Hayao Miyazaki- Nature, Culture, & Character

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The vast majority of the population has their own ideology on how life should be. It may differ slightly from parent to child, or it may be an exaggerated conflict of beliefs between two politicians. It’s not uncommon for filmmakers, writers and artists alike to incorporate their ideas and philosophies about society into their work. Some filmmakers prefer a slight reference, and others favour the entire story to be filled with symbolic gestures.

One creator who continually strives to present his ideologies on nature and family values through animation is legendary storyteller Hayao Miyazaki.

Although Hayao Miyazaki isn’t a household name for many, his work goes beyond the creative venture that many directors and writers can only dream of reaching. For those who don’t know who Miyazaki is, he co-founded Studio Ghibli, a Japanese animation studio that is responsible for some of the best produce animated films of our time, such as Princess MononokeSpirited AwayKiki’s Delivery Serviceand much more. Miyazaki has a profound love for nature, which is inherently present in his films. He says; “We need courtesy toward water, mountains and air in addition to living things. We should not ask courtesy from these things, but we ourselves should give courtesy to them instead.” I do believe the existence of the period when the “power” of forests were much stronger than our power. There is something missing within our attitude toward nature.”

Miyazaki’s love for nature runs through his films without bogging them down, an important factor to weigh in, as so many writers get caught up in promoting their beliefs that they forget they have a story to tell. In the video essay below from Zackery Ramos-Taylor and Gacinta Moran, the values of Miyazaki and the way he includes them in his films are analysed and presented in great detail. If you want to write a film which reflects your values on society, then the video is a great learning tool to see how one of the masters can do it without drowning the viewer.

“Modern life is so thin and shallow and fake. I look forward to when developers go bankrupt, Japan gets poorer and wild grasses take over.” – Miyazaki

About The Author

Lewis McGregor is an aspiring filmmaker, photographer and online content creator from Wales.