Lunch with Hayao Miyazaki in Tokyo

By in Events & Review


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Being the media ignoramus that I am, I thought Hayao Miyazaki (of Studio Ghibli) has made some great animated films (such as Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle and Princess Monokoke) which were well respected in the right circles. So I was a little surprised by the OMG reactions from every friend (Japanese or not) to which I mentioned that I would be attending a professional luncheon with the aforementioned. Evidently his films are the highest grossing films of all time in Japan.

And the man himself did very little to betray my initial and misguided assumption. Indeed, I’m left with the impression of a hard working and spiritual man who hopes for positive change in a world he feels has been derailed from this in the pursuit of econmic growth.

“Films with a happy ending after cutting someone up or shooting them are not the kind of film I want to make.”

I was always refreshed by the “anti-disney” plot lines of his works. There were never clear baddies or goodies, everyone has their own story and reasons behind their actions. Indeed Miyazaki seems to have a rather blameless outlook, not pointing the finger away from oneself, rather he identifies that “all problems that exist in the world exist inherently in yourself, your family.”.

“Paradise is in the memories of infant hood, where we are protected by our parents.”

Childhood was a strong theme during his talk. Communicating to children, even more so in the age of technology, is a motivation behind his work. Clearly Miyazaki understands the potential and lasting influence of his work and guides his studio to creating films that both appeal to and have a positive influence on the younger generations.

“Children should learn how to create fire and climb trees, the government should help facilitate this education. In pursuit of economic growth the government has taken away conditions that allow such learning.”

I’m not sure whether Mr Miyazaki is a reader of Ekchart Tolle’s books, but I feel he’s barking up the same tree. In his own worlds he “tries to affect change in those close to and around him”. Anyway a good lunch even if the salmon wasn’t the best.

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