Saturday, January 5, 2013

Hayao Miyazaki turns 72

Today marks the 72nd 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.

Although he's been in and out of retirement a few times in recent years, Miyazaki is still pushing forward at 72 and breaking new ground at Studio Ghibli.  His next feature film, Kaze Tachinu, will be released in Japanese theaters this summer as a double feature with Isao Takahata's new film Kaguya-hime no Monogatari.  This release will mark the second double feature from Miyazaki and Takahata after the pairing of Grave of the Fireflies (Hotaru no Haka) and My Neighbor Totoro (Tonari no Totoro) in 1988.

I am eagerly looking forward to Miyazaki's next film and the continuation of what has already been a long and successful career in animation.  Happy Birthday!