Japanese animation director, Hayao Miyazaki, retires

By Melissa Platero, CCNN Writer

Hayao Miyazaki
Hayao Miyazaki.

Hayao Miyazaki, the critically acclaimed Japanese animation director, will retire after his last movie The Wind Rises. Koji Hoshino, who is the president of Miyazaki’s production company, Studio Ghibli, announced the sad news during a press conference at the Venice Film Festival where The Wind Rises was screened.

“Miyazaki has decided that ‘Kaze Tachinu’ (The Wind Rises) will be his last film, and he will now retire,” Hoshino said. He did not give any further details, but informed the audience that Miyazaki would speak about his decision in Tokyo next week.

In an industry of CGI and computer animation, Miyazaki became a legend for sticking with beautiful, hand-drawn animations and scenery. Despite the fact that Miyazaki is mainly known in America for his movies Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle, and Princess Mononoke, he has made 11 feature-length films that are admired internationally.

Most recently, Studio Ghibli released Miyazaki’s 11th feature-length film called The Wind Rises in Japan. The epic film has a strong anti-war message, and was met with some controversy in Japan and South Korea. Set in between two World Wars, The Wind Rises is a fictional account of the life of Jirô Horikoshi, the engineer who designed the Mitsubishi A6M Zero fighter plane that was used to attack Pearl Harbor in 1941.

Japanese conservatives have slammed Miyazaki for his anti-war stance, while others are upset that he’s glorifying a man who made destructive weapons. Miyazaki defended his production with an explanation. “My wife and my staff would ask me, ‘Why make a story about a man who made weapons of war?’” he said. “And I thought they were right. But one day, I heard that Horikoshi had once murmured, ‘All I wanted to do was to make something beautiful.’ And then I knew I’d found my subject.”

Despite the controversy, The Wind Rises has made more than $80 million in Japan after a 6-week release period. Disney announced last week that it would distribute the movie in the United States but did not have a release date yet. Okay, so even though we’re clutching onto our copy of Spirited Away with tissues in hand, at least we know there’s one last Miyazaki adventure to look forward to!

Featured image courtesy of Natasha Baucas on Wikipedia. Image and video of The Wind Rises courtesy of Tiff on YouTube and Hayao Miyazaki.