Hayao Miyazaki was born in Tokyo, Japan in 1941. He is now the most well-known anime director in the world.
Miyazaki’s father was the director of an aeroplane manufacturing company which generated a love of flying in him which can be seen in most of his works.
After graduating in 1963 with an economics degree from Gakushūin University, he took a position at Tōei Animation as a junior animator. Here, he worked his way up, working on projects such as the television series Ōkami shōnen Ken (“Wolf Boy Ken”) and Taiyō no ōji: Horusu no daibōken (Little Norse Prince). He left the company in 1971 and continued working at numerous studios throught the 70s. It was in 1979 that Miyazaki created his first full-length film, Rupan sansei: Kariosutoro no shiro (Lupin III: Castle of Cagliostro).
He developed his unique style while creating a monthly manga strip called Kaze no tani no Naushika (Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind) for Animage magazine. The story follows princess Nausicaä as she travels through an ecologically ravaged world. The manga was so successful that Miyazaki and his friend Takahata Isao (whom he met whilst working at Tōei Animation) launched Studio Ghibli together in 1985.
A year later Miyazaki’s Tenkū no shiro Rapyuta (Castle in the Sky) was released in Japan and Nausicaä was released in the United States as Warriors of the Wind. Due to bad dubbing and confusing editing, Warriors of the Wind was not a success. It was in 2005, that it was re-released in the west by Disney using its original title and format, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind.
In the following years, Studio Ghibli continued to produce films. In 1988 both Tonari no Totoro (My Neighbor Totoro) and Hotaru no haka (Grave of the Fireflies) debuted. Both films received heavy praise but the sale of Totoro merchandise secured the company financial success.
Other films produced include:
- Majo no takkyūbin (Kiki’s Delivery Service) in 1989
- Kurenai no buta (Porco Rosso) in 1992
- Mononoke-hime (Princess Mononoke) in 1997
- Sen to Chihiro no kamikakushi (Spirited Away) in 2001
- Hauru no ugoku shiro (Howl’s Moving Castle) in 2004
- Gake no ue no Ponyo (Ponyo) in 2008
- Karigurashi no Arietti (The Secret World of Arrietty) in 2010
- Kokurikozaka kara (From Up on Poppy Hill) in 2011
- Kaze tachinu (The Wind Rises) in 2013
Miyazaki received an honorary Oscar from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 2015.