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Hayao Miyazaki

Hayao Miyazaki

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Nausicaa Of The Valley Of The Wind... Miyazaki's masterpiece! Acknowledged as one of Japanese anime's most important... more info $29.99was $29.99 Buy Now

Porco Rosso DVD This 1992 fantasy anime is the tale about an Italian WWI ace pilot who, under a... more info $29.99was $29.99 Buy Now

Whisper Of The Heart DVD Walt Disney Home Entertainment Presents A Studio Ghibli FilmFrom the creators of... more info $29.99was $29.99 Buy Now

Spirited Away DVD Spectacularly inventive. -Jane Horwitz, Washington PostFrom one of the most... more info $29.99was $29.99 Buy Now

Howl's Moving Castle DVD Walt Disney Home Entertainment Presents A Studio Ghibli FilmIn Hayao Miyazaki's... more info $29.99was $29.99 Buy Now

Castle In The Sky DVD Introduce your entire family to Castle In The Sky, featuring a timeless story of... more info $29.99was $29.99 Buy Now



Also Known As: Died:
Born: January 5, 1941 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Japan Profession: screenwriter, director, animator, storyboard artist, executive, editor, producer

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Long acknowledged as Japan's preeminent animator and director, Hayao Miyazaki remained a cult figure to American devotees of "manga" (Japanese comic books) and "anime" (Japanese animated features) until the 1999 US release one of his undisputed masterworks, "Princess Mononoke" (1997). Acquired by Miramax and redubbed into English using a script by Neil Gaiman and the vocal talents of actors such as Claire Danes and Billy Crudup, "Princess Mononoke" introduced the richly crafted animation and superb storytelling to mainstream audiences. The film was deemed too violent for young children used to Disney cartoons filled with cheery anthropomorphic sidekicks and sing-along musical scores but their older siblings and parents could marvel at the detailed set pieces and enjoy the three-dimensional characters, who were neither true-blue heroes nor all-black villains. Miyazaki's anime classic explored big themes like man versus nature and good versus evil, but they were couched in mythology and highly memorable visuals. His subsequent film, 2001's boldly imaginative "Spirited Away," received even more acclaim and went on to win a 2003 Academy Award, solidifying Miyazaki's already-revered status in...

Long acknowledged as Japan's preeminent animator and director, Hayao Miyazaki remained a cult figure to American devotees of "manga" (Japanese comic books) and "anime" (Japanese animated features) until the 1999 US release one of his undisputed masterworks, "Princess Mononoke" (1997). Acquired by Miramax and redubbed into English using a script by Neil Gaiman and the vocal talents of actors such as Claire Danes and Billy Crudup, "Princess Mononoke" introduced the richly crafted animation and superb storytelling to mainstream audiences. The film was deemed too violent for young children used to Disney cartoons filled with cheery anthropomorphic sidekicks and sing-along musical scores but their older siblings and parents could marvel at the detailed set pieces and enjoy the three-dimensional characters, who were neither true-blue heroes nor all-black villains. Miyazaki's anime classic explored big themes like man versus nature and good versus evil, but they were couched in mythology and highly memorable visuals. His subsequent film, 2001's boldly imaginative "Spirited Away," received even more acclaim and went on to win a 2003 Academy Award, solidifying Miyazaki's already-revered status in international cinema.

Born in Tokyo in January 1941, Hayao Miyazaki spent his formative years in the capital city. His father's family owned an airplane parts factory and that small matter had a great impact on the future filmmaker in developing his particularly unique animation style. A Miyazaki feature often contains aerial shots that swoop and soar, contrasting with segments of quietude and intimacy that serve to heighten the fantastical elements of his tales. During his childhood, his mother was confined to bed with spinal tuberculosis and Miyazaki later paid her homage in "My Neighbor Totoro" (1988), which focused on two sisters whose mother has been hospitalized.

From his earliest childhood, Miyazaki was fascinated by drawing, particularly models of airplanes, but when it came to sketching people, he was less than successful. Rather than pursue his hobby, he enrolled as a political science and economics major at Gakushuin University. But his desire to draw finally won out and following his matriculation, Miyazaki landed work at Toei Animation, where he served an apprenticeship before being assigned to work as an in-betweener on the 1963 feature "Watchdog Bow Wow" and the TV series "Wolf Boy Ken" (1963-65). The latter marked his first collaboration with Isao Takahata with whom he would later collaborate before forming Studio Ghibli together in 1985. The pair worked as animator (Miyazaki) and director (Takahata) on varied projects, including the TV series "Hustle Punch" (1965-66).

In the '70s, Miyazaki left Toei and joined Takahata at A-Pro and then moved to Zuiyo Pictures, all the while dividing his attentions between features and TV. As the decade waned, he moved into the director's chair for 16 episodes of the series "Future Boy Conan" (1978), also assisting in character design and development. In 1979, Miyazaki made his feature debut with the adventure movie "Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro," and later worked on an adaptation of the comic strip Little Nemo in Slumberland, leaving the project during pre-production in 1982. That year, he created his initial manga entry Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, which became the basis for his second film.

"Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind" (1984) contains the archetypes of all of the animator's future work: a smart heroine, swooping sequences that recreate the experience of flying, ecological themes, and dilemma and characters that aren't all villainous or all heroic. This film's story, set in a post-apocalyptic future, concerns a princess attempting to protect her subjects from two larger warring powers, in the process aiding in diffusing a potential ecological disaster. A critical and commercial success in Japan, "Nausicaä" gave Miyazaki the resources to co-found his own animation company, Studio Ghibli, under whose auspices his third film "Castle in the Sky" (1986) was produced. Again working as screenwriter and director, Miyazaki crafted a fanciful tale of a mysterious girl who literally falls from the sky into a bleak industrial town. Notable for its delicate, almost watercolor-like backgrounds and its spectacular flying sequences, the film proved popular in his native land.

Miyazaki moved away from the timeless to the 1950s of his childhood for his next feature, "My Neighbor Totoro" (1988), which conveys the tale of two young girls who discover a magical world in and around their new home, a ramshackle rural house. Episodic and leisurely paced, "My Neighbor Totoro" again featured the animator's trademarked attention to detail, with gorgeous renderings of the Japanese countryside. (A dubbed-in-English version opened briefly in 1993 but US viewers, still primed on viewing more conventional Western cartoons, were less than embracing.) The similarly conceived "Kiki's Delivery Service" (1989), about a young witch who opens a flying parcel business in a seaside town, featured elaborate flying sequences as well as the detailed depiction of the backgrounds. ("Kiki's Delivery Service" was also dubbed into English and released direct-to-video in the USA in 1998). Airborne sequences also played important roles in the story of "Porco Rosso" (1992), which followed a WWI Italian flying ace (and talking pig) who abandons the military during the rise of Fascism in favor of becoming a bounty hunter. Capitalizing on Miyazaki's long-held interest in aviation and mixing in some of his political views, it ranks as one of his most personal films.

Before tackling his one of anime masterpieces, "Princess Mononoke," Miyazaki crafted TV advertisements and produced and wrote "Whisper of the Heart" (1995), adapted from a manga by Aoi Hiragi and directed by Yoshifumi Kondo. By the time "Princess Mononoke" became the second highest-grossing film in Japan (behind "Titanic"), the tide had shifted in the USA. Aficionados of anime had grown beyond a cult, fueled in part by bootlegs and dubbed versions of "Akira" (1988) and "Ghost in the Shell" (1995), as well as a revival of interest in the 1960s animated series "Astro Boy" and "Speed Racer" that had primed audiences. In addition, Disney faced challenges on the animation front from Warner Bros. (e.g., 1999's "The Iron Giant") and DreamWorks (1998's "The Prince of Egypt"), among others. A certain sophistication had become the norm, creating a more hospitable atmosphere for Miyazaki's work.

Because of his painstaking attention to detail, the animator has suffered eyestrain over the years, and there had been rumors floated that "Princess Mononoke" would be his last film. This possibility surfaced in part because it took some 20 years to develop "Mononoke" from initial inspiration (originally as more of a "Beauty and the Beast"-like story) to its final incarnation, which depicts an escalating conflict between fascinatingly rendered forest beings and the manmade forces of steely industrialization. Happily, Miyazaki wasn't done, and these themes were carried over into his next film, 2001's "Spirited Away," a fantasy film that follows a young girl as her parents' carelessness leads her into a world of moody deities and shape-shifting creatures. This time around, Pixar's John Lasseter used his considerable influence to secure a more prominent English-language North American release for "Spirited Away" during the following year, which led to an Oscar for Best Animated Feature, among the movie's many other awards.

Following another short-lived bout of semi-retirement, Miyazaki helmed "Howl's Moving Castle" (2004), based on the British fantasy novel of the same name. Another inventive and unconventional triumph for the director, the film featured Christian Bale, Emily Mortimer and Billy Crystal among its English voice cast. In the West, major stars continued to be drawn to the work of Miyazaki, with Patrick Stewart and Uma Thurman participating in a 2005 Disney-supervised re-release of "Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind" and real-life siblings Dakota and Elle Fanning voicing the sisters in a similarly welcome 2006 version of "My Neighbor Totoro." Riding a wave of previously unseen worldwide appreciation, Miyazaki returned in 2008 with the notably kid-friendly nautical tale "Ponyo," which featured the voice talents of Matt Damon, Tina Fey and other well-known actors in its 2009 English-language incarnation. In 2013, shortly after the Japanese release of his Oscar-nominated period drama "The Wind Rises," Miyazaki announced that he was retiring. Though he had made this claim before, this time the 72 year old seemed more official in his statement, meaning that the world may well have seen the last film directed by this iconic innovator.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
  Ponyo (2008)
2.
  Howl's Moving Castle (2004) Director
3.
  Spirited Away (2002) Director
4.
  Princess Mononoke (1999) Director
5.
  Kiki's Delivery Service (1998) Director
6.
  Porco Rosso (1992) Director
7.
  My Neighbor Totoro (1989) Director
8.
  Tenku no shiro Laputa (1987) Director

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Kurosawa's Way (2011)
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Raised in Tokyo, Japan
1963:
Hired to work as an in-betweener at Toei Douga; worked on the TV series "Okami Shonen Ken/Wolf Boy Ken" and the feature "Wan Wan Chushingura/Watchdog Bow Wow"
1965:
Spent three years working on the animated feature "Prince of the Son", directed by Isao Takahata
1971:
Left Toei Douga to join Takahata at A-Pro
:
Accompanied Yukata Fujioka to Sweden in vain attempt to secure rights to "Pippi Longstocking"
:
Directed or co-directed episodes of the animated TV series "Lupin III"
1973:
Left A-Pro and joined Zuiyo Productions
1973:
Visited Switzerland as research for "Heidi: Girl of the Alps"
1975:
Traveled to Italy and Argentina for inspiration for "Three Thousand Miles in Search of Mother"
1980:
Became chief instructor for animators at Telecom; used company name as pseudonym on some TV directing assignments
1982:
Launched the manga serial "Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind" in the magazine "Animage"; completed in 1984
1984:
Wrote, directed and storyboarded the anime feature version of "Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind"; after being edited, released in USA as "Warriors of the Wind" in 1986
1985:
Founded Studio GHIBLI
1986:
Wrote, designed and directed "Tenku no shiro Laputa/Laputa: Castle in the Sky"
1988:
Designed, wrote and directed "Tonari no Totoro/My Neighbor Totoro"; an English-language dubbed version was released in the USA in 1993
1989:
Produced, wrote and directed the anime "Majo no takkyubin/Kiki's Delivery Service"; dubbed English version released direct-to-video in the USA in 1998
1991:
Served as producer on Takahata's "Omohide poro poro/Only Yesterday"
1992:
Crafted the WWII-era romance "Porco Rosso/The Crimson Pig", about a fighter pilot who is turned into a pig
1995:
Produced and scripted "Mimi wo sumaseba/Whisper of the Heart", directed by Yohifumi Kondo
1995:
Directed and provided story for the rock duo Chage & Ake's music video "On Your Mark"
1997:
Wrote and directed the anime "Mononoke Hime/Princess Mononoke"; Disney and Miramax purchased U.S. distribution rights and spent two-years preparing English dubbed version featuring an all-star cast led by Billy Crudup, Claire Danes and Minnie Driver and released in 1999
2001:
Enjoyed a box-office hit in Japan with the anime feature "Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi/Spirited Away"
2005:
Helmed the animated adventure "Howl's Moving Castle"; received an Oscar nomination for Best Animated Feature
2008:
Wrote and directed the animated feature "Ponyo"; also executive produced; American release featured the voices of Cate Blanchett, Matt Damon and Liam Neeson
2010:
Executive produced "Kari-gurashi no Arietti/The Secret World of Arrietty"; also co-wrote the screenplay with Keiko Niwa
2013:
Announced his retirement around the release of his purported final film, "The Wind Rises"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Omiya Elementary School: -
Eifuku Elementary School: -
Omiya Junior High School: - 1956
Toyotama High School: - 1959
Gakushuin University: - 1963

Notes

"When an idea for a project is formed, there are always market considerations--this might appeal to a certain age group, and so on. But its never the way you would expect it. Sometimes in the beginning a predictable age group will come, but the end result might be another: middle-aged men, young women, whatever. You can never be sure." --Miyazaki to Philip Brophy posted at "The Black, The White" (www.electric-rain.net/NihonSun/Black&White/Interview/html)

"I'm completely baffled by the popularity of my work in America. I think it must prove that for all our superficial differences, we humans have a great deal in common." --Hayao Miyazaki through a translator to LOS ANGELES TIMES, October 24, 1999

"From a pure filmmaking standpoint, hs staging, his cutting, his action scenes are some of the best ever put on film, whether animated or not." --American animator John Lasseter quoted in THE NEW YORK TIMES, October 21, 1999

"My own work has been influenced by so many different factors and films: All artists take their place in the continuing cycle of influencing and being influenced.

"In some ways, the history of art represents a great relay race, with each runner transforming the baton as he carries it. At some point, I'll be ready to hand the baton on to the next generation--if they wish to receive it." --Miyazaki quoted in LOS ANGELES TIMES, October 25. 1999

"I think that if you are very genuine in doing films for young children, you must aim for their heads, not deciding for them what will be too much for them to handle. What we found was that children actually understood the movie and what we were trying to say more than the adults." --Hayao Miyazaki quoted in THE NEW YORK TIMES, October 21, 1999

"I've come to the point where I just can't make a movie without addressing the problem of humanity as part of an ecosystem." -Miyazaki quoted in FILM COMMENT, November-December 1998

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Akema Ota. Animator. Met c. 1964; married in October 1965.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Katsuji Miyazaki. Airline parts executive. Worked for Miyazaki Airplane which manufactured rudders for fighter planes; company owned by his brother; died in 1993 at the age of 78.
mother:
Dola Miyazaki. Was bedridden for nine years (1947-55) with spinal tuberculosis; her illness partly informed his anime "Tonari no Totoro"; died in July 1980 at age 71.
brother:
Arata Miyazaki. Born in July 1939.
brother:
Yukata Miyazaki. Born in January 1944.
brother:
Shirou Miyazaki. Younger; worked for advertising firm Hakuhoudo.
son:
Keisuke Miyazaki. Printer. Born in April 1969.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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