Hayao Miyazaki, who has been known to often take a negative tone about the animation industry and society in general, recently tweeted that he gets the feeling that the Japanese animation industry is “done for,” and as evidence, cited the emergence of women animators. Here’s what he said in Japanese:
They say it’s over for animation in Japan. When we look for new hires only women respond, and I get the feeling that we’re done for. In our last hurrah we borrow from outside staff (i.e. outsource), but soon we won’t be able to do that forever.
The tweet would seem to indicate that he somehow correlates the end of Japanese animation with women employees, but that may not be the case. Blogger Anne Ishii asked him to clarify and he responded with a five-part tweet, that perhaps made things a little better but also confused the issue further with some tangent about women bus drivers. The ambiguity may partly be due to translation issues and partly because Twitter is an awful forum for having meaningful discussions of any kind.
Considering that Miyazaki is arguably the most successful feature animation director of all time, his comments are worthy of discussion, and I, for one, am curious to hear him explain further what he meant when he said, “I think it would be great to see a female animation director, but as far as Ghibli’s concerned, I can’t think of a single one for us.” To read Miyazaki’s entire commentary, go to the Hooded Utilitarian blog. If you’re familiar with Japanese society and have a different understanding of what he’s saying, please share your thoughts.