The Most Famous Anime Artist Ever

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In this article, we dive deep into the life of one of the most famous anime artists ever. The life of Hayao Miyazaki is an interesting one, and in this article, we cover what makes Hayao Miyazaki the most famous anime artist worldwide. Keep on reading!


Key Takeaways

  • Miyazaki’s works focus on themes such as humanity’s relationship with nature and technology.
  • His career began in 1963 when he joined Toei Animation and worked on various anime productions.
  • Miyazaki (including a few others) founded Studio Ghibli in 1985 and directed numerous critically acclaimed films.
  • Miyazaki has received numerous accolades for his contributions to animation and cinema, including the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.

Hayao Miyazaki in Short

Hayao Miyazaki is a famous Japanese animator, director, producer, screenwriter, author, and manga artist, born in Tokyo in 1941.

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Hayao Miyazaki poses during the photocall for ‘Ponyo on the cliff by the Sea’ at the 65th edition of the Venice Film Festival in Venice, ITALY-31/08/08/0808311637 (Newscom TagID: sipaphotostwo133107) (Photo via Newscom)

He joined Toei Animation in 1963 as an in-between artist and later collaborated with director Isao Takahata.

Miyazaki provided key animation to several films at Toei before moving to A-Pro in 1971, where he co-directed Lupin the Third Part I. After joining Zuiyō Eizō in 1973, he directed the television series Future Boy Conan (1978).

Miyazaki founded Studio Ghibli in 1985 and directed numerous critically acclaimed films, including:

Miyazaki’s works often focus on themes such as humanity’s relationship with nature and technology, the importance of art and craftsmanship, and the difficulty of maintaining a pacifist ethic in a violent world.

His films frequently feature strong female protagonists and morally ambiguous antagonists with redeeming qualities.

Miyazaki’s works have been highly praised and awarded, and he has received numerous accolades for his contributions to animation and cinema.

Despite announcing his retirement in 2013, Miyazaki returned to work on the upcoming feature film How Do You Live? (inspired by the 1937 novel of the same name by Genzaburo Yoshino).

Miyazaki’s Early Life and Career

Hayao Miyazaki was the second of four children and was born into a wealthy family. His father, Katsuji Miyazaki, was the director of Miyazaki Airplane, which manufactured rudders for fighter planes during World War II.

Miyazaki’s mother, Yoshiko, who suffered from spinal tuberculosis, was frugal and described as a strict, intellectual woman who regularly questioned socially accepted norms.

Miyazaki’s childhood was shaped by the bombing of Japanese cities during World War II. Miyazaki had an interest in manga from a young age, but he struggled to draw people.

However, he was inspired by the first feature-length animated film in color, Panda and the Magic Serpent, and it sparked his interest in animation.

Miyazaki attended Gakushuin University and majored in Japanese Industrial Theory. During his time in college, he drew manga and accumulated thousands of pages of the beginnings of stories.

Career

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Toei Animation.

In 1963, Miyazaki was employed at Toei Animation, where he worked on various anime productions. Miyazaki was also a leader in a labor dispute and later became chief secretary of Toei’s labor union in 1964.

In 1968, he worked on The Great Adventure of Horus, Prince of the Sun, and was influenced by Yasuo Ōtsuka.

He left Toei Animation in 1971 and directed or co-directed 23 episodes of Lupin the Third Part I at A-Pro. In 1972 and 1973, Miyazaki wrote, designed, and animated two Panda! Go, Panda! shorts, directed by Isao Takahata. Miyazaki also directed the television series Future Boy Conan (1978).

Breakthroughs in the Film Industry

In 1979, Miyazaki left Nippon Animation to join Telecom Animation Film as a director. He directed his first feature anime film, The Castle of Cagliostro, and helped train the second wave of employees.

Miyazaki also directed six episodes of Sherlock Hound in 1981, until issues with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s estate led to a suspension of production.

Miyazaki wrote the graphic novel The Journey of Shuna, and in 1982, he began developing his sketches and ideas into a manga titled Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, which was published from February 1982 to March 1994.

He agreed to work on a film adaptation of the manga with the condition that he could direct, and this led to the release of the movie “Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind” in 1984, which was a huge success and cemented Miyazaki’s reputation as an animator.

Following the success of Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, Miyazaki opened his own personal studio in 1984 named Nibariki.

Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli

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Studio Ghibli.

Studio Ghibli was founded in 1985 by Miyazaki, Takahata, Tokuma, and Suzuki with funding from Tokuma Shoten.

Its first film, Laputa: Castle in the Sky, was released in 1986 and was the highest-grossing animation film of the year in Japan.

My Neighbor Totoro, released in 1988, was a critical success but did not do well at the box office. In August 1992, Studio Ghibli set up its headquarters in Koganei, Tokyo, and Miyazaki directed two television spots in November 1992.

Miyazaki began working on Princess Mononoke in 1994, using both traditional (hand-drawn keyframes and cel shading) and computer animation techniques to create the film’s visuals.

He drew inspiration from his trips to Yakushima and Shirakami-Sanchi, and revisited the ecological and political themes of his earlier film Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. Princess Mononoke was critically acclaimed and commercially successful, becoming the first animated film to win the Japan Academy Prize for Picture of the Year.

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Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind by Hayao Miyazaki.

Miyazaki’s next film, Spirited Away, was inspired by his desire to create a film for young girls. Production began in 2000, and the film was released in 2001 to critical and commercial success, winning the Japan Academy Prize and the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.

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Spirited Away by Studio Ghibli.

It became the highest-grossing film in Japan, a record it held for almost 20 years (Your Name by Makoto Shinkai and Comix Wave Films (one of the best animation studios worldwide) currently holds the record for highest-grossing film in Japan).

Impact and Legacy

As Osamu Tezuka is considered the godfather of manga, Hayao Miyazaki, is considered the “godfather of animation in Japan.” He has been described as a genius who sets exacting standards for himself, his peers, and the studio staff.

Miyazaki’s work has been praised for shaping not only the future of animation but also filmmaking in general, and his stories are said to have captured viewers otherwise unfamiliar with anime.

He has been an inspiration to numerous animators, directors, and writers around the world, including Wes Anderson, James Cameron, and Steven Spielberg, among others.

Miyazaki was the subject of an exhibit at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Los Angeles in 2021, featuring over 400 objects from his films.

Conclusion

Hayao Miyazaki, born in Tokyo in 1941, is a famous Japanese animator, director, producer, screenwriter, and author, and is considered to be the grandfather of animation in Japan.

He started his career as an in-between artist and then joined A-Pro and Zuiyō Eizō, where he directed Lupin the Third Part I and Future Boy Conan, respectively.

Miyazaki founded Studio Ghibli in 1985 and directed numerous critically acclaimed films that focused on themes such as humanity’s relationship with nature and technology.

Miyazaki’s works have received numerous accolades for his contributions to animation and cinema. Despite announcing his retirement in 2013, Miyazaki returned to work on the upcoming feature film How Do You Live?

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Honorary Award recipient Hayao Miyazaki during the 2014 Governors Awards in The Ray Dolby Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland Center® in Hollywood, CA, on Saturday, November 8, 2014 (image credits).

Feature image credits.

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