Legendary Animator Hayao Miyazaki Is Retiring

Hayao Miyazaki, one of the world’s most renowned animators, is retiring from making features films.

Studio Ghibli president Koju Hoshino announced Miyazaki’s plan to retire Sunday at the Venice Film Festival, but declined to take any questions. He said a press conference will be held in Tokyo next week.

“He wants to say goodbye to all of you,” Hoshino said.

The Wind Rises(Kaze Tachinu), which was released on July 20, is Miyazaki’s last film and is based on the manga of the same name. The film is a fictionalized biography of Jiro Horikoshi, designer of the A6M Zero fighter aircraft used in World War II. The 72-year-old said he was inspired to make the film after reading Horikoshi’s quote, “All I wanted to do was make something beautiful.” The film was shown in the main competition of the Venice Film Festival.

The Wind Rises will make its North American premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, which will take place September 5 to September 15.

Hayao Miyazaki co-founded Studio Ghibli in 1985 with director Isao Takahata and producer Toshio Suzuki. Eight of studio Ghibli’s films are among the 15 highest-grossing anime films made in Japan. Spirited Away claims the number one spot, having grossed over $274 million.

Miyazaki briefly retired in 1997 following Princess Mononoke, which was the highest-grossing film in Japan that year and won Picture of the Year at the Japanese Academy Awards. During this period, Miyazaki spent time with the daughters of a friend, one of whom became the inspiration for Spirited Away. The film was released in 2001 and was considered one of the best films of the 2000s. It also won an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature in 2002.

Miyazaki followed up Spirited Away with Howl’s Moving Castle in 2004. The film, which was based on Diana Wynne Jones’ 1986 novel of the same name, received an Oscar nomination for Best Animated Feature. It lost to Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit.

Hayao Miyazaki received a lifetime achievement award at the Venice Film Festival in 2005. He has worked on over two dozen films over the course of his career.

[Photo credit: cinemafestival / Shutterstock.com]