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HayaoMiyazaki ((Japanese: ?? ?), Its very name is hallmark in the animated world. He is widely knownas one of the greatest Japanese animation directors. Miyazaki co-founded StudioGhibli in 1985. He directed several films with Studio Ghibli, such as Castle in the Sky (1986), My Neighbor Totoro(1988), and Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989). These films were met withcommercial and crucial success in Japan, even in the wordwide. Especially Spirited Away (2001), it has achievedthe highest-grossing film in Japanese history.

It won a lots of awards, such asthe Academy Award for Best Animated Feature at the 75th Academy Awards and theGolden Bear at the 2002 Berlin International Film Festival. Therefore, it isfrequently ranked among the greatest animated films. Miyazaki’s films havecompletely changed people’s narrow understanding of animation films. Hiscreations have successfully crossed the level and age of the audience.

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Wildlypopular within Japan, throughout these World-renowned films, Miyazaki’sinfluence has gone global, and his art is appreciated by both young and oldworldwide. Myessay will be concentrated on the themes that presented in Miyazaki’s films andhow Hayao Miyazaki, a Japanese filmmaker, changed a nation, even the whole wordthinks about animation, heroes, women and even Japanese society. However, inmany animation films, Miyazaki holds different positions, such as director,producer or writer. He may hold one of the positions, or play multiple roles.So, I will only discuss the animation films which are directed by Hayao Miyazakiin this essay.

 Miyazaki’sfilms can be roughly divided into two themes. Firstly, it always shows theco-existence between human and the nature, and the cruelty of the war, such asNausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (1984), Castle in the Sky (1986), MyNeighbour Totoro (1988), Princess Mononoko (1997) and Spirited Away (2001). Miyazaki’sfilms are rife with some very mature, even adult themes. His work is dense withlayers of meaning and significance that give his films, despite theirinternational popularity and universal relevance, a distinctly Japanesecharacter.

Miyazaki was born during the Second World War. His childhoodexperience has always been a source of his film creation, whether it is thevision of a beautiful pastoral, or abandoned the city, or tired of war,environmental protection and so on, are born from here. Therefore, the crueltyof war, the destruction and regeneration of human civilization, co-existencebetween human and nature…… These topics are constantly discussed and reconsideredin his films. For example, Nausicaa ofthe Valley of the Wind (1984), which is Miyazaki’s early masterpiece.

Thebackground setting of this story is taking place in a future post-apocalypticworld. The film is about the story of Nausicaä, the young princess of theValley of the Wind. She involved in a struggle with Tolmekia, a kingdom thattries to use an ancient weapon to eliminate a jungle of mutant giant insects.In the end of the story, she touched everyone and the giant insects withkindness and became the legendary savior.

 Thisis a typical “Miyazaki type” animation. Positive images of warriors andfighting heroes are scarce in Miyazaki’s tales. His protagonists, just likeNausicaä, usually children and female, tend to be innocent and idealistic, andtheir victories are seldom achieved through violently undoing their enemies. Atthe end of Miyazaki’s films, the villains will eventually be touched by thegoodness of the protagonist.  Miyazaki’sprotagonists are able to save the day, due to these characteristics: innocence,kindness, pure motives, loyalty and dedication, selfless love and a respect forall life.

Just like Nausicaä, she is the daughter of a tribal but she feels agreat respect and affinity for nature; She saved the princess who had killedher father; Although she and her tribe’s life is threatened by the mutant giantinsects, she still saved the mutant giant insect’s little child. Thesepersonality traits often appear on the heroine in Miyazaki’s films, this isalso commonly appearing in many Japanese anime, such as Dragon Ball, One Pieceand Fullmetal Alchemist, those protagonists have a high moral character, theyare selflessness, tolerance, love and sacred.  Besides,Miyazaki’s message of environmental awareness and conservation is deliveredthrough his films. His films are full of traces of industrial civilization,such as ugly aircraft, hot boilers, strange steam trains, etc. He especiallylikes to set the background of the story at the time of the IndustrialRevolution. At that time, the ambitions and desires of mankind to conquer theworld had just begun to be greatly stimulated by the rapid technologicalinvention.

From another perspective, however, he also has a romantic and tragicemotional tendency towards industrial civilization. Therefore, most of theprotagonists in his films are adolescents, which are the most innocent of humanbeings, but have a huge contrast with the ugly background in the story. Thiscontrast provoked a huge tragic energy and contradictory beauty, but also oneof the most attractive place of Miyazaki’s films. Through this concept, heemphasized the harmony between mankind and nature. Thetypical example is Spirited Away. Thestory is about a 10-year-old little girl Chihiro in a mysterious placewonderful experience.

The main scene is in Soup House, an an exquisitebathhouse for Gods relaxation and enjoyment. Parents became fat pigs afterhaving the food in the mysterious place. She met a mysterious young man, Hakuand he arranged for her to work and to save her parents. In the meantime,Chihiro encountered met a lot of people, a customer who mistreated him as thegod of the rotting god, the lonely No-Face, a pair of twin sister and others.Through these various kinds of weird characters, Spirited Away express that people utilize nature and pursue themonetary substance while also losing themselves.

 Thisfilm most special and worth pondering, of course, is the pure and wonderfulfriendship between Chihiro and Haku. Haku is the incarnation of a river. He hasdisappeared in the real world, has been forgotten, but he remembered Chihiro’sname. In return, he is also reborn through his memories of Chihiro. Inaddition, some of Miyazaki’s creations are the representation of Japanesecultural values, such as Kiki’s deliveryservice (1989), Ponyo (2008) and The Wind Rises (2013). InMiyazaki movies, the audience is granted a direct line of communication intoMiyazaki’s hopes, dreams, and fantasies. Through his films, the audience cangain an invaluable insight into strains of thought that have animated thespirit of modern Japan and continue to define her culture and her identitytoday.

 “Kiki’sDelivery Service” is a film of the 80s. Like other Miyazaki’s films, itdirectly inherits the core spirit of the new wave of Japanese cinema that endedin the 1970s: reflection on technology and review of the industrial age, aswell as the true pursuit of nature and humanity. The little witch, Kiki’slonging for the sea, tolerance and concern between people, and to the oldoven…… These details are all revealed the Japanese characteristics. Through theconstruction of Kiki, the image of a Japanese Shojo has successfullyestablished.  AlthoughI simply divided Miyazaki’s work into two themes in this article, in fact,different themes in his work are involved. His creations are not just having asingle theme.

For example, in the film Howl’sMoving Castle, although the theme of the story is anti-war, but the lovestory between Howl and Sophie also occupies a certain length in the film. Fromabove movies, it is obvious to see how Miyazaki’s films reflecting the Japanesecuntural society. In his films, many are set in the context of Japan as abackdrop, and in the film there will be a wide range of Japanese customs setup. The emergence of these traditional Japanese cultural elements not onlyappeals to Japanese audiences, but also attracts many people who are interestedin Japanese culture. Thecharacters in Miyazaki’s movies interact with kami (gods or spirits) becausethey are placed in sacred sites or areas that facilitate this contact.  Inhis films, many are set in the context of Japan as a backdrop, and in the filmthere will be a wide range of Japanese customs set up.

The emergence of these traditionalJapanese cultural elements not only appeals to Japanese audiences, but alsoattracts many people who are interested in Japanese culture. Firstly,one of the obvious example is the painting. Miyazaki is a firm two-dimensionalgraphic maker, he did not use advanced and popular 3D technology, which makeshis animation has a strong sense of art, not just a strong visual impact.Moreover, Miyazaki’s animated images often have the impressionistic taste,which is different from the characteristics of Western painting, tend to bemore emphasis on a virtual beauty. Also, Hayao Miyazaki’s characters often haveUkiyo-e characteristics, especially when expressing their strong emotions. Forexample, Haku in the Spirited Away isa typical example.

Haku is a symbol of Japanese culture. Just as James W. Boydand Tetsuya Nishimura observe regarding the enigmatic character of Chihiro’sfriend and protector Haku: Haku is in some respects the embodiment of traditionalJapanese cultural values. His attire resembles that of the Heian period—hewears something similar to a hakama, part of a Shinto priest’s formal costume.Besides this courtly dress, his speech is formal and traditional. When herefers to himself, he does not use the more colloquial “boku” but the more formal”watashi.

” And when he addresses Sen, he uses the ancient, more noble aristocraticterm “sonata”. The fact that Haku embodies certain traditional values, that heis the one who helps Chihiro in the transitional world, and that Chihiro inturn helps Haku remember his identity, invites interpretation. Perhaps Miyazakiis affirming to contemporary viewers of this anime film some important insightsin the Shinto Japanese tradition that can be helpful in these modern times.

(2014) Thesecond is the spirit in his film. Miyazaki’s work is full of Japanese spirit.It is a national spirit that can push perseverance and persevere towardcruelty, while at the same time developing beauty into trembling. In the Nausicaa of the Valley of the Winds,Nausicaa is a teenager. Her father was killed, and her tribe faced a crisis ofextinction, but she calmly stood in front of all of them in front of a ragingmutant giant insects. She is just a little girl, but she can calm down andcourageously courageously.

I think no other nation except Japan can and canhope to do. Thethird is music. Miyazaki music composer’s old partner is Joe Hisaishi, this isthe cooperation between geniuses, destined to great achievements. Hisaishi madethe music for Miyazaki’s works very classical, a large section of the symphonyand a large section of the vocal. The music not only did not make the work seemdull and old, but played a finishing touch, making the works deep and haveconnotation. The music boldly moves closer to the West in form, but anyone whohas been exposed to Japanese culture can not easily hear the Japaneseatmosphere soaked in. It is a beautiful, refreshing and stirring artisticeffect.

 Inconclusion, Miyazaki reformed Japanese animation. He gave a brand new visionfor his country and let the world understand Japanese society from a verydifferent perspective. In the postmodern context, Hayao Miyazaki animationwhile full of European characters and scene elements, but these elements arewrapped in a Japanese soul.

Due to the universal concern of war, growth andenvironmental protection, the film has also made its way to Asia, Europe andthe United States while achieving success in Japan. It has won recognition andwelcome from all over the world and won a worldwide reputation. Of course,Hayao Miyazaki’s influence on the animation industry is not limited to this, heand his studio, has been continuously influencing Japanese society and theworld, but also inspired have inspired a new generation of animators. He is ahuman treasure.   Bibliography Rayna Denison. (2001) TheGlobal Markets for Anime: Miyazaki Hayao’sSpirited Away.

Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.  Peter Schellhase. (2014) TheConservative Vision of Hayao Miyazaki. Available online: http://www.theimaginativeconservative.

org/2014/11/conservative-vision-hayao-miyazaki.html Accessed: Nov 7, 2014  Tom Mes. (2012) “Interviews:Hayao Miyazaki.

” Midnight Eye: Visions of Japanese Cinema. Available online: http://www.midnighteye.com/interviews/hayao-miyazaki/ Accessed: December 2012 KaoriYoshida (2011) National Identity (Re)Construction in Japanese and AmericanAnimated Film: Self and OtherRepresentation in Pocahontas and Princess Mononoke.

Available online: http://www.japanesestudies.org.uk/articles/2011/Yoshida.html Accessed: Sept 30, 2011 ShigemiInaga (1999) Miyazaki Hayao’s Epic Comic Series: “Nausicaa? in the Valley of the Wind:” An Attempt at Interpretation.Japan: International Research Centre for Japanese Studies, National Institutefor the Humanities 


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