We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

Who is Hayao Miyazaki?

Tricia Christensen
Updated May 23, 2024
Our promise to you
PublicPeople is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At PublicPeople, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Hayao Miyazaki is a director and animator who is hugely popular in Japan, and is well respected by the rest of the film world. His films tend to feature strong young women as principal characters. Miyazaki's films are perhaps best known for their fantasy element and their willingness to take on serious issues like environmentalism and anti-fascism.

Miyazaki was born in 1941 in Tokyo, during the Second World War. His father owned an aviation company, and most of Miyazaki's films represent his long-term fascination with flying. After the war, Miyazaki watched his mother battle with tuberculosis for eight years. Her love of reading greatly inspired him, and she was known for her need to question authority. Film critics suggest that most of Miyazaki's female leads are either a tribute to or based on his mother.

The director graduated from Gakushuin University with dual degrees in political science and economics, but it was his membership in the Children's Literature Research Club that was more influential on his later work. The club was similar to a comic book club. There, Miyazaki met others interested in both children's stories and animation.

Hols: Prince of the Sun, which was released in 1968, was the first film where Miyazaki was principal illustrator. In 1979, The Castle of Cagliostro was his directorial debut. Both represent collaboration with director Isao Takahata. After the success of the 1984 film Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, Miyazaki and Takahata co-founded Studio Ghibli, which would produce most of Miyazaki's later endeavors.

Castle in the Sky is the earliest Studio Ghibli film. Miyazaki was introduced to English speaking audiences with his next film, My Neighbor Totoro; early versions of this film on VHS were produced as My Friend Totoro. Totoro is significant for its lack of a villain, and it is also a tale of environmental responsibility. It is often considered to be an excellent film for even very young children because it does not have the traditional hero/villain climactic ending.

Much like Totoro, the 1989 film Kiki's Delivery Service has no central villain. Miyazaki introduces the strong female character Kiki, a little witch who must strike out on her own for a year as part of her training. Kiki was released in the US in a dubbed version and was acknowledged by film critics as an excellent film for children.

1997 brought the release of Princess Mononoke. The film set box office records in Japan, and received the Award of the Japanese Academy for Best Film. It also stresses environmental and pacifist themes, but with a PG rating, it may be a bit scary for young children. It did not enjoy much commercial success in the US until years after its release.

Miyazaki retired after the success of Mononoke but re-entered the business to direct Spirited Away. The film enjoyed huge success in Japan and in English-speaking countries, where it was dubbed. It garnered Miyazaki another Best Film Award of the Japanese Academy in 2001. The film also won the first ever Oscar® in the newly established category, Best Animated Feature, in 2002.

Spirited Away was distributed by Disney, who helped dub the film. Disney's involvement was largely due to the friendship between Miyazaki and John Lasseter, director of Pixar. The two have enjoyed a significant friendship since Mononoke, and Lasseter has been instrumental in distributing Miyazaki films in the US.

2004 brought the release of what some consider Miyazaki's best film, Howl's Moving Castle. The film takes an anti-war stance, and its animation is often described as "breathtaking." It is important to note that most animation in Miyazaki films is hand drawn, with few computer additions.

Miyazaki has continued to direct, releasing several shorts after Howl's Moving Castle. His 2008 film Ponyo, about a boy who meets a goldfish princess who wants to be human, won several awards. As with several of his previous films, it was dubbed into English and released by Disney.

PublicPeople is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a PublicPeople contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
Discussion Comments
By softener — On May 11, 2011

@robert13 - My favorites are probably Princess Monoke and Kiki's Delivery Service, but I think they're all worth watching. You don't have to be into anime to watch them, although I would recommend watching them with subtitles as opposed to English dubs, which are usually of a lower quality.

By robert13 — On May 08, 2011

I love Miyazaki! I saw Spirited Away when it first came out and fell in love and then went back and watched the others. Even though they're children's films, they're quite layered and can definitely be enjoyed by adults. Watching his movies bring back the nostalgia for childhood but they also deal with issues like war, environmentalism and good and evil. He's a very clever filmmaker. What's your favorite Miyazaki film?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a PublicPeople contributor, Tricia...
Learn more
PublicPeople, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

PublicPeople, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.