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Hayao Miyazaki

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Hayao Miyazaki (宮崎 駿, Miyazaki Hayao?) (born January 5, 1941 in Tokyo, Japan) is the prominent director of many popular animated feature films. He is also the co-founder of Studio Ghibli, an animation studio and production company.

He remained largely unknown to the West, outside of animation communities, until Miramax released his 1997 Princess Mononoke. By that time, his films had already enjoyed both commercial and critical success in Japan and East Asia. Miyazaki's 2001 Spirited Away is the highest-grossing film of all time in Japan; Princess Mononoke had also briefly retained that distinction.

Miyazaki, the second of four brothers, was born in the town of Akebono-cho, part of Tokyo's Bunkyō-ku. During World War II, Miyazaki's father Katsuji was director of Miyazaki Airplane, owned by his brother (Hayao Miyazaki's uncle), which made rudders for A6M Zero fighter planes. During this time, Miyazaki drew airplanes and developed a lifelong fascination with aviation, a penchant that later manifested as a recurring theme in his films.

In April 1963, Miyazaki got a job at Toei Animation, working as an in-between artist on the anime Watchdog Bow Wow (Wanwan Chushingura). He was a leader in a labor dispute soon after his arrival, becoming chief secretary of Toei's labor union in 1964.

In 2007, the film's title was announced as Gake no ue no Ponyo, literally "Ponyo on a Cliff." The story is said to revolve around a five-year old boy, Sosuke, and the Princess goldfish, Ponyo, who wants to become human. Studio Ghibli President Toshio Suzuki noted that "70 to 80% of the film takes stage on sea. It will be a director’s challenge on how they will express the sea and its waves with freehand drawing." The film will probably not contain any computer generated imagery, or CGI, in direct contrast to Miyazaki's recent work.

His films often emphasize environmentalism and the Earth's fragility. In My Neighbor Totoro, the great tree tops a hillside on which magical creatures reside, and the family worships this tree. This ecological consciousness is echoed in Princess Mononoke with the giant primordial forest, complete with gigantic dragonflies, trees, flowers and wolves. In Princess Mononoke, Laputa: Castle in the Sky and Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, the ecological paradise is threatened by military men and violent state-controlled armies. In each film, the conflict between the natural way of life and the military destruction of culture, land and resources is central to the plight of the protagonist(s). When battle scenes are shown in each, the militaristic music and ecological destruction is paramount to the endangerment of the inhabitants of the villages.Nausicaä flying her Mehve over the Valley of the Wind

Miyazaki has illustrated several manga, beginning in 1969 with Puss in Boots (Nagakutsu wo Haita Neko). His major work in this format is the seven-volume manga version of his tale Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, which he created from 1982 to 1994 and which has sold millions of copies worldwide. Other works include Sabaku no Tami (砂漠の民, People of the Desert?), Shuna no Tabi (シュナの旅, The Journey of Shuna?), The Notebook of Various Images (雑想ノート, Zassō Nōto?), and The Age of the Flying Boat, which was the basis of his film Porco Rosso).


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