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Fan greetings pour for Studio Ghibli director Hayao Miyazaki’s 80th birthday

By Argie Aguja Published Jan 06, 2021 4:17 pm

Anime and film fandoms worldwide have poured on the greetings and compliments for the 80th birthday of Hayao Miyazaki, the brilliant mind who co-founded Studio Ghibli.

Miyazaki turned 80 years old on Jan. 5, and fans were quick to shower tributes for the Japanese animator, director, producer, screenwriter, author, and manga artist.

Fans around the world, including film institutions, animators, and actors have all shown their love and expressed their admiration for the director’s great contribution to the world of animation and film. Miyazaki is a household name in many places, with his animated feature films known for having strong female protagonists that evoke values such as love, pacifism, and environmentalism.

In Twitter, his name became a trending topic as well-wishers shared their favorite pictures of him, as well as screenshots from his iconic animated masterpieces. Most tweets thanked Miyazaki for introducing the world to Studio Ghibli’s magical world that is rich in color and fantasy.

Born in Tokyo in 1941, Miyazaki aspired to become a manga artist at an early age but later on shifted interest to animation. After finishing college in 1963, he found work as an in-between artist at Toei Animation.

In the next two decades he tackled work as chief animator, concept artist, and scene designer in other animation studios. His first taste of global success came with 1984’s Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind which received critical acclaim from film critics, and frequently ranked by many observers as among the best-animated films of all time.

The following year, Miyazaki and fellow animators Isao Takahata, Yasuyoshi Tokuma and Toshio Suzuki established Studio Ghibli. Numerous Ghibli films like Castle in the Sky (1986), My Neighbor Totoro (1988), Kiki's Delivery Service (1989), and Porco Rosso (1992) all achieved critical and commercial success in the Japanese box office.

The 1997 fantasy Princess Mononoke became the highest-grossing film in Japan that time, with its global distribution greatly increasing Ghibli's popularity and influence in Western markets.

In 2001, his fantasy movie Spirited Away again broke box office records in Japan, on the way to winning the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature at the 75th Academy Awards.

Later films like Howl's Moving Castle (2004) and Ponyo (2008) also made huge wins. After making The Wind Rises (2013), he announced his retirement from doing feature films. He changed his mind though and resumed animation work in 2016.