When pondering influential figures of the Japanese animated film industry, one name stands above them all, “Hayao Miyazaki.” Miyazaki’s career as a director, animator, manga artist, producer, and screenwriter has spanned over fifty years, sharing his success with his work partner Isao Takahata, the co-founder of influential film and animation studio, Studio Ghibli.
His award winning films have captured the hearts of a global audience. In fact, according to the Motion Picture Producers Association of Japan, his film Spirited Away (2001) is currently the highest-grossing film in Japanese history, having grossed over ¥30 billion, (equivalent to over approximately $310 million AU.)
Spirited Away was actually what introduced me to the world of Ghibli, seven years ago at the end of the school year in a French class. Ever since that fateful ‘bludge period,’ my love for Miyazaki and his films has since grown exponentially. Yet, why have these films captured our hearts? Perhaps the secret lies within one of the master’s famous quotes, “in order to grow your audience, you must betray their expectations,” a motto which certainly applies to my experiences with his films. Each of his films, without fail, have both surprised and delighted me, the wonderful characters, artwork, stories, and soundtrack enchanting me.
Researching his online presence, I discovered that he wasn’t publicly active on any social media site. However, it appeared that his work had a life of it’s own. Everywhere I looked I found fans sharing and creating original content related to Studio Ghibli, just look at the tumblr tag.
I’ve personally participated in this celebration of Ghibli as a fan. In fact, reflecting on past instagram posts, the photos I’ve posted which garnered the most likes were all related to Studio Ghibli. Furthermore, another instance demonstrating the pervasive nature of Studio Ghibli, at the recent Sydney Supanova I attended a few months ago, perusing through stalls I discovered a plethora of Ghibli merchandise, even running into cosplayers dressed as Chihiro & No-Face from Spirited Away.
Regarding my digital artifact, I’ve been thinking of either blogging or vlogging about my experiences. Focusing on Anime, & Manga, perhaps one of my posts could be a communication with fellow Ghibli fans, interviewing the fans across the web, asking them about their experiences with Hayao Miyazaki and what he means to them, whilst answering the questions alongside them.
The legend himself has permeated headlines of late, following the announcement of his retirement, and of the rumoured shutting down of his beloved studio. This news has inspired a torrent of fan made content dedicated to the man, demonstrating the incredible love and devotion the world has for this brilliant man. The sheer size of the portfolio of fan content dedicated to and inspired by the man which exists here on the internet demonstrates quite fervently the love, enthusiasm, and devotion of this amazing community is nothing short from inspiring. And to think that all of it wouldn’t exist without this man.
Hayao Miyazaki, domo arigatou gozaimasu.
Are you a fan of Studio Ghibli & Hayao Miyazaki? What does Studio Ghibli mean to you? What’s your favourite film? Why? Feel free to let me know in the comments.
– Sudo (2014) “‘Frozen’ Ranks as Third-Biggest Hit in Japan,” The Wall Street Journal, Accessed August 20 2014, http://blogs.wsj.com/japanrealtime/2014/06/04/frozen-ranks-as-third-biggest-hit-in-japan/
– Ashcraft (2013) “Hayoa Miyazaki Explains Why He’s Retiring,” Kotaku, Accessed Aug 20, 2014 http://kotaku.com/hayao-miyazaki-explains-why-hes-retiring-1261922844
– Ashcraft (2014) “Studio Ghibli Is Not Dead Yet,” Kotaku, Accessed Aug 20 2014, http://kotaku.com/studio-ghibli-is-not-dead-yet-1615520289