Japanese animation master Miyazaki bids farewell

Hayao Miyazaki, one of animation's most admired and successful directors, speaks during a press conference on his retirement in Tokyo Friday, Sept. 6, 2013. The Japanese master of whimsical animation, Miyazaki, has retired before. This time, he says he really means it. He said Friday that at age 72 he wants to do other things besides slaving away over his drawings to meet feature film deadlines. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)
Hayao Miyazaki, one of animation's most admired and successful directors, speaks during a press conference on his retirement in Tokyo Friday, Sept. 6, 2013. The Japanese master of whimsical animation, Miyazaki, has retired before. This time, he says he really means it. He said Friday that at age 72 he wants to do other things besides slaving away over his drawings to meet feature film deadlines. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)

TOKYO (AP) — The Japanese master of whimsical animation, Hayao Miyazaki, has retired before. This time, he says he really means it.

Miyazaki is one of animation’s most admired and successful directors. He said Friday that at the age of 72, he now wants to do other things besides slaving away over his drawings to meet feature film deadlines.

“I know I’ve said I would retire many times in the past. Many of you must think, ‘Once again.’ But this time I am quite serious,” he said.

“This will never happen again,” Miyazaki said at the conclusion of a nearly two-hour-long news conference where he shared his thoughts on everything from war to Italian cuisine.

The co-founder of Studio Ghibli, who won an Oscar in 2003 for his masterful, disturbing critique of modern industrialism in “Spirited Away,” said he hopes to work for another decade, but at a slower pace that might allow him to perhaps even take Saturdays off.

Miyazaki has announced plans to retire several times. His studio announced last week that he will stop making feature films following the release in June of his last film, “The Wind Rises.”

Among other things, he plans to work on his Ghibli Museum, where he says the exhibits need refreshing.

“I might even become an exhibit myself,” he said.

Miyazaki said he had nothing all that “cool” to say to his younger audiences. Of all his works, he especially treasures “Howl’s Moving Castle,” in which he sought to turn a virtual game world into drama.

“I wanted to convey the message to children that this life is worth living,” he said. “This message has not changed.”

While avoiding the limelight, Miyazaki hasn’t shied away from controversy. In the past few months, his outspoken opposition to efforts to revise Japan’s postwar Pacifist constitution has drawn fire from rightists who favor a higher profile for the military.

Miyazaki’s heartfelt aversion to war is nothing new: He stayed away from the Academy Awards ceremony where “Spirited Away” won an Oscar for Best Animated Feature Film, saying he found it hard to celebrate “because of the deeply sad events taking place in the world” — a reference to the war in Iraq.

“The Wind Rises,” Miyazaki’s 11th feature film, is a fantasy-filled, fictionalized tale about the man who designed Japan’s World War II fighter planes.

Miyazaki’s adoration of flying and flying machines clashes with his disgust over war making, casting protagonist Jiro Horikoshi in an ambivalent but sympathetic light. The animator’s own father managed a factory making war plane parts during the war.

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