Tag Archives: Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday Hayao Miyazaki

Hayao Miyazak

Hayao Miyazak

Born this day in Tokyo in 1941, Hayao Miyazak, a Japan­ese artist, film direc­tor and ani­ma­tor of many pop­u­lar fan­tasy fea­ture films. In his fifty year career he has pro­duced and directed over a dozen inter­na­tion­ally acclaimed films, along with part­ner Isao Taka­hata, founded Stu­dio Ghi­bli. The suc­cess of Miyazaki’s films has invited com­par­isons with Amer­i­can ani­ma­tor Walt Dis­ney, and he has been named one of the most influ­en­tial peo­ple by Time magazine.

The list of his more pop­u­lar films is not short. These include: Tenkû No Shiro Rapyuta (Laputa: The Cas­tle in the Sky), Tonari No Totoro (My Neigh­bor Totoro), Mononoke Hime (Princess Mononoke), Sen To Chi­hiro No Kamikakushi (Spir­ited Away), Hauru No Ugoku Shiro (Howl’s Mov­ing Cas­tle), Gake No Ue No Ponyo (Ponyo On The Cliff) and this year’s Karig­urashi No Ari­etti (The Bor­rower Arri­etty), which he produced.

Gake No Ue No Ponyo is said to be his last direc­toral project.

Born in Tokyo, Miyazaki began his ani­ma­tion career in 1961 when he joined Toei Ani­ma­tion. From there, Miyazaki worked 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 released 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 his tem­po­rary retire­ment in 1997 fol­low­ing Princess Mononoke.

While Miyazaki’s films have long enjoyed both com­mer­cial and crit­i­cal suc­cess in Japan, he remained largely unknown to the West until the Amer­i­can release of Princess Mononoke. At home, Princess Mononoke was the highest-grossing film in Japan, and it proved equally pop­u­lar abroad. Miyazaki returned to ani­ma­tion with Spir­ited Away, which was nom­i­nated for Best Ani­mated Film by the Acad­emy of Motion Pic­ture Arts and Sci­ences (which it even­tu­ally won, among many other awards). The film 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.