Hayao Miyazaki, one of the most acclaimed and respected animators in the world, is really retiring this time. He spoke to the press in Tokyo on Friday, days after Studio Ghibli announced his retirement at the Venice Film Festival.
Studio Ghibli co-head Koji Hoshino said in Venice last week that Kaze Tachinu (The Wind Rises) will be Miyazaki’s final film. The Oscar-winning director of Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro and Ponyo is 72.
“I’ve mentioned that I would retire many times in the past, so a lot of you must be thinking ‘Oh, not again,’” Miyazaki said Friday, notes The New York Times. “But this time I am quite serious.”
The Wind Rises took Miyazaki five years to make and he fears that another one could take up to seven years to complete, reports The Wall Street Journal.
“My time for long animated films has come to an end,” he said. “I need to step away from the desk half an hour sooner than I would have needed to when I was making Ponyo.”
Miyazaki’s press conference drew 600 journalists from 11 counties, a true sign of his international stardom. He remains one of Japan’s most well-known filmmakers and all of his movies have been box office hits there. Spirited Away is still the highest grossing film in Japan’s history.
“Watch the movies, everything I want to say is there,” he told the crowd when asked if he had any messages for his fans.
Hoshino said that Studio Ghibli has two more films in production, so the studio will continue to work without one of its founding members.
The Wind Rises is a fictional version of the life of Jiro Horikoshi, who designed the Mitsubishi A6M Zero fighter plane that Japan used in World War II. It is being released in North America by Disney’s Touchstone.
image: Wikimedia Commons