Hayao Miyazaki’s protagonist in The Wind Rises is based on a real person, a Zero fighter plane designer. The film is a departure for Miyazaki, whose previous efforts are fantasies.
The Wind Rises is an unusual departure for beloved Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki, a self-identified pacifist.
In August last year, multitudes of Japanese users tweeted the word “balus” while watching a TV broadcast of director Hayao Miyazaki’s 1986 animated movie, Castle In The Sky.
In an indicator of Miyazaki’s cultural influence in his high-tech homeland, the made-up word, which translates roughly as “destruction,” garnered more tweets per second (143,199) than such buzzed about events as the birth of Prince William’s son.
Tellingly, the soft-spoken, white-haired grandfather whose work inspired this social media frenzy doesn’t use a cellphone or the Internet – “It’s jarring and interrupts,” Miyazaki said – and he has practiced his craft for the last 50 years, wielding that most old-fashioned of tools, a pencil.
Now, as the world around him moves ever faster, Miyazaki has announced plans to slow down. The 72-year-old director says his latest film, The Wind Rises, will be his last.
“Everybody is younger than me,” he said, speaking by phone recently from his Tokyo studio through a translator. “They don’t understand what it’s like to be old. I’ve learned a lot of things by being 72, and what I’ve learned is that I don’t have a lot of time.”