Hayao Miyazaki

Miyazaki, Hayao (mēyäˈzäˌkē) [key], 1941–, Japanese animator. Japan's preeminent maker of animated films (anime), Miyazaki is thought by many to be the world's finest living animator. He draws, writes, and directs magical motion pictures filled with a wide array of human characters (notably big-eyed adolescent girls), witches and wizards, amazing animals, and fantastical creatures interacting in plots that blend fantasy and reality into universally appealing fables. Miyazaki graduated from Gakushuin Univ., Tokyo, in 1963, the year he began drawing cels at Tokyo's Toei animation studio. During the 1970s he worked at various studios, collaborating on films and television series, made shorts, and released his first full-length animated film, Lupin III: Castle of Cagliostro (1979).

In 1982 Miyazaki began writing a manga (a comic strip–text combination) called Nausicaä of the Valley of Wind, the saga of a princess struggling to live in an evil and environmentally toxic world, and in 1984 he released a film of the same name and theme—his first great success. The following year he and fellow animators Isao Takahata and Toshio Suzuki founded Studio Ghibli, which produced a string of Miyazaki's films, e.g., My Neighbor Tortoro (1988) and Porco Rosso (1992). Miyazaki achieved broad critical acclaim and commercial success with Princess Mononoke (1997), the first of his films to use some computer-generated imagery, and he also won nearly universal praise for Spirited Away (2001, Academy Award) and Howl's Moving Castle (2004). The Wind Rises (2013) examines the life of the designer of Japan's World War II Zero fighter plane; though nuanced and poetic, with a distinctly pacifist message, the film stirred up considerable controversy in Japan. The Ghibli Museum in Tokyo is devoted to his work.

See H. McCarthy, Hayao Miyazaki: Master of Japanese Animation (1999).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Film and Television: Biographies