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Studio Ghibli’s Hayao Miyazaki comes out of retirement for one final film

When asked why he was returning for his new film, Hayao Miyazaki replied “Because I wanted to”

By Grace Almond

Screenshot of Miyazaki accepting an honorary award at the 2014 Governors Awards.
Miyazaki, who co-founded Studio Ghibli, will return with new film ‘How Do You Live’. Credit: YouTube

Hayao Miyazaki, the co-founder of the legendary Japanese animation film company, Studio Ghibli, will come out of retirement for one final film.

The film, entitled ‘How Do You Live?’, will see Miyazaki direct the feature, which is based on a 1937 novel of the same name by Genzaburo Yoshino. 

In a rare interview, Miyazaki gave the New York Times a playfully straightforward answer in response to being asked why he is returning to the studio: “Because I wanted to”, he said.

Whilst plot details are still unclear, the source material is reportedly one of Miyazaki’s favourite childhood books. ‘How Do You Live?’ follows the story of a 15-year-old boy in Tokyo named Junichi Honda, and his uncle, as they deal with the death of Honda’s father and a journey of philosophical discovery.

Studio Ghibli producer Toshio Suzuki has referred to the project as “fantasy on a grand scale”. Miyazaki’s son, Goro, commented on the animator’s retirement in an interview with /Film, saying: “He started with making a short film for the (Ghibli) museum, and then he went on to making his new feature-length film.”

Goro added: “Hayao Miyazaki’s wife, who is my mother, she used to say (to him), ‘I wish you would retire and take it easy and enjoy the rest of your life’. But recently, she’s come to accept the fact that he cannot stop creating, so she knows that, so she’ll be like, ‘Okay, if you’d rather create until the end of your life, then go to the studio, go to the office everyday.’”

Miyazaki announced his retirement in 2013 after his last feature film ‘The Wind Rises’, but in 2018 he returned to make ‘Boro The Caterpillar’, a short film for the Ghibli museum. Since then, the studio has released their latest film, ‘Earwig And The Witch’, directed by Miyazaki’s son, Goro. 

Receiving its theatrical release in 2021, ‘Earwig And The Witch’ failed to capture the critical acclaim of previous projects, with a 30% rating on review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes. The film grossed $726,037 (£543,274) worldwide at the box office.

Whilst many believe this may be Miyazaki’s last film, and perhaps even Studio Ghibli’s final outing, Suzuki commented, stating: “In the West, we always need to know how things end. At Ghibli, the last scene is often a mystery.”