Miyazaki breaks his silent protest of America

July 25, 2009 | 1:11 a.m.
Miyazaki
Hayao Miyazaki breaks his U.S. boycott to attend Comic-Con. Credit: Spencer Weiner / Los Angeles Times.

In 2003, Hayao Miyazaki decided not to attend the Academy Awards, even though his film, “Spirited Away,” was up for Best Animated Feature. He did not give a reason at the time, and it was conjectured that the Japanese animator’s absence was related to President Bush’s decision to invade Iraq that year.

Miyazaki, who has not spoken publicly of the subject, today explained his reasons in an interview with The Times at Comic-Con.

“The reason I wasn’t here for the Academy Award was because I didn’t want to visit a country that was bombing Iraq,” he said. “At the time, my producer shut me up and did not allow me to say that, but I don’t see him around today. By the way, my producer also shared in that feeling.”

The creator of films such as “Kiki’s Delivery Service,” “Howl’s Moving Castle” and “My Neighbor Totoro” said he broke his six-year boycott as a favor to John Lasseter, the creative chief of Pixar Animations Studios with whom he has a strong friendship. Lasseter, who is helping to bring Miyazaki’s latest movie “Ponyo” to the U.S. in August, interviewed the director on stage this afternoon before showing a clip of the film to a dazzled audience.

“I thought I had to respond to my friendship with John Lasseter and come this time,” Miyazaki said.

– Alex Pham

Follow my random thoughts on games, gear and technology on Twitter @AlexPham.

Comments


28 Responses to Miyazaki breaks his silent protest of America

  1. Anonymous says:

    It's probably for the best that he kept quiet, considering what they tried to do Michael Moore's rep after the Academy Awards. I'm just surprised Di$ney was willing to work with him after that, considering that they kicked Harvey out as soon as he distributed F 9/11.

  2. William Raymer says:

    I respect Miyazaki-sensei for sticking to his guns regarding our (the U.S.') actions in Iraq. I, also, am looking forward to "Ponyo-" either in theaters or on DVD.

  3. chinaman says:

    That's okay. My dad has been silently boycotting Japanese automobiles ever since Miyazaki's country invaded China.

    • Connor says:

      You mean what his country did under a completely different government, so long ago that men able to fight would be 90+ by now?

      Rational.

      • Matt says:

        I concur.

      • Konan says:

        Connor, you do realize that the Japanese never admitted to that invasion and for a time, completely denied the fact that they killed thousands and the japanese also never formaly apologized to China. I don't hate the Japanese nor do I belive in hating the Japan today since, like you said, most people that attacked China are dead or really old. But can you try to understand what I'm trying to say? And how some Chinese people might feel? Like miyazaki's quote “You must see with eyes unclouded by hate. See the good in that which is evil, and the evil in that which is good. Pledge yourself to neither side, but vow instead to preserve the balance that exists between the two.”
        I mean no hate and love Hayao and japan and its culture but i have learned much from Hayao's films and am trying to apply and use his wisdom on these wordly matters, Anyone else agree?

      • Jack says:

        However, many people are surprisingly unrational because they are seeing with eyes clouded with hate. That first comment was trolling.

  4. Jack M. says:

    Well done Hayao Miyazaki. Stick to your principles, no matter how much gold(en statues) they offer you. My hat's off to you.
    The more I learn about this great man, they more I respect him and his work.
    I hope Ponyo does well in the US but even if it doesn't, the rest of the world still recognises genius even when it's "foreign".
    – Jack

  5. M-Man says:

    I love Miyazaki and his films, and I couldn't be more excited to see Ponyo, but this was just a dumb thing to say. I still have respect for Miyazaki and his wonderful films, but it's a shame when it comes to this subject Miyazaki has no idea what he's talking about. It would be one thing f he was anti-war, but to say something like "I won't visit the country that's bombing Iraq" just comes off as ignorant and childish.
    We saw a little anti-war theme in Howl's Moving Castle (unfortunately), but it didn't come off as offensive like this does.
    Iraq was a country where woman were treated like dirt, and people found any excuse to stone them, it was a country where children were taut to hate everyone and everything that doesn't look and think like them. Iraq was a country that thrived on hatred and lived on intolerance. But now they are able to do things they once could never dream of, like vote. They have more freedom now then they ever did before the U.S.'s so called "invasion." So was it really that bad of a thing, the Iraq war? Not when you think of the progress Iraq has made.
    I just hope a wonderful mind like Miyazaki's doesn't become one of those "politically obsessed" filmmakers who starts throwing in an agenda in his films, because if that were to happen, the world will have lost the greatest wonder the world of film has seen since Walt Disney.

    • Eva says:

      lol!
      but then you are childish too, as you argument is exactky what you do when talking about Iraq only by the "information" sb gave you, not seeing the problem but your own eyes. Then, by what you say is that is better to kill them than at least be alive to have discrimination to correct (oh yes! i forgot in your country the law can kill too). Show me the progress in Iraq please (or do yourself a favour and check some true information, contrast it and see what's their situation now).

      I understand perfectly Miyazaki and many other people who are sensibilized against war, cause war has no excuse! its just bad thing, ALWAYS for economic purposes, nobody wins. If you don't know, he's also feminist, even being a man.

      He's just an example of how to act by your own conviction. I'm sure that if it would had been his own country, he would react too. If you don't know that you don't understand anything about him, and his style of drawing.

    • guest says:

      would you sacrifice the life of your child for that 'progress' you speak of? no reply needed, just ask yourself. i know my answer.

    • Jonathan says:

      Good Gawd. What prattle is that??

    • Adam says:

      "where children were taut to hate everyone"

      Who taut you how to spell?

    • Anonymous says:

      Technically, what America is (has done) doing is occupying Iraq. Occupying, as in what the Nazis did, which resulted in, not just the mass murder of MY people, but the murder of several different groups. Sure, there SEEMED to be some silver lining, as Hitler helped the German economy and may have done the same in other countries (haven't read into it), but look at all the evil he did! Sure, we may not be killing Jews in concentration camps, but we are killing innocents by explosives and bullets. This war should be over by now. We should have only gotten the people directly responsible for the attacks, not every single person in the middle east who is a criminal. It's hard to imagine walking away from their suffering, but honestly, we cannot police the entire world. When we do that, we leave ourselves vulnerable and dead children in our tracks. By the way, just because a movie has an anti-war theme, it's unfortunate? Since when is being anti-war an unfortunate thing? The alternative is wanting war, and people who want to war at the first sign are inhuman, cold beings.

    • a_person says:

      what you said about pre-war iraq is a total proof that you don`t know a dime about Iraq… not a single dime.

    • David A. says:

      What an ignorant thing to say? You sound like a child painting such a broad stroke an entire people to justify whatever the country you live happens to be doing. Every bigoted thing you said about iraq can be applied to you and where you live in the eyes of others around the world.

      The american occupation of america had nothing to do with anything you mentioned and everything to do with material resources. Thats what all wars are about. Plus you're saying the end justifies the means because of all the progress its made? What rock are you living under…

      It's a testament to Miyazaki's work that his works can even touch the hearts of bigoted people like yourself.

    • Konan says:

      Connor, you do realize that the Japanese never admitted to that invasion and for a time, completely denied the fact that they killed thousands and the japanese also never formaly apologized to China. I don't hate the Japanese nor do I belive in hating the Japan today since, like you said, most people that attacked China are dead or really old. But can you try to understand what I'm trying to say? And how some Chinese people might feel? Like miyazaki's quote “You must see with eyes unclouded by hate. See the good in that which is evil, and the evil in that which is good. Pledge yourself to neither side, but vow instead to preserve the balance that exists between the two.”

    • Lisa says:

      Miyizaki actually has a degree in political science and spent most of his childhood moving from city to city to escape American warfare and bombings during world war 2. I can imagine the Issue hits pretty close to home for him.

      Also, do you honestly think that there is no underlying political message in Walt Disney Films?
      Early Walt Disney productions show "barbaric" West Africans hidden in imported cases of Bananas and then behaving violently because they are confused by "civilised" culture.

    • noone says:

      Great job, US propaganda.

  6. C. Ngo says:

    oh yes and the country that was bombing Vietnam for 30 years ! Miyazaki I salute you

  7. Natsuki says:

    Miyazaki Hayao san has the right to say whatever he feels. I think he did US (and China)a favour by sharing his works with them. He's a master at his work and and i doubt anyone who comment here has really seen his work like us dedicated fans who are tirelessly waiting for his work and never sick of his work and what he says. You should be grateful that he even went to your country. Some of us fans don't even have the luxury to see him in person, be grateful people!

  8. CRAMAN says:

    Puéril ? Cela n'a-t-il pas tout son sens dans le monde des enfants ! :) Flo du 31

    • Joseph says:

      >Je crois que Miyazaki a agi puéril quand il a dit cette reponse. Il n'y a pas du americain qui a soutien de la guerre qu'il pense que nous avons. La guerre en Irak n'est pas vraiment soutenue par les civils. Les intentions de départ ont été pour les aider à se développer. Le résultat courant est hors des mains du peuple. Je adore Miyazaki, mais je pense que il a besoin pour s'en sortir. Ce n'est pas la faute de tout le monde, et Miyazaki ne devrait pas «protester» pour nous faire «souffrir» quand il est vraiment inutile.

      >>Il n'a pas créé "Howl's." C'était un livre qu'il adaptée. Mais je comprends d'où il vient. Cette sûr de soi attitude est vraiment laid provenant d'un génie de l'art.

  9. Abdullah says:

    Thank you sir, respect from Iraq!

  10. Brasileirinho says:

    Eventough this topic is old, about America occupying Iraq.. wow, i'm Brazilian. Country has a lot of problems, but when i try to imagine ppl who look different, speak a different language.. giving the rules around here..
    You have to be REAL naive to believe that they ultimatelly won't respond just to his own country interests

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