By Melissa Platero, CCNN Writer
Animation legend Hayao Miyazaki, known for classics like Princess Mononoke, Howl’s Moving Castle, and Spirited Away, is getting a mix of negative and positive attention for his Oscar-nominated The Wind Rises.
The film explores prewar Japan by focusing on real life World War II fighter plane engineer Jiro Horikoshi. Okay, so what’s the big deal? Well, critics point out that Horikoshi’s creation, the Mitsubishi A6M Zero, was used in tragic events like the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Since Miyazaki spins such beautifully animated visuals in a dream-like story, they think he’s making the ugliness of war seem attractive.
However, author Roland Kelts, who wrote Japanamerica, has a very different view of Miyazaki. He’s interviewed the director before, and says that Miyazaki is a pacifist (someone against war) who is well aware of the dark realities of World War II.
In fact, Miyazaki has been branded a “traitor” before by fiercely pro-Japan people for speaking out against the country’s past. In an interview with the Asahi Shimbun, the director said, “Japan went to war out of foolish arrogance, caused trouble throughout the entire East Asia, and ultimately brought destruction upon itself… but for all this humiliating history, the Zero represented one of the few things that we Japanese could be proud of.” Even though the plane was an intimidating war machine, the director wanted to focus more on the brilliant mind of its designer.
Well, whether you agree that the film glorifies war or simply view it as a stunning masterpiece of emotional wonder, it’ll certainly be interesting to see if it wins an Oscar on March 2!
Images courtesy of TheWindRisesMovie on YouTube.