5 Hayao Miyazaki
Television cartoons are big business in Japan, where around 40 new animated TV series are produced every week. One of the country’s most popular animators, Hayao Miyazaki, has produced some of the great classics of Japanese TV animation. Nevertheless, he finds television too restrictive, and prefers to make full-length animated movies.
Though he is not well-known outside Asia, Hayao Miyazaki is a household name in his homeland. His amazing drawing skills, entertaining plots, and well-rounded characters have made timeless masterpieces out of films such as "Princess Mononoke” and “My Neighbor Totoro” He is widely respected by Japanese of all ages, and has won the admiration of animators and filmmakers around the world.
Hayao Miyazaki was born in Tokyo in 1941. His family owned a factory that built airplanes, and he fell in love with planes and flying at an early age. Anyone familiar with his films has seen the often breathtaking flying scenes that are his personal trademark.
Miyazaki’s career as an animator began in 1963 when he joined Toei Animation to work on a TV series called “Wolf Boy Ken."While there, he fell in love with a fellow animator, Akemi Ota, who later became his wife.
At Toei, he also teamed up with Isao Takahata, beginning a partnership that would last many years and lead to some of the great success stories of Japanese animated film. Miyazaki and Takahata changed studios several times and worked on a number of successful TV series in the 60s and 70s. Both men were, however, more interested in the challenge of producing feature-length animated movies.
In 1984，Miyazaki released a film based on his own manga series, “Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind." It was a huge success, enabling Miyazaki and Takahata to set up their own company, Studio Ghibli. They were finally free to concentrate on doing what they liked best: making high-quality animated feature films.
Studio Ghibli got its name from an Italian word meaning “a hot wind that blows through the Sahara Desert.” It was used by Italian pilots during World War II in reference to their planes, and Miyazaki, who loves both flying and Italy; felt the name captured the spirit of his work.
Since it opened in 1985, Studio Ghibli has gone from strength to strength. “Princess Mononoke” is the second-biggest box-office hit in Japanese movie history, and “My Neighbor Totoro," as well as attracting huge audiences, was successful in another way. Sales of stuffed toys based on its odd central character helped the studio build a sound financial base.
Throughout his career, Miyazaki has traveled widely in search of inspiration. Now, he is firmly established as a figure who provides inspiration to others. Skilled animators at the Disney Corporation, with whom Ghibli recently set up a partnership, have acknowledged their debt to Hayao Miyazaki. He has, without a doubt, earned his place in the animators' hall of fame.