Hayao Miyazaki – Studio Ghibli’s Creative Genius

On July 20, 2001 the animated fantasy film Spirited Away was released to a Japanese audience and was the most successful film in Japanese history (until it was finally surpassed in December 2020). Hayao Miyazaki, the ‘father’ of Japanese animation, created Spirited Away and many other award-winning films. He is a film director, producer, screenwriter, animator, author, manga artist and founder of Studio Ghibli.

Peers, critics, and fans all can agree that Miyazaki may be the best animation filmmaker in history. What’s fascinating, especially to an American audience, is that Miyazaki’s films are not typical animation pictures. While his movies contain action, mystery, even suspense, they are known primarily to be elegant depictions of emotion, connection, belonging, and love.

During an interview with Roger Ebert, Miyazaki explained why his films were more absorbing than the more action-oriented movies common in the US. “The people who make the movies are scared of silence, so they want to paper and plaster it over,” he said. “They’re worried that the audience will get bored. They might go up and get some popcorn. But just because it’s 80 percent intense all the time doesn’t mean the kids are going to bless you with their concentration. What really matters is the underlying emotions–that you never let go of those. What my friends and I have been trying to do since the 1970’s is to try and quiet things down a little bit; don’t just bombard them with noise and distraction. And to follow the path of children’s emotions and feelings as we make a film. If you stay true to joy and astonishment and empathy you don’t have to have violence and you don’t have to have action. They’ll follow you. This is our principle.”

Excerpted from https://www.rogerebert.com/interviews/hayao-miyazaki-interview

One might sum up Miyazaki’s films as having primarily young female lead characters, eloquent and breathtaking scenery, and plots that combine intrigue, magic, and myth with the spectrum of human emotion. With the boundless joy of triumph, the heart wrenching tears of loss, the colorful masquerade of nature spirits, monsters, sea creatures, and dragons, Miyazaki’s stories lead viewers through adventures of the heart and courage steeped with beauty and elegance.

Hayao Miyazaki was born on January 5, 1941 in Bunkyo, Japan right in the middle of World War II. The time of birth is unknown. In this Part 1, looking at which signs the planets are in gives us a glimpse of the creative genius and success.

Mars and Venus in Scorpio. Mars is the planet of doing, of producing and creating, of building something. Venus is the planet of creativity and the arts, of beauty. They combine in the deeply emotional sign of Scorpio, where a person can experience the highs and lows of life, swimming (or drowning) in the heights and depths of feeling. This combination of planetary energy in Scorpio provides the emotional elements woven through memorable plots and supports the development of likeable characters, gorgeous scenery, and effective sounds and music scores.

Sun and Mercury in Sagittarius. Supporting the Mars-Venus conjunction is the Sun-Mercury conjunction in Sagittarius. Depending on where the planets fall in Miyazaki’s birth chart, the Sun-Mercury combination may (likely) create a Budhaditya Yoga of genius. Sun and Mercury together in one sign is common since Mercury is never too far from the Sun. However, to give genius and high intelligence, the duo must connect somehow to the First and/or Fifth Houses. I suspect this is the case with Miyazaki, and would even suggest a Leo Ascendant as a possible chart layout (though this has not been verified).

Only one planet aspects Sun-Mercury, Jupiter—the significator of children. In Aries, Jupiter influences Sun and Mercury with bold initiative, seeking breakthroughs and uncharted territory making it a great combination to explore, invent, redefine, and expand the world of animation and film making. With Miyazaki, this doesn’t necessarily come from bigger and greater special effects, but from more deeply felt stories that touch the hearts of movie goers worldwide. This also supports his interest in entertaining children (of all ages).

Moon and Ketu in Pisces. The Moon IS our emotions, our feelings and sensitivity. It’s our ability to love and be loved. Ketu is the liberator, the spiritual truth that ultimately sets us free (whether it’s freedom from an attitude, a grudge, a relationship, prison, or from having to reincarnate). Pisces is another creative planet with boundless imagination. This combination is like extremely nutrient-rich organic fertilizer for a garden of fairytales!

Rahu in Virgo. Our longings and desires can be seen through Rahu, the North Node of the Moon. In Virgo, Rahu brings a gentle nature, practical and earthy (complementing Miyazaki’s Ketu in Pisces, which can be otherworldly and enigmatic). With no planets conjunct Rahu, Rahu will ‘act’ like the planet who rules the sign it’s in, in this case Mercury. So here we see another influence of the desire to communicate (Mercury) and with Moon in Pisces conjunct Ketu (and Rahu on the nodal axis), communication is charged with feelings and the desire to express and experience love. Regardless of the villains, obstacles, or losses depicted in Miyazaki’s movies, the long thread that winds its way through the tapestry of his narratives is Love.

I recommend that you watch all of his films, each animation more enchanting, more endearing than the last. An obvious film to start with is the highly acclaimed award-winning Spirited Away. Other most popular movies include My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke, Howl’s Moving Castle, Kiki’s Delivery Service, Nausicaa of the Valley of the Winds, Castle in the Sky, and Ponyo. Less known choices are worth watching also like Whispers of the Heart, When Marnie was There, The Cat Returns, and the poignant Grave of The Fireflies.

In Part 2, I’ll share briefly about the Nakshatras occurring on Miyazaki’s birth date for another layer of insight further acknowledging his role as a creative innovator and artist whose productions are more than something to find entertaining but to truly be felt. Go grab some popcorn and stream a Miyazaki film. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed (assuming fantasy is your genre, of course.)

Renate Maria Bell is a certified Vedic Astrologer, Jyotish Visharada, and approved teacher with the Council of Vedic Astrology. She can be reached at renatembell@aol.com

Images of Hayao Miyazaki and movie posters courtesy wikipedia

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