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Hayao Miyazaki, Japanese Director and Animator

In the sumptuous world of anime, one name stands at the forefront; Hayao Miyazaki. Miyazaki’s animated career has spanned over a half century, pushing artistic boundaries through the production studio he cofounded. Studio Ghibli is still immensely popular with audiences around the world today.

Illustrating the Mundane and the Fantastic

Possibly the greatest example of the impact Miyazaki has had upon animation and art through the end of the 20th century and into the 21st is the sheer volume of anime and manga art that he has been involved with during his career. With 10 full-length animated feature films, Hayao Miyazaki has influenced artists from every walk of life.

From his earliest days as an animator in 1963 for Toei Productions to his first full-length animated feature in 1965, Gulliver’s Travels Beyond the Moon to the final days of Studio Ghibli as a production studio in 2014, Miyazaki has depicted the human experience in his own unique style.

Films such as My Neighbor Totoro (1989) Princess Mononoke (1997), Spirited Away (2001), and Howl’s Moving Castle (2004) captured the imagination of audiences and led them on grand adventures that defied the norms of reality and pushed intellectual, emotional and societal boundaries.

Fast Facts About Miyazaki

Hayao Miyazaki was born in Tokyo, Japan on January 5, 1941. His father was the director of Miyazaki Airplane, which built parts for Zero fighter planes, and this familial love of airplanes and flying was reflected in the animator’s creations throughout his career.

Young Miyazaki saw the first feature length color animation, Hakujaden, or The White Snake in 1958, it was produced by Toei Animation studio. He would begin his career there, leaving in 1971 to work in various studios throughout the70’s with his friend and partner, Takahata.

Toei Animation: Where Studio Ghibli Began

His early career as an animator began at Toei Animation, a division of a production company of the same name that is the largest producer of animation in Asia in 1963 as an entry-level animator.

Toei Animation studios is where he met his future business partner, friend, and collaborator Isao Takahata with whom he cofounded Studio Ghibli. He also met his wife, Ōta Akemi during his time at Toei.

Studio Ghibli 1985 to Today

Over the course of three decades, Studio Ghibli produced the top 15 grossing animated films in Japan. The animation department closed in 2014, but Studio Ghibli continues on in a production capacity.

Miyazaki has directed 23 animated films and animated 21 films during his illustrious career. These films, alongside library of television and manga productions have inspired some of today’s most influential celebrities in every artistic field.

The Mythical Man/The Living Legend

Miyazaki is now 77 years old, he retired officially as of 2014. He’s not as adept at staying retired as he is at conjuring panoramic landscapes and conveying human existence in manga style; he has been involved in many ventures both politically and in the colorful world of anime.