Studio Ghibli, founded in 1985 by Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata, is the premiere animation studio in Japan. Their films have become a beloved part of Japanese popular culture, in much the same way that Walt Disney's work has been embraced by Americans. Cultivating a creative force of many talented directors, animators and storytellers under the revered brilliance of Miyazaki and Takahata, Studio Ghibli's films are praised for their originality, dazzling animation and epic storytelling. Walt Disney Home Entertainment is proud to partner with Studio Ghibli to introduce these unique masterpieces to the North American audience.
ABOUT HAYAO MIYAZAKI
One of the modern masters of Japanese cinema, Hayao Miyazaki (Director/Writer) has created some of the most admired and influential animated films of recent decades
Born in Tokyo in 1941, Miyazaki graduated from the prestigious Gakushuin University in 1963 with a degree in political science and economics.
As a university student, he became deeply interested in children's literature and read a wide variety of books written for children all over the world. Miyazaki became interested in animation after seeing Taiji Yabushita's THE WHITE SNAKE ENCHANTRESS (1959) and Lev Atamanov's THE SNOW QUEEN (1957). Combining superb draftsmanship with his academic credentials, Miyazaki joined Toei Animation Company and launched his filmmaking career, beginning as an in-betweener on the feature WATCHDOG BOW WOW (1963). Miyazaki worked his way up through the studio ranks doing animation, storyboards and design for numerous TV series and feature films, often in collaboration with his friend and mentor Isao Takahata.
NAUSICAÄ OF THE VALLEY OF THE WIND (1984), a feature based on his popular Manga series, established Miyazaki as one of the most talented directors in the burgeoning Japanese animation industry. In 1985, Miyazaki and Takahata founded Studio Ghibli in conjunction with Tokuma Shoten Publishing Ltd. LAPUTA CASTLE IN THE SKY (1986) began his unbroken string of hits. He continued on to direct such impressive films as MY NEIGHBOR TOTORO (1988), KIKI'S DELIVERY SERVICE (1989), PORCO ROSSO (1992), PRINCESS MONONOKE (1997), culminating in the record-breaking SPIRITED AWAY (2001), which became the first animated film to win the prestigious Golden Bear award at the 52nd Berlin International Film Festival. SPIRITED AWAY also received the Academy Award® (2002) for Best Animated Feature Film and Mr. Miyazaki received a Golden Lion for Career Achievement at the 2005 Venice Film Festival.
ABOUT ISAO TAKAHATA
Born in 1935 in Mie Prefecture, Japan, Isao Takahata graduated from the prestigious Tokyo University with a degree in French literature. He joined Toei Animation Company in 1959, a career choice that was then, and now, seen as something very unusual for a Tokyo University graduate.
Takahata's debut as a director came with the animated film THE LITTLE NORSE PRINCE VALIANT (1968). Takahata has since directed many popular TV series such as HEIDI (1974), which has also become popular in France and Switzerland, FROM THE APENNINES TO THE ANDES (1976), and ANNE OF GREEN GABLES (1976). His feature films include GAUCHE, THE CELLIST (1982) and JARINKO CHIE (1984), which set new standards for animated filmmaking in Japan.
Takahata co-founded Studio Ghibli in 1985 with his protégé and colleague Hayao Miyazaki, and has directed four feature films since. His recent film MY NEIGHBORS THE YAMADAS (1999) was chosen by the Museum of Modern Art in New York for inclusion in its permanent film collection, the first Japanese animated feature film to be so honored.
Takahata has also written several books including "12th Century Japanese Animation," a look at the historical origins of Japanese manga and animation. He also directed the live action documentary film THE STORY OF YANAGAWA WATERWAYS (1987).
ABOUT YOSHIFUMI KONDO (DIRECTOR)
Born in 1950 in Niigata, Japan, Yoshifumi Kondo moved to Tokyo at the age of 18 and dedicated himself to animation for the next three decades. He was a draftsman capable of doing any kind of animation, from the lively character movements of TV series such as "Dokonjou Gaeru," to detailed representations of everyday life as in the TV series "Anne Of Green Gables." His work surpassed what was considered standard in animation then, amazing viewers at the time, and it continues to influence many young animators to this day.
From 1987 on, Kondo worked mainly on Studio Ghibli films. Supporting Isao Takahata and Hayao Miyazaki, he served in the crucial positions of character designer and supervising animator for GRAVE OF THE FIREFLIES and ONLY YESTERDAY, and as supervising animator for PRINCESS MONONOKE. In 1995, he made his debut as a feature film director with WHISPER OF THE HEART. Despite high expectations for his future as a director, he was stricken by a sudden illness in January of 1998 and passed away at the age of 47. His work has been published in "Reminisces: Sketches By Yoshifumi Kondo" (Tokuma Shoten Publications).
ABOUT HIROYUKI MORITA (DIRECTOR)
Hiroyuki Morita was born in 1964 in Fukuoka, Japan. After graduating from college, he moved to Tokyo to become an animator. He began working for the animation production company SHAFT, and made his debut as an animator with the TV series "Hiatari Ryoukou!" Turning freelance, he worked as an inbetween animator for AKIRA and KIKI'S DELIVERY SERVICE, and did his first key animation work for the TV special "Lupin III: Bye-Bye Liberty Crisis." Morita took part as key animator in numerous works such as MEMORIES and PERFECT BLUE, and had his first assignment as a director for the video premiere animated film GOLDEN BOY. After taking part as key animator in Studio Ghibli's production of MY NEIGHBORS THE YAMADAS and the Ghibli Museum's animated short "Koro's Big Day Out," Morita was chosen by Hayao Miyazaki to direct THE CAT RETURNS. THE CAT RETURNS marked Morita's debut as a feature film director.