Miyazaki breaks his silent protest of America

July 25, 2009 | 1:11 a.m.
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.


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.

  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.

  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

  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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