Artist Series: Introducing Hayao Miyazaki

June 5, 2013

Arts, Film, Visual Art

Hayao Miyazaki

Hayao Miyazaki

Hayao Miyazaki is a Japanese film director, animator, manga artist, producer, and screenwriter. Throughout the 50 years of his career, Miyazaki and his works are recognized worldwide. Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, and My Neighbour Totoro are some of the artist’s highest-grossing films.

Although he was interested in drawing, Miyazaki entered Gakushuin University and studied political science and economics with the hope of helping Japan reestablish its economy and recover from the war. His interest in children’s stories flourished in college as well. He graduated in 1963, but instead of going into politics or academics, he joined an animation studio called Toei-Cine.

Miyazaki’s success started in 1965 while working as an in-between artist on the Toei production Gulliver’s Travels Beyond the Moon. When he thought that the original ending to the script was unsatisfying, he pitched his own idea; which became the ending used in the final film.

After leaving Toei in 1971, Miyazaki worked in Mushi Production, A Pro, Nippon Animation, and TMS Entertainment where he was able to co-direct six episodes of the first Lupin III series.

Along with Isao Takahata, he co-founded Studio Ghibli, a film and animation studio in 1985. In 1988, Miyazki’s fantasy My Neighbor Totoro established itself as the filmmaker’s most highly acclaimed endeavor to date.

Miyazaki takes a leading role when creating his films, often woking as both writer and director. The artist uses very human-like movements in his animation. Also, water colors are used in much of his works. Unlike American animation, the script and storyboards are created together. The animation begins while storyboards are still being developed.

Miyazaki’s films often contain themes like humanity’s relationship with nature and technology, and the difficulty of maintaining a pacifist ethic. The protagonists of his films are usually strong, independent girls or young women. Miyazaki sometimes feels pessimistic about the world; however, he prefers to show children a positive world view, and rejects the stereotypes of good and evil.

Jennifer Shim


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