Legendary Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki (“Spirited Away”) is opening a nature sanctuary for children on a remote Japanese island

The 74-year-old film maker is perhaps best known for Spirited Away, which won an Oscar in 2001

The Independent (UK):

Legendary Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki has revealed his plans to build a nature sanctuary for children on a remote Japanese island.

The 74-year-old filmmaker is expected to spend 300 million yen, or $2.5 million, of his personal finances on the project. It is due to be completed in 2018 on Kume IslandKyodo News reports that the facility will seek to encourage children to appreciate the natural world and develop a closer bond with nature.

Mr Miyazaki’s films often explore themes of childhood, imagination and nature.

He has previously spoken of his concerns that children’s lives are becoming increasingly exposed to consumerism and. He has said that: “Utopia exists only in one’s childhood life.”

The director is perhaps best known for his Oscar winning film Spirited Away which was released in 2001. It was the first ever anime film to win an Oscar and broke box office records in Japan. He announced in 2013 that he was retiring from his cinematic career to focus on other projects.

Hayao Miyazaki joins politicians and CEOs donating millions to protest U.S. military in Okinawa

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RocketNews 24:

As you may know, Hayao Miyazaki is one of the most outspoken proponents of anti-war policy in Japan. As you may also know, Okinawa is home to a plethora of American military bases, and has been a hotbed of controversy for decades.

However, what you may not know is that Miyazaki and Okinawa have finally officially teamed up to protest the American military presence. The director announced on May 7 that he will officially join the Henoko Fund,” a group of politicians and CEOs who are putting their money where their mouths are and donating hundreds of millions of yen to prevent the relocation of the Futenma Air Base.

If you’re new to the topic of American military bases in Okinawa, here’s the super quick rundown: Okinawa used to be known as the Ryukyu Kingdom, which existed as its own entity for hundreds of years. It was subsequently invaded by mainland Japan in 1609, begrudgingly annexed as part of Japan in 1872, and then completely devastated during World War II when it became a battlefield between Japanese and U.S. soldiers, resulting in one-third of the entire civilian population being killed.

The U.S. occupied Okinawa following the end of the war, leaving its influence all over the island. People drove on the right side of the road (instead of the left as in mainland Japan), dollars were used as the official currency, and military bases were set up all over as well. When Okinawa was returned to Japanese rule in 1972, the roads and money went back to normal, but the bases stayed behind. After hundreds of thousands of lives lost and generations of war, you can imagine that the Okinawan people were getting very tired of the whole military thing.

And that sentiment has continued up to today. Despite the fact that Okinawa makes up less than 1% of Japan, it is home to over 75% of all U.S. military bases in Japan. This makes the Okinawa people feel like they’re getting the brunt of U.S. bases dumped on them while the rest of Japan dodges the responsibility.

▼ That’s a lot of military presence on an island merely 65 miles (105 kilometers) long and five miles (eight kilometers) wide.

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Though general protests against the U.S. bases are held often, one of the most controversial topics is the relocation of Marine Corps Air Station Futenma. It is currently located in Ginowan City, but it was proposed to be moved to the coast of Henoko in northern Okinawa, away from the residential area. While the intentions behind the proposal may be sound, the Henoko coast is home to coral reef and critically endangered dugong. Many feel building a military base there would be a further insult to Okinawa, symbolically crushing beautiful parts of the island with more military installations.

And that brings us to the recently established Henoko Fund. Okinawan politicians, CEOs, organizations and individuals have teamed up to sponsor ads and demonstrations against the relocation of the airbase, marking the first time that the private sector has officially become involved in the protests, so far raising over 100 million yen (US$834,064).

Up until now there have been seven other high-profile joint representatives sponsoring the Henoko Fund, but Miyazaki is by far the most well-known. Considering the anti-war messages in his films and the fact that he was quoted last year as saying“demilitarization in Okinawa is essential for peace in East Asia,” his ideals fit in perfectly with the rest of the group.

Other members of the Henoko Fund have said they’re very happy to have Miyazaki as a joint representative, and they hope that having him will help broaden their group’s appeal and further their cause, both inside and outside of Okinawa.

Akira creator Katsuhiro Otomo’s sprawling mural will soon welcome travelers at Sendai Airport

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RocketNews 24:

Surely any list of Japan’s greatest animators and directors must include Katsuhiro Otomo, the man behind the likes of Akira, Domu, and Steamboy. Otomo’s distinctive mix of neo-futurism, cyberpunk, and dark humor has earned him both a legion of fans and numerous accolades throughout the world.

We mentioned in a previous article that Otomo would be designing a giant mural for Tohoku’s Sendai Airport. Now it looks like the wait is almost over. The 12-ton mural, which depicts a squat, bespectacled boy sitting astride a cybernetic carp flanked by the gods of wind and lightning, will be unveiled on March 12, one day after the fourth anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake.

Working off Otomo’s original illustration, CREARE Atami-Yugawara Studio fired 451 individual clay parts to produce the final product. At 2.8 meters high and 8.7 meters wide, the relief will no doubt make even the busiest traveller stop and marvel at its sheer size and artistry.

▼ A look at the design process

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▼ This thing really is quite spectacular

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Fans of Otomo’s work will recognize some of his visual motifs in the form of the cybernetic carp. Equally striking is the expression of defiance on the young rider’s face–a tribute to the people of Miyagi Prefecture, which suffered extensive damage in the 2011 tsunami and earthquake.

Regarding his motivations behind the project, Otomo was recently quoted as saying: “I hope it will spark children’s interest and serve as an opportunity for them to discuss the Great East Japan Earthquake and its aftermath with their parents.”

Travelers within Japan might soon be making a point of passing through Sendai Airport, if only to catch a glimpse of the impressive mural.

Anime/animation worlds collide when Disney Artist combines ‘My Neighbor Totoro’ with ‘Big Hero 6′ 

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 Audrey Magazine:

Big Hero 6‘s Baymax is easily one of the most beloved animated characters of 2014. What’s not to love about this personal healthcare provider? He’s big, huggable and has a warm heart (metaphorically speaking).

But as we list all these lovable traits, it’s a little hard not to think about another popular animated character. Sure he’s decades older, but Studio Ghibli’s Totoro certainly holds many of the same qualities found in Baymax.

Jin Kim, the Character Design Supervisor at Walt Disney Animation Studios, certainly seemed to see the correlation as well. Kim, a South Korean-native who worked on the character designs for Big Hero 6, has made it clear on his personal blog that he is a Studio Ghibli fan. He took this one step further by combining Big Hero 6 with the famed animated film My Neighbor Totoro.

Kim originally posted this image back in November, but it has recently gone viral on twitter and has delighted the hearts of many.

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Here is the original, iconic bus stop scene from My Neighbor Totoro.

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Of course, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen artists recreate this bus stop scene. Hayao Miyazaki’s work has been so inspiring, we’ve seen this moment re-imagined with everything from Pokemon characters to Marvel characters.

 

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The World of Hayao Miyazaki’s ‘Spirited Away’ Recreated in ‘Minecraft’

 

Animator Alan Becker is recreating the fantastic world of Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away in Minecraft, and has thus far mostly completed the bath house, the ghost town, and several other areas. Minecraft players can download the map to explore at the Spirited Away Minecraft Recreation website.

 

Spirited Away Recreated in Minecraft

Spirited Away Recreated in Minecraft

Spirited Away Recreated in Minecraft

Spirited Away Recreated in Minecraft

Spirited Away Recreated in Minecraft

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Hayao Miyazkai’s animated film on the ‘Kamikaze Plane’ hits a nerve In Asia

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Oscar-winning Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki created beloved films such as Princess Mononoke and Spirited AwayBut his latest film is drawing unusually sharp criticism.

The Wind Rises is no ordinary tale: It tells the story of Jiro Horikoshi, the Japanese engineer who designed the Mitsubishi Zero, the fighter plane (in)famously used in kamikaze attacks in World War II.

Commentators in South Korea have called the film “right wing” and said it “glorifies Japanese imperialism” and “depict[s] oneself as the victim and portray[s] the calamity of war, but fail[s] to point out the cause.”

Criticism in Japan has been no less vociferous: it’s been called “anti-Japanese” and “dim-witted.” One commenter asked, “Wouldn’t it be good to ban the movie that this traitor created?

These intense responses have their roots in the sensitive issue of World War II history — particularly in Asia, where memories of Japanese aggression and atrocities are still very much alive.

A warplane designer may seem like an unusual subject for Miyazaki. His last film, Ponyo, told the story of a goldfish princess. But he’s long been fascinated by aircraft and aviation — and in fact, his father worked at a company that provided the rudders for the Zero.

The Wind Rises is much like Miyazaki’s previous works. His stories don’t have clear heroes and villains; The Wind Rises is no different. Miyazaki says he knew what he was getting himself into with the film.

I knew a film about a warplane designer would raise questions among our staff and the rest of Japan. So I hesitated before making this film,” said Miyazaki. “It has been a long time since the war ended in 1945, but Japan has not really come to terms with neighboring countries about that part of history.”

World War II history has led to contentious relations among East Asian countries.

South Korean commenters point out the Zero was made with forced Korean labor. South Korean President Park Geun-hye refused to meet the Japanese leader without an apology for wartime “wrongdoing.”

In China, the anniversary of the 1931 Japanese invasion, and an ongoing conflict over a group of islands, has led to violent anti-Japanese protests.

And in Japan itself, there have been hate rallies targeting ethnic Koreans, and calls to change the country’s “Peace Constitution,” which was adopted after the war. Miyazaki, who was born in 1941, says “outdated nationalism” in Japan reminds him of the time leading up to World War II — which led to his decision to make this film.

Check out this link:

Hayao Miyazkai’s animated film on the ‘Kamikaze Plane’ hits a nerve In Asia

Link

Halloween Doesn’t Get Any Scarier than… Hayao Miyazaki?

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Wanna see creepy, otaku-style, this Halloween?  Check out this Halloween costume of famed animator Hayao Miyazaki.

These photos, courtesy of Twitter user ryokutya55, were taken at the Kawasaki Halloween parade in Kanagawa. It is the largest and most famous Halloween parade in Japan.

Check out this link:

Halloween Doesn’t Get Any Scarier than… Hayao Miyazaki?

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