Today marks the 71st birthday of animator and Studio Ghibli co-founder Hayao Miyazaki.
Born on January 5, 1941 in Bunkyo, Tokyo, Japan, Miyazaki became an artist at an early age. Fascinated with aviation, he began drawing airplanes and started what would become a life-long obsession with flight, a theme that is heavily incorporated into many of his films. During high school, he devoted his efforts to becoming a manga artist, but after seeing Japan's first full-length animated feature, The Tale of the White Serpent, he discovered that animation was his passion. The rest, as all Ghibli fans are well aware, is anime history.
To me, Hayao Miyazaki and his films are like a fine wine, getting better with age and becoming more valuable as years pass. Although he's been in and out of retirement a few times in recent years, Miyazaki is still pushing forward at 71 and breaking new ground at Studio Ghibli. Early reports indicate that he is already hard at work on the next feature film he will direct, his eleventh since directing Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro in 1979.
I look forward to the cinematic tales Miyazaki still has to tell in the years to come and hope for the continuation of what has already been a successfully long career in animation. Happy Birthday!