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False Facts About Hayao Miyazaki You Thought Were True

How would you describe Hayao Miyazaki’s personality? Casual fans whose knowledge of the man comes from watching his films and maybe seeing the occasional inspirational quote of his on social media would likely answer this question very differently from those who have read interviews with or seen documentaries about the man. The truth of Miyazaki is that, even if his movies deliver happiness and hope, Miyazaki himself consistently comes across as weary, miserable, and difficult to work with.

Here’s a man who sees modern life as “thin and shallow and fake,” welcoming financial disaster and apocalypse if it means the natural world claims dominion over humanity (via The Asia-Pacific Journal). Some of this negativity is an understandable extension of his high moral ideals, but Miyazaki himself doesn’t always meet such ideals: He was absent as a father, and horror stories abound about what it’s like to work under his perfectionistic demands — even his friend Hideaki Anno describes him as “a really mean old guy” (via GQ).

Miyazaki’s films, for the most part, are an attempt to deliver positivity to children that he knows he doesn’t have much of himself. Speaking at the Paris press conference for “Spirited Away,” he explained this philosophy: “I am a pessimist. But when I’m making a film, I don’t want to transfer my pessimism onto children … children are very much capable of forming their own visions. There’s no need to force our own visions onto them” (via Midnight Eye).

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