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Thursday, December 15, 2005


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5 January 1941


Animator, Director

Bio Summary

Hayao Miyazaki was born on 5 January 1941 in Tokyo, Japan. After graduating from Gakushuin University with degrees in Political Science and Economics, Miyazaki entered Toei Douga in 1963 and began his career as an animator. In 1971, he moved to A-Pro with Isao Takahata, and then, in 1973, moved again to Nippon Animation. At Nippon Animation Miyazaki became heavily involved in the TV animation series, World Masterpiece Theater, and in 1978, directed his first TV series, Conan, the Boy in the Future. In 1979, Miyazaki moved once more to Tokyo Movie Shinsha, where he directed his first movie, Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro. In 1984, Miyazaki released Nausicaa of the Valley of Wind, the success of which led to the formation of Studio Ghibli, where Miyazaki have directed, written, and produced many other films with Takahata, all of which have been box office successes.

In addition, Miyazaki also draws manga (Japanese comics) intermittently. He works include the epic Nausicaa of the Valley of Wind (1982-1994), on which he based his film of the same title, and Hikoutei Jidai, which evolved into the 1992 Ghibli film Porco Russo.

Early Life/Family

Hayao Miyazaki is the second oldest of 4 brothers. His mother was a strict intellectual woman and his father was the director of Miyazaki Airplanes (owned by Miyazaki's uncle). Between 1944 and 1946, the Miyazaki family evacuated to Utsunomiya
City and Kanuma City in Tochigi Prefecture.

From 1947 to 1952, the young Hayao went to three different grade schools. First, he attended first through third grades at a school in Utsunomiya City. Next, he spent the fourth grade at Omiya Elementary School in Suginami-ku, Tokyo, when his family moved back to Suginami-ku. Hayao switched to the brand-new Eifuku Elementary School, which was a new branch of the Suginami-ku school, for the fifth grade.

From 1947 to 1955, Hayao's mother was sick in bed with spinal tuberculosis (a total of nine years!). She spent the first few of these years in the hospital. MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO is, in many ways, an homage to this ordeal. In fact, several critics regarded this anime highly as an "I story" (autobiographical story).

Between 1953 and 1955, Hayao graduated from Eifuku Elementary and attended Omiya Junior High. Between 1956 and 1958, Hayao graduated from Omiya Junior High and went on to Toyotama High, a public senior high school. In his third year, he sees the first-ever Japanese feature-length color anime, HAKUJA DEN (Directed by Yabushita Taiji for Toei Douga in 1958), and becomes interested in animation. Hayao decides he wants to become a comic artist but- having previously drawn only planes and battleships- finds he can't draw people.

From 1959 to 1962, Hayao graduated from Toyotama High and entered Gakushuin University. There, he majors in economics (with his final thesis being on the theory of Japanese industry), and joins the school's "children's literature research club," which was the closest thing to a comics club in those days.

In 1963, Hayao graduated from Gakushuin University with degrees in Political Science and Economics. He lands a job at Toei Douga (Toei Animation) in April. There, he is trained for three months, and becomes an in-betweener. His first assignment is the feature, WATCHDOG BOW WOW, after which he is moved to Toei's first TV series, WOLF BOY KEN.


1956-55 Eifuku Elementary and Omiya Junior High
1956-58 Graduated from Omiya Junior High attended Toyotama High
1959-62 Graduated from Toyotama High and entered Gakushuin University (majored in economics)
1963 Graduated from Gakushuin University; trained for three months at Toei Douga and became an in-betweener

Career Outline

1963 In-betweener at Toei Douga
1964 Chief Secretary of Toei Douga’s labor union
1965 Began volunteer help to Isao Takahata on Prince of the Sun
1968 Key animator on Puss in Boots
1969 Key animator on The Flying Ghost Ship
1971 Left Toei Douga and joined Takahata and Yoichi Otabe at A-Pro
1974 Quit A-Pro and joined Zuiyo Pictures: Scene designer and organizer for Heidi: Girl of the Alps
1980 Became chief instructor for new animators at Telecom; directed episodes 145 & 155 of Lupin III TV series.
1983 Production for Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind was under
1984 Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind was released; Miyazaki and Takahata formed their Nibariki (Two-Horse Power) Office.
1985 Studio Ghibli was founded

Comments On Style

Miyazaki's films are all optimistic because he makes films for children and young adults, and he feels that it is important for them to see the world positively and too have hope. Visually, his characters don't have the stereotypical "big-eyed" anime look. Thematically, his films are a lot like those great British fantasy writers, using realism in the service of fantasy. There's a great deal of human warmth in his films, and reflects his attention to the psychology of children. He has a very painterly sensibility, and really prefers traditional animation over computer animation.


Osamu TEZUKA- At first, Miyazaki wanted to become a manga writer. Ever since his childhood, he loved Tezuka's manga. But one day, he realized that his manga were just an imitation of Tezuka, and he burned all the manga he had written. He says he struggled to write his own manga, but found that he couldn't. As for Tezuka as a creator of animation, Miyazaki is harder on him. He criticizes Tezuka's work as no good, and blames Tezuka for ruining the Japanese animation industry by dumping.

Hakujaden (Legend of the White Snake)- Miyazaki saw this first Japanese animation feature film by Toei Doga when he was a high school senior. He was so moved by it, he says he couldn't stop crying the whole night. He confesses that he fell in love with the heroine, Pai-nyan. This film sparked his interest in animation.

Snezhnaya Koroleva (Snow Queen)- A Russian animation film directed by Lev Atamanov, 1957. Miyazaki saw this film when he was unhappy about his job and wondering if he should continue working as an animator. Miyazaki was so moved by it, he "decided to continue working on animation with renewed determination". He says that he learned that characters in animation can act if they are animated well enough, and animation can move people as other media can do. We can see its influence on Horus, such as the design of the Forest King; and the two sides of Hilda.

La bergere et le ramoneur (The Shepherdess and the Chimneysweep)- The French animation classic by Paul Grimault, 1952. This film showed Miyazaki that animation can be targeted at adults. He incorporated several ideas from this movie in his Castle of Cagliostro, such as trap doors, a room in a tower with an elevator, the wedding of the tyrant and the heroine, the hero crashing the wedding, etc._Ramoneur was revised by Grimault and re-released in 1979 under the name Le roi et l'oiseau (The King and the Bird).

Yuri Norstein- A Russian animation creator, who made Tale of Tales. Miyazaki's colleague, Isao Takahata, wrote a book about him.

Frederic Back- Miyazaki saw Crac! by this Canadian animator, when he was visiting the United States. He says that he was so blown away by it, that he got depressed by comparing it to what he was doing then. He wrote a liner note for the Japanese laserdisc of The Man Who Planted Trees, and in it, he said that he was truly impressed by how Back animated plants, something very difficult to do. Takahata wrote a book about the film The Man.

Disney- It's a well known fact that he doesn't like Disney. However, he says he likes the early short films by Disney such as Silly Symphonies. It seems that he has a problem with the storytelling in Disney films.

Fleischer Brothers- Miyazaki paid homage to their cartoons in Farewell Beloved Lupin and Porco Rosso.

Writers and Novelists- Miyazaki loves and has been influenced by the works of Ryotaro SHIBA, Yoshie HOTAA, and Sasuke NAKAO.





He has a wife who was also an animator at Toei Doga, and two sons. Miyazaki's first son is a landscape designer, and he designed the garden on the rooftop of Studio Ghibli. Miyazaki's second son, Keisuke Miyazaki, made the woodcut print, "Craftsman Making a Violin in Prison", which Shizuku saw in the book in Whisper of the Heart. Miyazaki says that having children really changed his work. He said he had always tried to make his anime to please his children while they were growing up.

He has three brothers. He said that being a second son really affected how he thinks and acts.
His mother suffered from spinal tuberculosis for a long time. This affected his relationship with his mother, and Miyazaki says that this might have affected the relationship between Nausicaä and her mother in the manga. "Mother away from home because of sickness" was a motif used in Totoro.

He was born into an affluent family who owned a company which made wingtips for Zero fighters during the war. Miyazaki felt guilty about growing up comfortably under parents who made money from the war, while others suffered from it. This seems to have affected his ambivalent feelings towards war and weapons.


1963 Wan Wan Chushingura (Watchdog Bow Wow), Ookami Shounen Ken (Wolf Boy Ken)
1964 Shounen Ninja Kaze no Fujimaru (Boy Ninja: Fujimaru the Wind)
1965 Garibaa no Uchuu Ryokou (Gulliver’s Space Travels), Hassuru Panchi (Hustle Punch)
1966 Reinbou Sentai Robin (Rainbow Trooper Robin), Mahoutsukai Sarii (Sally the Witch)
1968 Taiyou no Ouji Horusu no Daibouken (Little Norse Prince Valiant)
1969 Nagagutsu wo Haita Neko(Puss n Boots), Soratabu yuureisen (The Flying Ghost Ship)
Himitsu no Akko-chan (Secret Little Akko), Muumin (Moomin)
1971 Doubutsu Takarajima (Animal Treasure Island), Aribaba to 40-ppiki no Touzoku (Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves), Nagakutsushia no Pippi (Pippi Longstockings), Sarutobi Ecchan (Monkey-Style Jumper Ecchan), Rupan Sansei (Lupin III)
1972 Panda Kopanda (Panda! Go Panda!)
Akadou Suzunosuke (Red-armored Suzunosuke)
Yuki no Taiyou (Yuki's Sun)
1973 Panda Kopanda—Amefuri Saakasu no Maki (Panda Go Panda: The Rainy Day Circus), Kouya no Shounen Isamu (Wasteland boy Isamu), Samurai Jaiantsu (Samurai Giants)
1974 Arupusu no Shoujo Haiji (Heidi: Girl of the Alps)
1975 Furandaasu no Inu (A Dog of Flanders)
1976 Haha wo Tazunete Sanzen-ri (From the Apennines to the Andes)
1977 Araiguma Rasukaru (Rascal the Raccoon)
1978 Mirai Shonen Konan (Conan, the Boy in Future)
1979 Akage no An (Anne of Green Gables), Rupan Sansei Kariosutoro no Shiro (Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro)
1980 Rupan Sansei (Shin)-Shi no Tsubasa Arubatorosu (Lupin III (New series), Albatross: Wings of Death), Rupan Sansei (Shin)-Saraba Itoshiki Rupan yo (Lupin III (New series)-Aloha, Lupin!)
Tetsujin 28go (Shin) (Gigantor)
1982 Meitantei Houmuzu (Sherlock Hound), Kaiketsu Zoro (The Amazing Zorro), Kobura (Cobra), Ritoru Nimo (Little Nemo)
1984 Kaze no Tanino Naushika (Nausicaa of the Valley of Wind)
1986 Tenkuu no Shiro Rapyuta (Laputa: Castle in the Sky)
1987 Yanagawa Horiwari Monogatari (The Story of Yanagawa’s Canals)
1988 Tonari no Totoro (My Neighbor Totoro)
1989 Majo no Takkyuubin (Kiki’s Delivery Service), Akai karasu to Yuureisen (Red Crow and Ghost Ship)
1991 Omohide Poro Poro (Only Yesterday)
1992 Kurenai no Buta (Porco Rosso), Sora Iro no Tana (The Sky-colored Seed), Nandarou (What is it?)
1994 Heisei Tanuki Gassen Pon Poko (Heisei-era Tanuki War Pom Poko)
1995 Mimi wo Sumaseba (Whisper of the Heart), On Your Mark
1997 Mononoke Hime (Princess Mononoke)
2001 Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi (Spirited Away)
2004 Hauru no Ugokushiro (Howl’s Moving Castle)


Annie Award: Winsor McCay Award 1998
Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the 2005 Venice International Film Festival

Related Links

New Yorker Article

Miazaki Biography

Miazaki's Influences

Miazaki's Family

Bibliographic References


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