The life of Hayao Miyazaki

He's the creative mastermind behind modern animated classics "Princess Mononoke" and "Spirited Away." This is the life of Hayao Miyazaki.

“I believe that our work’s main goal is to tell children that life is worth living. That hasn’t changed.”

He’s the founder of the biggest animation studio in Japan. He’s a pacifist, a feminist, and a strong advocate for the environment. He’s a two-time Oscar winner. This is Hayao Miyazaki.

Hayao Miyazaki was born in Japan, in 1941, in a middle-class family

During the war, his father, who owned an aeronautical company, participated in the production of Japanese fighter planes. When he was 4, the city of Utsunomiya, where he lived, was destroyed by bombs. The landscapes of ruins and destruction would later take prominence in his work. As a child, due to his fragile health, he spent his days reading and learning how to draw. After graduating college, he started working at Toei Animation, where he became active in the labor union promoting social justice. In 1984, in “Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind,” he depicted a post-apocalyptic world where Nausicaä fights to restore the balance between humans and nature.

Following the movie’s success

He founded his own animation studio, Studio Ghibli, with his friend Isao Takahata. In 1996, Studio Ghibli signed an agreement with Disney for the distribution of their movies around the world. In 1997, he had 2 heroines face each other off in "Princess Mononoke," and the movie’s success brought him global fame. At 61, his movie “Spirited Away” won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. The movie, which depicts a little girl forced to work in the world of spirits, generated more than 300 million dollars worldwide. In 2006, Time Magazine voted him one of the "Asian Heroes" of the past 60 years.

His impact on animation

In 2013, in “The Wind Rises,” he told the story of Jiro Horikoshi, the creator of Japanese fighter plane Mitsubishi A6M, reflecting on the tragic role of war in people's lives. That same year, he announced his departure from the studio for the seventh time at the age of 72. At 74, he received the Academy’s Honorary Award for his impact on animation. In 2016, Hayao Miyazaki announced yet another comeback with his movie called “How Do You Live?” In October 2019, the movie's producer declared that only 17 minutes of the movie had been completed. Therefore, the movie won’t be released before 2022.