Last weekend it was announced by the President of Studio Ghibli that Hayao Miyazaki, the Japanese film maker renowned for his work on Ghibli films such as Howl’s Moving Castle and the Academy Award-winning Spirited Away, would be retiring from featured films. The announcement came as a surprise to many, but despite the importance of his retirement, apprehension followed: this was not the first time Miyazaki has announced his retirement.
Miyazaki held a press conference in Tokyo yesterday where he addressed his retirement, the motivation behind it, and how he plans to continue contributing to Studio Ghibli films as he settles into retiring from creating and directing featured films.
The Wind Rises, Miyazaki’s latest film, will be his last. The Japanese legend can no longer sustain the twelve to fourteen hour days and six to seven year-long commitments needed to helm one of Studio Ghibli’s films. This doesn’t mean the end for Miyazaki’s contributions to Ghibli films, however; the director has specifically noted that he’ll continue to go into the studio for as long as he can and find his own unique ways to contribute to Ghibli’s films and projects.
“I know I’ve said I would retire many times in the past. Many of you must think, `Once again.’ But this time I am quite serious.”
Speaking on his decision to retire, Miyazaki stated that he would “like to work for at least 10 more years, but I think that making feature films is no longer my job.” Hearing the motivation and passion in his comments stating that he will still be around at Studio Ghibli should be good news to fans saddened by his departure, as it’s very likely that we’ll still feel the Miyazaki touch on many Ghibli films for years to come.
“I’m going to be free. At the same time, as long as I can drive my car to the studio, I’ll go. If there are things I want to do, then I will.”
Most importantly, Miyazaki says, he’ll continue to spread the message that he’s been aiming to spread through his films for the past four decades:
“I wanted to convey the message to children that this life is worth living. This message has not changed.”
The Wind Rises, the final Miyazaki-helmed film, is “a fantasy-filled, fictionalized tale about the man who designed Japan’s World War II fighter planes.” It had its initial release in June and will be followed by a wider release on DVD by Disney later this year.