Hayao Miyazaki Retires From Filmmaking, Fans Shocked

Written by Alain Littaye. Posted in Features

Tagged: ,


Published on September 04, 2013 at 4:00 am with 19 Comments

We have some major but very sad news out of Japan where Hayao Miyazaki, the animation genius, has announced that he is set to retire. His upcoming film, The Wind Rises, will be his last animated movie.


Hayao Miyazaki, is undeniably one of the greatest director of animated movies of all time.  Acclaimed the world over for lovingly directed films such as Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke, Ponyo, Howl’s Moving Castle and many others. While his box office was nearly all Japanese, he has a loyal and growing fan base here in the United States as well, including nearly ever animator we’ve ever met.  John Lasseter refers to Miyazaki as his God.


His last movie Kaze TachinuThe Wind Rises in english – is currently in competition at Venice Film Festival where the movie was acclaimed after the screening. Miyazaki, 72, couldn’t attend Venice film festival but he announced that a press conference will be organized soon in Japan where ”The Wind Rises” has already been released to huge success.


“The Wind Rises” told the true story of a plane engineer – Jiro Horikoshi – who designed the famous war plane Mitsubishi “Zero” that was used by the Japanese during WW II. When he was a child, Jiro dreamed to fly and to design planes inspired by those of Italian engineer Italo Caproni. Because he couldn’t be a pilot, due to his myopia, he landed in the engineering division in 1927 and became one of the most brilliant airplane designers in the world. He then fell in love with Nahoko, a young woman that he previously encountered in a chance meeting years before.


Hayao Miyazaki wrote and directed the film based upon a manga comic book by Tatsuo Hori. It recounts major points in the 20th century, including the 1923 earthquake at Kanto, the Great Depression, the deadly tuberculosis epidemic and the entrance of Japan in World War II.


“The Wind Rises” will be released in Europe and in the U.S in 2014 and appears to be an epic animated movie. I may be wrong, but i have the feeling that Miyazaki has created an epic romantic movie set in among historic events, along the lines of “Doctor Zhivago”. As a huge fan of Miyazaki myself, I can’t wait to see “The Wind Rises,” but I’m filled with sorrow that he is retiring. Below, you’ll find the trailer for his last film.

If you’ve never watched any of Miyazaki animated movies, and you are a lover of animation, you MUST see these films. All of them are masterpieces, but my personal favorites are “Spirited Away” and “Princess Mononoke”. To have a genius of this altitude announcing that he will not direct anymore is a great loss. Hopefully, his Studio Ghibli will continue to produce animated movies, much as the Walt Disney Company carried on without Walt. But no one can replace a genius 2D animation director like Miyazaki. It’s the end of an era.

Are you a Miyazaki fan? How did this news strike you? What are your favorite Studio Ghibli films?

About Alain Littaye

Alain is the author of Disneyland Paris: From Sketch to Reality and a long time Disney historian and blogger. His book is known the world over as one of the best Disney theme park books ever assembled. You'll often find his work featured in the MiceChat Weekend Update and can find his latest musings on his personal blog: Disney and More Blog.

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  • loaloa55

    Just added on Disney and more these last News From Hayao Miyazaki Press Conference About His Retirement From Animated Movies, bringing ( relatively ) good news after my above article:

    As you’ve read a few days ago Japanese animation master Hayao Miyazaki has announced that The Wind Rises will be his last movie. As expected a press conference happened this morning in Japan – picture below – and D&M have more explanations about his decision.

    First, it was in fact Koji Hoshino, the director of production who announced it at Venise Film Festival as Miyazaki couldn’t attend the event. But unfortunately this changes nothing as Miyazaki confirmed during the press conference that “this time it’s true, i said it to the producer”.

    But, Miyazaki also said “I would like to work 10 more years but i think that doing long animated movies is not my work anymore”. Although Miyazaki said many times in the past that he was going to stop, mainly because of the huge work that request an animated movie, this time seems to be the good one even if he wants to continue to work freely during the next ten years: “I’m going to be free. That said, as long as i will be able to take my car to go working at Studio Ghibli, i will go, and what i want to do i will do it” without giving more details.

    “Kaze Tachinu – The Wind Rises – took me five years to achieve. If i was thinking doing a new movie it will take me six or seven years to do it. I will be soon 73 and and it means that i will be 80 at the end” added Miyazaki who consider that he has to dedicate these years of his life to something different.

    So, here is the truth from the master’s mouth. May be we will have the luck to see short animated movies from Miyazaki but don’t count seeing a new long animated movie after the release of The Wind Rises, which will be distributed by Disney as Disney confirmed recently, without giving any specific dates.

  • fnord

    Although I don’t care much for the anime look, I saw princess mononoke at a theatre
    and found the final sequences to be breathtaking. So, apparently, did the animators
    of Fantasia 2, as one of the segments seemed to me to be a direct tribute/ ripoff.
    I’ve also seen Spirited and Howls on the big screen. Such strange, enchanting films.