Each of Designlab’s UX Academy intakes is named after someone who inspires us. Our April cohort is named after the great Japanese animator and film director, Hayao Miyazaki (born 1941), celebrated for films such as Kiki’s Delivery Service, My Neighbor Totoro and The Wind Rises.
7 Ways Hayao Miyazaki Inspires Us
He capitalized on the success of his second film, Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (1984), by opening an animation house — Studio Ghibli. Nausicaa of the Valley is based on Miyazaki’s own manga (comic) of the same name, which he had started 2 years earlier.
In his 2013 film The Wind Rises, Miyazaki told the story of Jiro Hirokoshi, an aircraft designer and engineer. Although a fictionalized version of Hirokoshi’s life, it captures the essence of design as a consuming vocation — demanding raw effort, but giving back real reward.
Miyazaki is himself a tireless and prolific creator, amassing 28 major film credits as animator, 26 as director, and 37 as writer.
Before turning to film, he worked as a manga artist. His drawing skills are incredible, and his style unmistakeable. Here are cells from Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind:
He keeps trying to retire but can’t. He has already come out of retirement once, to produce Howl’s Moving Castle (2004). After he completed The Wind Rises in 2013, he retired again — but there are now rumors that he is working on a short film to screen in 2018.
Miyazaki was awarded an Honorary Academy Award in November 2014, for his lifetime of contributions to cinema and animation.
His films are testament to women’s strength and agency. "Many of my movies have strong female leads,” he says, “brave, self-sufficient girls that don't think twice about fighting for what they believe in with all their heart. They'll need a friend, or a supporter, but never a savior. Any woman is just as capable of being a hero as any man."
For us, Hayao Miyazaki shows what can be achieved when we find what we’re best at, pursue it with humility and integrity, and completely commit to realizing our vision. We hope that students of UX Academy’s Miyazaki cohort will also be inspired by these values, as they discover their vocation.
To find out more about the life and work of Hayao Miyazaki, check out his profile at IMDb.