kaze no Tani no Nausicaa), was an epic adventure featuring many distinctive themes which were repeated in later films: a concern with ecological issues, a fascination with aircraft and the absence of a traditional villain. He adapted it from the manga of the same name, which he had created two years prior. He later co-founded, with Isao Takahata, the animation film company Studio Ghibli, and has produced most (if not all) of his subsequent work through it.

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My Neighbor Totoro.

His next three films at Ghibli were more traditional animated fare. Laputa: Castle in the Sky (1986) recounts the adventure of two orphans seeking a magical, floating island. My Neighbor Totoro (1988) (Tonari no Totoro) tells of the adventure of two girls and a magical creature called a "totoro". Kiki's Delivery Service (1989) is the story of a teenage witch who strikes out on her own in a big city.

With Porco Rosso, Miyazaki created more unusual settings and characters for an animated film. The film is a light-hearted adventure set in a fictional world based on 1920s Italy where bounty hunters, aviators and air pirates battle in the skies. Its hero is an anti-fascist aviator whose head has turned into that of a pig. The movie explores the tensions between adventure and duty.

Miyazaki's next film Princess Mononoke (Mononoke Hime) released in 1997 returns to the ecological and political themes of Nausica. The main plot is an epic struggle between the animal gods who rule the forest and the humans who are trying to exploit it for industry. 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. It later won Best Picture at the Japanese Academy Awards. There is an English dubbed version. Miyazaki retired after making Mononoke Hime, intending it to be his last film as a director.

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Spirited Away.

He came out of retirement after spending a holiday with the daughters of a friend, one of whom became the inspiration for Spirited Away (Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi), a story of a girl who is forced to survive in a strange alternate fantasy world, working in a bathhouse for gods after her parents are turned into pigs. The film, released in Japan in July 2001, broke the attendance and box office records previously set by Titanic with 30.4 billion in total gross earnings from over 23 million viewings. It has received numerous film 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, the first Oscar awarded to any anime production. There is an English dubbed version by Disney.

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Press Image of first poster for Howl's Moving Castle.

In July 2004, Miyazaki finished production on Howl's Moving Castle, an anime film adaptation of Diana Wynne Jones' fantasy novel for which he was forced to come out of retirement again following the sudden departure of original director Mamoru Hosoda. 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 and earned 1.4 billion in its first two days, continuing the record-setting trend of Miyazaki films at the box office. On opening day, Howl's' producer, Toshio Suzuki, announced that Pixar's Peter Docter (director of Monsters, Inc.) would be heading the production of the English version. The English dubbed version was released in the US through Disney on June 6, 2005.

One of the most distinctive traits of Miyazaki's later films that sets them apart from classic Western animation (like Disney) is the lack of stereotypically "good" or "bad" characters. His characters have complex motivations and while some can be better or worse than others, they are often capable of growth and change. For example, Lady Eboshi from Princess Mononoke stands in opposition to the other main characters, and her iron works blatantly exploit the nearby forests for wood. However, her character doesn't fit into the standard role of villain: we see how she provides a productive home for lepers and former prostitutes in her city, and by the end of the film she has a change of heart about stripping the forest and killing off its spirits. Some of Miyazaki's early films, however, featured undeniably evil villains (Count Cagliostro in Castle of Cagliostro or Muska in Laputa), while others are remarkable for having no villain at all (Kiki's Delivery Service and My Neighbor Totoro).

Another trait of his films are the character designs that, at the most basic level, are quite similar. This is often humorously considered an artistic perception that such characters are actors and actresses, reappearing in different films of his.

Influences from England and France

One can discern a number of English and French influences on Miyazaki; such as Lewis Carroll, Mbius, Diana Wynne Jones, and J.R.R. Tolkien. They all create self-contained worlds where allegory is avoided, characters have ambigious motivations, and the audience is not explicitly lectured to about 'the message'. These factors are also central to Miyazaki's movies. In a 1994 BBC interview, Miyazaki also cited the British authors Eleanor Farjeon, Rosemary Sutcliffe, and Phillipa Pearce as influences. He has also created TV work based on Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories.

TV Series

Miyazaki's work in TV series is less well known than his films. In the 1970s he worked as an animator on the World Masterpiece Theater TV animation series under Isao Takahata. His first directorial credit is for the TV version of Lupin III in 1971; he was a co-director (with Takahata) of the second half of the first tv series, and director of two episodes of the second. Later he was to make his first feature film, Castle of Cagliostoro, based on the same character. He also animated Sherlock Hound, an anthropomorphic retelling of Sherlock Holmes' tales.

Perhaps his most important TV work was directing Future Boy Conan, 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 is attempting to revive some banned technology. The series also elaborates on the characters and events in the book but nonetheless is an early example of certain character types which would recur throughout Miyazaki's later work: for example a girl who is in touch with nature, a warrior woman who is not her antagonist, and a boy who seems destined for the girl. The series also featured lots of unusual aircraft.


Miyazaki has drawn several manga starting in 1969 with a manga titled Nagakutsu wo Haita Neko (Puss in Boots). His major work in this printed format is the manga version of the epic tale Nausica, on which he worked from 1982 to 1994 and has sold more than 10 million copies in Japan. He originally didn't want to do Nausica as a manga but was forced to after Toshio Suzuki couldn't get funding for the film without a manga for a basis. Other works include Sabaku no Tami (People of the Desert), Shuna no Tabi (The Journey of Shuna) and Hikoutei Jidai (The Age of the Flying Boat), which formed the basis of his animated film Porco Rosso.




Further reading

  • Helen McCarthy, Hayao Miyazaki: Master of Japanese Animation, Stone Bridge Press, 1999, ISBN 1-880656-41-8

External links

es:Hayao Miyazaki eo:MIYAZAKI Hayao fr:Hayao Miyazaki ko:미야자키 하야오 it:Hayao Miyazaki zh-min-nan:Miyazaki Hayao nl:Hayao Miyazaki ja:宮崎駿 pl:Hayao Miyazaki ru:Миядзаки, Хаяо fi:Hayao Miyazaki pt:Hayao Miyazaki sv:Hayao Miyazaki th:ฮายาโอะ มิยาซากิ tr:Hayao Miyazaki zh:宫崎骏


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