Hayao Miyazaki is one of the many filmmaking gems produced by Japan, who revolutionized the world of animation through his numerous works. The stalwarts of world cinema like Akira Kurosawa as well as movies like 'The Tales of The White Serpent' sparked his interest and he eventually landed up pursuing a career in animation. After taking up a few assignments at a corporate animation studio, Miyazaki learnt the nuances of animation filmmaking at an early stage of his career. The creator’s big plunge into the world of animation was the film titled 'Hols: Prince of the sun', which went on to garner a lot of acclaim. Since then, there has been no looking back for this animator, who has mesmerized audiences worldwide through many of his fine works. He has addressed various themes plaguing the society, such as the environment as well as feminism through his works. This popular director has been honored on many occasions at various award ceremonies and two of his splendid works have been honored with as many as ten awards. Miyazaki has finally hung his boots after a long and path-breaking career in animation. However, he continues to be a great source of inspiration from many people from the younger generation to venture into the field of animation.
Childhood & Early Life
Hayao was born on January 5, 1941 at Bunkyo ward, located in Japan’s capital city, Tokyo. Of the four children born to his father Katsuji Miyazaki, an aeronautical engineer, Hayao was the second.
Japan was severely affected by World War II when Hayao was just an infant. His family relocated to Utsunomiya city owing to the unsafe situation in the capital city.
Miyazaki started his elementary education at an institution in Utsonomiya city and later moved to various other schools such as ‘Eifuku Elementary School’ and ‘Omiya Junior High’.
Since a really young age Hayao was interested in ‘Manga’, a Japanese style of comic. He started reading a lot of these books as a kid and even dreamt of authoring a work of the same kind someday.
While studying at the ‘Toyotama High School’, Miyazaki happened to watch the animated movie ‘The Tales of The White Serpent’ and was really fascinated by the actress who played the lead and the film as a whole.
Miyazaki moved to the ‘Gakushuin University’ located in Tokyo, where he started pursuing his higher studies. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Economics and Political Science in 1963.
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The young man started pursuing his dream, of making a career in animation, in 1963, when he joined the Japanese animation giant, ‘Toei Animation Pvt Ltd’. During his time here, Miyazaki got to work on projects like ‘Wolf Boy Ken’ and ‘Watchdog Bow Bow’.
The animator earned the praises of the ‘Toei’ workers, after he improved the script of their project ‘Gulliver Travels To The Moon’ and became successful in arriving at a convincing end to its story.
Miyazaki got the opportunity to work on the 1968 animated project ‘Hols: Prince Of The Sun’, for which he essayed the role of the chief animator and scene designer. The very next year he worked on the animated project ‘Puss in Boots’.
The year 1971 was one of the most important years of Hayao’s career. He moved from ‘Toei’ to an animation firm called ‘A Pro’ this year and worked on ‘Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves’ as well as ‘Animal Treasure Island’.
He even worked on the animated manga series titled ‘Lupin III’ in 1971. 14 episodes of this animated series were co-directed by Miyazaki himself.
During the rest of the 1970s, Hayao worked on projects like ‘Panda! Go Panda’, ‘Heidi, Girl of The Alps’ as well as ‘Future Boy Conan’ and ‘Anne of Green Gables’.
The year 1984 saw the release of the animated film ‘Nausicaa of the Valley of the wind’. The movie was well-received by the audiences and critics, since it explored many themes such as the environment as well as feminism.
Hayao next worked on the project ‘Laputa: Castle in the Sky’, which released in the year 1986. He then worked on projects like ‘Kiki’s Delivery Service’ and ‘My Neighbor Totoro’.
Even during the 1990’s Hayao mesmerized lovers of manga through his works. His works such as ‘Porco Rosso’ and ‘Princess Mononoke’ were considered to be a deviation from his earlier works and were well-appreciated by everyone.
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Although Miyazaki had retired by the end of the decade, he returned to direction in 2004 through the fantasy film ‘Howl’s Moving Castle’. This animation icon took over the project after its original director Mamoru Hosuda passed away. The movie went on to become a well-acclaimed piece of work.
After a 3-year hiatus from filmmaking, Hayao surfaced with a project named ‘Gake no ue no ponyo’. This feature-length film, which was released in 2008, was well-received and grossed approximately $200 million at the box-office.
This iconic director then worked on the screenplay of the movie ‘The Secret World of Arrietty’, which reached the audiences during mid-2010. He also worked as a screenwriter on a film titled ‘From up on Puppy’, which released the very next year.
Hayao’s last directorial venture was the film titled ‘The Wind Rises’, which released in 2013. The film dealt with a series of events which occurred during World War II.
Although this genius has won numerous awards for various works, he has also been praised for being experimental. One such film which deviated from the norm and yet won the hearts of the audience is 'Howl's Moving Castle'. The movie won Hayao a lot of acclaim, awards and was even screened at the 'Venice International Film Festival'.
Awards and Achievements
During the period 1980-89, this Manga creator was felicitated with four ‘Ofuji Noburo Awards’ for his work in films like ‘Tonari No Totoro’ and ‘Kaze No Tani No Naushika’.
Miyazaki was overwhelmed when he received five awards for his work ‘Sen To Chihiro No Kamikakushi’, in 2002.
This famous director was honored at the ‘Annie Awards’ ceremony in the ‘Outstanding Directing in an Animated Feature Production’ as well as the ‘Outstanding Writing in an Animated Feature Production’ categories for the film ‘Sen To Chihiro No Kamikakushi’ in the year 2003.
Hayao bagged 5 awards in the year 2009 alone for his film ‘Gake no ue en Ponyo’, which included one for ‘Best Direction’ and ‘Best Original Story’.
Personal Life & Legacy
This legend of the Japanese world of animation tied the knot with Akemi Ota, who is also an animator. The couple later became parents to two boys named Koisuke and Goro.
Miyazaki has a son named Goro, who also ventured into direction through the 2006 film titled 'Tales From Earthsea'. The movie went on to be a well-acclaimed work and raked in millions at the Japanese box office.
The acclaimed animation creator has mentioned that the works of the iconic Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa, like 'Rashomon' and 'Seven Samurai' have greatly inspired him and attributes the latter as the reason behind his success.
The house where Miyazaki spent his younger days has been revamped into a museum, over the years. It is believed that the emotional attachment to this residence inspired the animation filmmaker to create some of his masterpieces.
Celebrity NetWorth states that, this Japanese film maker has an estimated net worth of $50 million.
This animator has been referred to as the 'Walt Disney of Japan' by many, however, it is said that the film maker personally dislikes the title.