Hayao Miyazaki Talks Retirement

By Gray, Jason | Screen International, September 6, 2013 | Go to article overview

Hayao Miyazaki Talks Retirement


Gray, Jason, Screen International


Legendary Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki bid farewell to animated feature film-making at a press conference announcing his retirement in Tokyo.

Following Studio Ghibli president Koji Hoshino's preliminary statements at the Venice Film Festival last Sunday, the 72-year-old creator of beloved classics such as Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke and My Neighbour Totoro explained his reasons for stepping down.

"In a 12-14 hour day I can only spend about seven hours drawing, plus discussions, meals and the like. Things that are not part of my work," he said.

"My work is being at the drawing desk. It's a question of hours, and at my age you reach a limit where you have to put down the pencil and go home.

"No matter how well you maintain your health, powers of concentration degrade year on year.

"People may ask why I don't rely on someone else, but I would've done that already. It's not the way I work. I feel I can't go any further."

Joining Miyazaki were Hoshino and head producer Toshio Suzuki. Suzuki was instrumental in helping launch Studio Ghibli and has served as producer on all of Miyazaki's films since 1989's Kiki's Delivery Service.

Resolute on retirement

Miyazaki had expressed his intention to retire in the past, most notably after 1997's Princess Mononoke and again after 2008's Ponyo, but this time he was resolute.

"After Ponyo it took five years to make The Wind Rises," he explained. "Another film would take more than that, due to my age. In four months' time I'll be 73, meaning I'd be close to 80 at the release. If I said I'd like to go on, it might be foolish."

Miyazaki directed 11 feature films throughout his career but said he never had any intention to become a director. "As an animator, if you can capture things like wind and light well, you feel joy, but a director waits for others' judgement. Not good for health."

Takahata to continue

To Miyazaki's amusement, his 77-year-old longtime colleague and Studio Ghibli co-founder Isao Takahata refused to join the press event and has not announced any plans to stop. Currently in post-production, Takahata's own The Tale of Princess Kaguya will be released on November 23.

The Wind Rises has earned $92.7m (Y9.23b) in Japan since its July 20 opening and will be released in the US by Disney under the Touchstone Pictures label next year. …

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