Miyazaki's Retirement Press Conference

Miyazaki's Retirement Press Conference


Article by: Leen Isabel

Ghibli founder, Hayao Miyazaki, explained his reasons for leaving feature films on September 6th, 2013 during a press conference. Studio Ghibli President Koji Hoshino and Miyazaki's longtime producer Toshio Suzuki were also in attendance.

Select Notes from Miyazaki's Retirement Press Conference
Studio Ghibli founder, Hayao Miyazaki, explained his reasons for leaving feature films on September 6th, 2013 during a press conference. Studio Ghibli President Koji Hoshino and Miyazaki's longtime producer Toshio Suzuki were also in attendance.

Hoshino announced on Sunday that Miyazaki is retiring from making feature films making The Wind Rises Miyazaki's 11th and final feature film. Disney's Touchstone Pictures will release The Wind Rises in North America with an English dub produced by Studio Ghibli International and Frank Marshall (From Up On Poppy Hill, The Secret World of Arrietty, Ponyo). The film is already making the rounds at the film festivals in Venice, Toronto, and New York, and it will play in an Oscar-qualifying one-week run in Los Angeles in November.

Following are notes taken by Geek Girl Leen Isabel from the conference:

When asked what he will be doing with his time off, Miyazaki answered that as long as he can drive, he would like to visit the studio everyday.

When asked if there will be a sequel to his new movie (The Wind Rises). He answered bluntly, "No."

When asked about the next Kaguya-hime movie if Miyazaki will have any future involvement in it, he answered no.

On reasons for retiring:
Miyazaki spoke about how Ponyo took him 5 years to create. He said that if he were to work on another feature film, it may take longer due to his age.

On tourism at the Ghibli Museum. He would love to participate and be involved at the museum. "Maybe I will be an exhibit!"

What does he think about being a Director at the museum?
He would like to be involved with the items featured at the museum. Some of the art featured and the colors on the wall in the museum looks faded. He would like to be involved in restoring the museum.

He is asked, "Which Studio Ghibli film is Miyazaki's favorite film?"
His answer is Howl's Moving Castle. "Life is worth living" was the message he wanted to portray from the books.

On the future of Studio Ghibli
- It's future depends on the aspirations and determination of the younger staff.

Are there other feature films you wanted to do?
- There are tons of things we wanted to do but there are reasons why we did not do them. It is something I should not mention publicly.

Miyazaki speaks about the frustration of getting older. He has to remove his glasses to draw and hunch over. And has noticed that he would have to stop drawing earlier than usual. Another reason as to why he knew he needed to retire.

Miyazaki doesn't watch other animation or media while working.
He doesn't have any comments on the current or future trends in anime.

Thoughts on France? (After being previously asked his thoughts on Italy)
His answer: "To be honest, Italian food is tastier for me. At Christmas, I went to France. Foie Gras is tough. The Louvre was very good. I liked Italian food better. That's not a problem, I hope. "

What was the toughest thing about making films? 
"Toughest: Schedule. I never made a film in which I knew how it would end. Meaning, we would start working on a film w/o knowing how it would end. I personally felt that if I knew the end, it was not something we should work on. IN regards to storyboarding, it wrote it like a monthly magazine. Every single staff did not know how it would conclude. Thank you for sticking around with me. ... Continuing to think about it was meaningful for me. ...Discussion would lead to deeper understanding of the film. It was tough process. ... That was my working days."

In the world of feature animation, were you able to express all of the thoughts you wanted to create?

"I have not come to a conclusion on that. I think it would be difficult if I did not do my best. If it was completed, that was it. I tried not looking back."

Were you in the middle of your 40s when you found Studio Ghibli. How has Japanese society changed? 
When I think of the state of Japan back then, Japan had become an economic country. Japan had become big. I was frustrated about that. I made Naussica. Totoro and Kiki's Delivery Service. Economy was on a rise. USSR went away in 1985. Japan bubble burst during that time. ... I saw a lot of change in the history of the world. ... During the downturn we worked on a film with the hero as a raccoon and other films until we made Mononoke-hime.

Release of Studio Ghibli films in China:

China has a quota on releasing foreign film. While the release of films is increasing, they have no progress on it yet.

On his Favorite Directors: "Norshteyn. ... Aardman Animations. They are friends. I don't watch recent movies at all. I can't comment on that. I will be watching Takahata's films, but it would be rude to peek."

Ponyo was released in Hong Kong years ago. 5 years ago, i interviewed you and since then you seem to have lost a lot of weight? How are you health wise?
"To be accurate, I weigh 66.2 kg. 50 years ago, I was 57 kg as an animator. But then I got married and started eating 3 times a day. I gained weight and became over 70 kg. Look at the photos from back then, I look like a pig. I knew I had to watch my health. I don't know if it is conspiracy by my wife. I hope I can pass away at 57 kg. I do have a lot of health problems, but there are many people who care about me. They make me do things, so I follow them. And I think I should be ok."

So you are saying you are healthy right now?

"When you make a film, you are very stressed out. Walking makes you healthy. This summer was way too hot. I am not walking enough yet. If I walk more, I will be healthier."

How did your wife respond to your retirement announcement?
To his wife he said he told his staff about his retirement, but he needs her bento boxes everyday. "She said, 'Huh. There is no wife that continues to make lunch boxes everday at this age.' I don't know if she said it exactly like that, but in that sense."

The earlier films were released every 2-3 years. It's been 5 years between the recent two films. In addition to age, what other reasons for the delay?
Miyazaki mentioned that Studio Ghibli was able to make one film a year in the past. For Nausicca, Totoro, Kiki and Castle in the Sky, they had ideas for them. After those, it took longer to gather ideas. Also, his staff writers and animators were younger and dedicated. As they aged, they had priorities to their families. Because of that it took longer.

Hayao Miyazaki's final comment:

"I didn't expect this many people to join us. Thank you for you support and time and this will never happen again."

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September 06 2013

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