Internationally acclaimed anime director Hayao Miyazaki formally announced his retirement at a jam-packed Sept. 6 news conference in Tokyo--and this time he said he was serious.
"My time for creating feature-length animation movies has come to an end," said the 72-year-old Miyazaki at a news conference attended by about 600 reporters representing domestic and foreign media organizations, some coming from as far away as Italy and France.
An announcement had been made earlier at the 70th Venice International Film Festival by Koji Hoshino, the president of Miyazaki's Studio Ghibli Inc., that "Kaze Tachinu" (The Wind Rises) would be Miyazaki's last movie. "Kaze Tachinu" has been entered in the competition category at the Venice film festival and is currently playing in cinemas throughout Japan.
"I have caused a stir in the past by saying I was quitting," Miyazaki said at the start of the Sept. 6 gathering. "But I am serious this time."
He said he would leave the creative program at Studio Ghibli, but stopped short of specifying what plans he had for retirement.
"I will be free to choose what I want to do or not want to do," Miyazaki said. "There are things that I have always wanted to do, but it does not involve animation."
As for the future of Studio Ghibli, Toshio Suzuki, company producer, said that "Kaguyahime no Monogatari" (The tale of Princess Kaguya), a work by director Isao Takahata, will be released in Japanese theaters on Nov. 23. He also said the studio is preparing another movie for release next summer.
Miyazaki said he leaves Studio Ghibli in capable hands.
"Since a heavy load will be lifted from the top, I hope that younger staff members will come up with various ideas for what they want to do," he said. "The future will depend on the ambition, hope and abilities of various people."
Miyazaki was born in Tokyo in 1941. His first work as a movie director was "The Castle of Cagliostro."
In 1985, he co-founded Studio Ghibli with colleagues, among them Takahata and Suzuki.
Miyazaki has turned out a number of masterpieces during his long career, including "My Neighbor Totoro," "Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind" and "Ponyo."
"Spirited Away," which hit cinemas in 2001, broke Japanese box-office records and won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature as well as the Golden Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival.
Miyazaki was a recipient of the 2001 Asahi Award. The Japanese director also received the Golden Lion award at the 2005 Venice International Film Festival.
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