Koji Hoshino, President of Studio Ghibli, Announces the Retirement of Director Hayao Miyazaki

Left: Miori Takimoto, right: Koji Hoshino, president of Studio Ghibli
Left: Miori Takimoto, right: Koji Hoshino, president of Studio Ghibli

Shocking news was recently announced during the Venice International Film Festival, one of the world’s most prominent international film festivals: Director Hayao Miyazaki, the master representing Japanese anime and the anime world, is retiring from the production of anime films. This news was announced by the president of Studio Ghibli, Koji Hoshino, at the official press conference held in Venice on Sept. 1. Recently, director Miyazaki released his newest film The Wind Rises, a historical piece based on Jiro Horikoshi, the designer of the Zero fighter plane. The movie has been a big hit, with roughly 6.4 million tickets sold and a box-office taking exceeding 8 billion yen. With this news, it seems that The Wind Rises will be Miyazaki’s last film.

President Hoshino and Miori Takimoto, the voice actress who played the heroine Naoko in The Wind Rises, attended the official press conference. As this film was the only Japanese work in competition, and to top that, it was also a Miyazaki masterpiece, Palazzo del Casino, the conference venue with nearly 270 press boxes, was crowded with journalists from all over the world. The announcement about director Miyazaki’s retirement was made at the end of the conference by President Hoshino who stated,
>We were invited to the Venice Film Festival on numerous occasions in the past. Hayao Miyazaki likes Lido Island very much, and he has many friends throughout the world. Please allow me to make an announcement. Director Miyazaki has decided to make The Wind Rises his last and retire. Next week, Miyazaki himself will be holding a press conference in Tokyo, so please understand that I can’t answer any questions regarding his retirement now. Please accept my sincere apologies.

Despite its brevity, this was shocking information to the fans of Miyazaki’s works and Studio Ghibli. The press conference in Tokyo is also likely to gather attention.

As one of the works in the official competition, in which animated films are rarely chosen, The Wind Rises is in race for the main prize, and the press conference was coordinated with that. Director Miyazaki won an honorary Golden Lion for his achievements in Venice in 2005, and a Golden Osella for Howl’s Moving Castle in 2004. Announcing Miyazaki’s retirement in Venice might be a form of showing respect to these awards.

The most concerning aspect of director Miyazaki’s retirement is the future of Studio Ghibli. Ghibli is world-renown for its high-quality theatrical anime films, and it was carried by Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata, who could be called Miyazaki’s mentor. From Laputa: Castle in the Sky in 1986 to the release of Kaguya-hime no Monogatari this November, Studio Ghibli has produced 19 anime films, out of which nine were directed by Miyazaki. If we add the five films directed by Takahata, they make up more than 70% of Ghibli’s films to date, and even Takahata, who has been inactive in recent years, is six years older than Miyazaki. It seems the future of Studio Ghibli rests in the hands of new generation directors such as Goro Miyazaki ( From Up on Poppy Hill, Tales from Earthsea ) and Hiromasa Yonebayashi ( Arrietty ).

Source: AnimeAnime

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