Miyazaki’s Newest Film Angers Japanese Nationalists

I’ve been a fan of Miyazaki’s work ever since I saw a butchered version of Nausicaa in school as a kid. I rediscovered the movie as an adult, and then the rest of his work. I’m excited to see his most recent film The Wind Rises, but apparently a lot of Miyazaki’s fellow Japanese aren’t as enthusiastic.

2013-08-16 The Wind Rises

Miyazaki said this about the film:

My wife and staff would ask me, ‘Why make a story about a man who made weapons of war? And I thought they were right. But one day, I heard that Horikoshi [designer of the WWII fighter named the Zero] had once murmured, ‘All I wanted to do was to make something beautiful.’ And then I knew I’d found my subject… Horikoshi was the most gifted man of his time in Japan. He wasn’t thinking about weapons… Really all he desired was to make exquisite planes.

That’s why the film is unpopular with some: it casts Japanese history in a negative light as the beautiful dreams of Horikoshi are warped by militarism. Which, you know, is exactly why I’m so excited to see it. It’s good to have the right enemies, I suppose.

7 thoughts on “Miyazaki’s Newest Film Angers Japanese Nationalists”

  1. It has always astounded me how the Japanese aesthetic/spiritual ideal has played such a role in their nationalism and militarism. Have you read The Book of Tea by Kakuzo Okakura? http://www.sacred-texts.com/bud/tea.htm It is a fascinating example of the principles of harmony and beauty that a nationalist wanted to convey to the west.

  2. My favorite is still Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, but I also really like Ponyo. There are also still too many that I haven’t seen yet, like Princess Mononoke and My Neighbor Totoro.

  3. Wait, Nathaniel, you haven’t seen My Neighbor Totoro yet? OK, then, you have homework: Get your kids and watch Totoro with them as soon as humanly possible. It is perhaps the best movie about childhood I have ever seen. In the bargain, it gives you a marvelously nostalgic picture of postwar rural Japan that corresponds in some ways to the English countryside of Tolkien’s and Lewis’s imaginations.

  4. I would have watched it earlier if they had it on Netflix but, alas, they do not. However, your stirring recommendation has given me a heightened sense of urgency and I love to watch shows with my kids (so far limited to Ruby Gloom and, starting just last week, Avatar) so I will definitely watch this with them as soon we get home.

    Now I just have to find it…

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