英語で紹介する日本文化U                       2009102

Lesson 1: Hayao Miyazaki: Master of Japanese Animation : Films, Themes, Artistry 1

(Citation from Helen McCarthy, Hayao Miyazaki: Master of Japanese Animation: Films, Themes, Artistry, Stone Bridge Press, revised edition 2002)



選択肢[Castle in the Sky, Kiki’s Delivery Service, My Neighbor Totoro, Nausicaa of the Valley of wind, Porco Rosso, Princess Mononoke,]


(A) [        ]

A young girl falls from the clouds, buoyed up by the power of the glowing blue pendant she wears. A mineworker, coming back from an errand with his boss's supper, watches her float right into his arms, and together they embark on the adventure of a lifetime.


(B) [        ]

She fights desperately to stop the baby worm from plunging into the Acid Sea. The Acid might not kill the little creature, but it would cause terrible pain. It's not only her sympathy for the terrified baby that makes her act so bravelyshe knows that unless she can save it, she won’t be able to save her people from the worm stampede.


(C)[        ]

She flies along the coast toward Koriko accompanied by her black cat and some friendly seagulls. She looks the very picture of the modern young business witch out to make her mark in the world.


(D)[        ]

With two children, and his own two siblings clinging to his fur, he soars aloft and rides the night winds on his spinning top, roaring like the wind as he crosses the fields and woods of rural Japan. The scenery is based on real landscape, but much of its beautiful woodland has been built over to accommodate the growth of Tokyo in the last thirty years.


(E)[        ]

A deadly air ace and war hero is no match for a class of elementary schoolgirls enjoying unexpected adventure. He has just rescued these little girls from kidnappers who were planning to hold them for ransom, and plans to take them back to their families just as soon as he can fix the stalled engine of his flying boat. Meanwhile, who'll rescue him? 


(F)[        ]

A man, riding his faithful steed, shoots his deadly arrow. The pace of this dramatic sequence is reminiscent of the horseback action sequences in Kurosawa’s seminal film The Hidden Fortress, which was an early influence on Star Wars. Costume details such as his straw cape and the style of weaponry were based on the best available research into this early period of Japan’s history.



(A) mineworker 鉱山労働者 errand 使い走り、お使い

(B) stampede 暴走、殺到

(C) seagull カモメ

(D) build over  建物で塞ぐ accommodate 〜を収容する

(E) kidnapper 人さらい ransom 身代金

(F) steed 騎乗用の生き物 reminiscent 〜をしのばせる seminal 独創的で影響力の強い

   The Hidden Fortress 隠しとりでの三悪人 straw cape蓑 weaponry 兵器類


Western views on Hayao Miyazaki


The Western world hasn't been entirely unaware of Hayao Miyazaki, in the same way that it hasn’t been unaware of Japanese animation, but few outside Asia have really appreciated the depth and scope(視野) of either phenomenon. In conversation with Western animators and comic artists about the creative craftsmen(職人) they most admire, Miyazaki,s name comes up again and again. My Neighbor Totoro had a U.S. video release in 1995 and won considerable critical acclaim(絶賛). Academics and writers with a broad cultural perspective have long since acknowledged that the Japanese animation industry is not only the largest commercial animation industry in the world, but also a powerhouse(原動力となるもの) of skills and inspiration. Yet most of us remained convinced of the hegemony of Westernread Americananimation until America’s animation giant Disney signed a deal for world distribution(配給) rights of a group of acclaimed Japanese theatrical(劇場) releases(公開) with the Japanese production and publishing company Tokuma. These include movies by Miyazaki himself, his distinguished(名高い) colleague Isao Takahata, and their colleague, the late() Yoshifumi Kondo, who died at the tragically early age of forty-seven in January 1998.

“Manga movies” have become notorious(悪名高い) in Britain and America for reasons that have little to do with the Japanese animation industry and much with the condition of U.S. and U.K. video markets. Disney has chosen to avoid contentious(論争をまねく) areas of the Japanese industry altogether and go straight to the one production house that can demonstrate a record of commitment(〜に専念する) to(こと) artistic quality and integrity(高尚さ) that equals, and in my opinion exceeds, their own. Studio Ghibli, the animation studio founded by Takahata and Miyazaki, has earned a reputation for an attention to detail and quality in every aspect of a production that borders(〜に近似している) on the fanatical(熱狂的な): Miyazaki is one of the few directors in the industry who personally checks every key frame and redraws(再描画) any he doesn't find suitable, a task most leave to the senior animators. Their productions are expensive in local(地場) industry(産業) terms, but every yen(熱意) shows on screen. The quality of their animation work is matched in every area of each production, from writing to design and marketing. It was this commitment to a particular vision that captured my admiration while the seductive(魅惑的な) beauty of the on-screen images awakened the sense of wonder that lies dormant(眠っている) in all of us from childhood to life's end.

Some Western fans and journalists have called Miyazaki “the Disney of Japan” (a title previously bestowed on the late Osamu Tezuka, who died ten years ago). This says more about our need to label creative talents in ways we find acceptable than about Miyazaki or his work. Such comparisons give us a quick frame of reference(引き合いに出すこと), but they also prevent us from having to think too deeply about the content of the work or the individual views of the artist. If I had to label him in this fashion, I would prefer to call Miyazaki “the Kurosawa of animation." Not only does his work have the same rare combination of epic(一世を) sweep(風靡する) and human sensitivity(感受性) that the great live()-()action() director possessed, but it also fails to fit into any of the neat(整然とした), child-sized boxes into which the West still tends to stuff(詰め込む) the animated art form.

The purpose of this book is simply to introduce Miyazaki and his work to Western audience. For this reason it focuses primarily on the feature(長編) film(映画)s being distributed by the Disney organization. It also sketches his earlier works and the careers of his colleagues, and briefly mentions his involvements outside directing and screenplays, but these areas are not covered in detail.


Life and career


Hayao Miyazaki was born into a well-to-do family living on the outskirts(郊外) of Tokyo in January 1941. His father, Katsuji, who was then twenty-six years old, was a director of the family firm, Miyazaki Airplane. Headed by Katsuji’s elder brother, the company was active in the war(戦時) effort(動員), making parts for Zero fighters. The war had an early impact on the young Hayao's lifehe was three years old when the family was evacuated(疎開する) to safer districts, and he started school as an evacuee(疎開民) in 1947. It was another three years before the Miyazakis moved back to their old hometown, and then he changed schools again after only a year, moving to one of Japan’s brand-new, American-influenced elementary schools.

But the biggest impact was probably the long illness of his mother, which commenced(始まる) in the same year he started school. She was a woman of very strong character and intellectual interests. Although he says that he cannot trace his parents’ influences on him, and that as a teenager he consciously sought to find his own path rather than follow his family’s, the legacy(名残) of her powerful personality lives on in his work. His youngest brother once commented that the determined(決然とした), no()-nonsense(丈な) character of Ma Dola in Castle in the Sky reminded him of their mother.

Mrs. Miyazaki suffered from spinal(脊椎) tuberculosis(結核). She was bedridden(寝たきり) from 1947, two years after the birth of her fourth child, to 1955. The first few years of her illness were spent largely in the hospital, but she was able to be nursed at home thereafter and lived to old age. Despite her absence from home and her long illness, she played a huge part in forming her son’s view of the world.

Like many children in postwar Japan, the youngster decided he wanted to become a comic artist while in high school. His abilities at that time were limitedhe couldn't draw people well, having (like war babies all over Europe) only drawn planes, tanks, and battle-ships for years. It was an exciting time to be a young comic reader in Japan, and there was plenty of encouragement and inspiration. The teenage Osamu Tezuka had leapt to comic stardom(スターの地位) in 1947 with his seminal(影響力の強い) manga New Treasure Island and started a powerful wave of enthusiasm. Established artists began to try new styles and techniques, and throughout the fifties there was an increase in comics consumption.   

Like comics, animation enjoyed a peacetime renaissance(復興). The experimentation(実験的な環境) of the early years of the century had brought Japanese animators into contact with their Western counterparts. Interrupted by war, this contact was now resumed with the active encouragement of the occupying American authorities, and Japan’s animation industry once again began to produce entertainment for the cinema audience rather than overt(公然とした) war propaganda. From the 1960s this mass entertainment included material for the new medium of television.

Miyazaki's youthful interest in animation was kindled(火をつける) by the first Japanese color animated feature, Taiji Yabushitd’s Legend of the White Serpent. He had been considering a career as a manga author, a path that he was not to reject entirely.

It seemed his career path was moving away from the arts when he entered Gakushuin University, a prestigious(名声ある) institution with imperial connections, to study political science and economics. His final-year thesis was on the theory of Japanese industry. He could easily have been another pioneer of Japan’s economic revival, but he wanted to find his own path in life and his interest in graphic entertainment and its possibilities was still strong. Among the many clubs and societies on offer at the university was a children’s literature research society, which he joined. The group read children's books and comics, including many European texts. When he left the university in 1963, he did not take up an academic post or a business opportunity. Instead he joined Toei-Animation, the animation studio of the Toei Company, moved into an apartment near the studio, and after three months training did his first professional work.