Excerpts of Hayao Miyazaki's news conference announcing his retirement

September 06, 2013

By ROY AKAGAWA/ AJW Staff Writer

In formally announcing his retirement on Sept. 6, Oscar-winning anime director Hayao Miyazaki reflected on his work and what he was trying to convey through his films in a news conference in Musashino, western Tokyo.

A"Statement of formal retirement" was also issued at the news conference.

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The statement is translated here in full:

I want to be able to work for another 10 years. I want to continue with my work as long as I am able to drive to and from work. As one measure of how long I want to continue to work, I have settled on 10 years.

It is only a measure of 10 years because it might end up being shorter, depending on my life expectancy.

I have always wanted to create feature-length animation movies, and that is what I have done. However, there was nothing I could do about the longer and longer time that has passed between movies. In other words, I have only become slower and slower at work.

It has been five years between my last work and "Kaze Tachinu" (The Wind Rises). The next work could come in six or seven years, but Studio Ghibli would not last if I kept that up and I would use up all of my 70s, or in other words, I would use up all the time I had left.

Even if it is not a feature-length anime, there are other things I want to do and try. There are also many things that I feel I have to do, such as working on the displays at the Ghibli Museum.

Almost all of those things, whether I end up doing them or not, will not cause any trouble to the studio. However, I will end up causing trouble as before to my family.

For that reason, I asked Studio Ghibli to remove me from its program.

I am free. However, my daily life will not change at all, and I will likely commute down the same road as before. My dream is to be able to take Saturdays off, but I don't know if that will turn out as I hope for until I actually go about doing things.

Thank you very much.

***

Excerpts of the news conference follow:

Question: Do you have something to say to your fans in South Korea, where there is discussion about the Zero fighter aircraft in the movie "Kaze Tachinu"?

Miyazaki: As long as people watch the movie, I feel they will understand. Rather than what people say, I hope people will watch the movie. People from various nations watch our movies, and that makes me happy. But the theme of "Kaze Tachinu" deals with the destruction of Japan as it moved toward militarism, so doubts have been raised about the theme from even people close to me. I made the movie with the intent of trying to respond to those questions. I think people will realize what I am trying to convey if they view the movie.

Q: What is the largest difference between now when you are serious about retirement and your past suggestions that you might quit?

A: It took five years between "Ponyo" and "Kaze Tachinu." If I were to start thinking about the next feature-length movie, it will likely take more than five years, considering my age now.

I will turn 73 in a few months, but if my next movie should take six or seven years to complete, I would be 80 by the time it was done.

I feel that my age of making feature-length animation movies has ended.

Q: What is the message that you have been trying to convey through all your movies?

A: Since I entered this world (of animation) after being influenced by many works of children's literature, fundamentally, I felt that what had to be at the base of our work was transmitting to children that this is a world that is worth living in.

Q: You have created many anime films that are based in Italy, but does that mean you like Italy? I also believe the Ghibli Museum would have more visitors if you became head curator.

A: I love Italy, including the fact that it never seems to come together. I have friends there, the food is delicious and the women are beautiful.

Rather than greet visitors to the museum, I want to redraw some of the displays at the museum because some have faded due to passage of time. That is something I always wanted to do. I feel I have to continue working to keep up the museum in a lively fashion.

Q: Do you plan to continue to transmit various ideas to overseas audiences?

A: I do not want to become a man of culture. I think of myself as the owner of a small local factory so I want to continue with that stance. I have not thought much about transmitting overseas.

Q: Did your comment about feeling that the times have passed you and "Kaze Tachinu" influence your decision to retire?

A: Since I started out drawing animation, I have to continue to draw in order to express anything. I have strongly felt that the time on which I can concentrate on drawing has unmistakably shortened over the years. People may say how about trying a new method, but I cannot do that, so that is why I reached the conclusion that I would no longer be able to creature feature-length movies.

Q: You said earlier that you loved Italy, but what about France?

A: To be honest, I much prefer Italian food to French cuisine.

I was greatly influenced by the French animator Paul Grimault when I was much younger and that has not changed even now. French movies had a much greater influence on my becoming an animator than Italian movies.

Q: What made you happiest in creating anime?

A: I was happy as an animator when certain drawings came out perfectly in expressing the wind or water. I felt being an animator was a good occupation that matched my personality.

Q: How has Japanese society changed in the period since you started Ghibli?

A: When we started Ghibli, Japan was thinking very highly about itself. That was a time when Japan had become an economic power and everyone was proud. I was angry at that attitude, and that was why I created "Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind."

After the asset-inflated bubble economy burst and the Soviet Union collapsed, I felt we could no longer create works that were an extension of what we did in the past.

The image of Ghibli was created because it was slightly connected to the bubble economy, but ever since, there has been a long decline in Japan.

By ROY AKAGAWA/ AJW Staff Writer
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Animation filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki cracks a big smile during a news conference to announce his retirement from filmmaking on Sept. 6 in Musashino, western Tokyo. (Hiroyuki Yamamoto)

Animation filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki cracks a big smile during a news conference to announce his retirement from filmmaking on Sept. 6 in Musashino, western Tokyo. (Hiroyuki Yamamoto)

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  • Animation filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki cracks a big smile during a news conference to announce his retirement from filmmaking on Sept. 6 in Musashino, western Tokyo. (Hiroyuki Yamamoto)

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