"An audience with Miyazaki, Japan’s animation king"

Hayao MiyazakiThe Japan Times just published this story by Mark Schilling about an appearance by Hayao Miyazaki’s at the Foreign Correspondents Club in Tokyo on November 20th. He notes that, “After the event, his most widely quoted remark was a dig at Prime Minister Taro Aso, who has often publicly proclaimed his love of manga. “It’s an embarrassment,” said Miyazaki. “He should do that sort of thing in his private time.”

Schilling added:

Miyazaki also lamented that today’s children live too much in the virtual worlds of TV, games, e-mail, mobile phones and comics, and too little in nature. “It takes away their strength,” he said.

In other words, he occasionally sounded more like a cranky 67-year-old (his actual age) than someone who has devoted his entire adult life to creating manga and anime himself ….

Gake no Ue no Ponyo (Ponyo On the Cliff by the Sea)

Miyazaki’s latest film, Gake no Ue no Ponyo (Ponyo On the Cliff by the Sea), is another winner at the box office, having “grossed nearly ¥15 billion [over $161 million] since its July release.”

The story notes that,

Miyazaki does not expect his films—or any films—to find wide appreciation 30 years after their release. “That is, audiences today can no longer enjoy films that are more than 30 years old, save in a historical sense,” he said.

When an elderly journalist countered with the example of the 1942 classic “Casablanca,” Miyazaki was unfazed.

“The films you value can be lifelong friends, but if “Casablanca” were released now, it wouldn’t be a hit,” he said. “If (Yasujiro) Ozu were making his movies today, they would play in one theater.”

On the perennial question on who might succeed him at Studio Ghibli:

He has not formally appointed his successor at Studio Ghibli, though his son Goro, who made his directorial debut in 2006 with the hit fantasy “Gedo Senki” (“Tales from Earthsea”), is the obvious heir apparent.

“I don’t favor him because he’s my son,” Miyazaki said, with a hint of irritation. “He’ll face his true test (as a director) the next time around.”

In the meantime, here’s a trailer (in Japanese) for his newest film:

Author: Harvey Deneroff

Harvey Deneroff is a Los Angeles-based independent animation and film scholar specializing in labor history. He formerly taught at the Savannah College of Art and Design and was editor of Animation Magazine, Animation World Magazine, and Graiffit (published by ASIFA-Hollywood). He is the founder and past president of the Society for Animation Studies.

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