Hayao Miyazaki and his studio, his company – Studio Ghibli

  March 18, 2012

Wanna take a peek into Mestro’s atelier? You may want to read this article.

About 2 minutes walk from Studio Ghibli, Mr.Miyazaki has his own atelier, Two Horses’s Power.

He drives his Citroen 2CV from his home in Tokorozawa, Saitama to here. Not only he think about his creation here, he’s also reading books, taking launch and naps. Here is the place filled with daily life of Master Movie maker Mr.Miyazaki.
At his atelier he pick up his favorite CD from piles of collection on a desk. He plays it with his old portable PHILIPS player connected to large speakers.

His personal atelier. Soothing wind comes from spacious windows. Usually he takes a nap lying on a couch put beside a window. He works here from 11AM to 10PM. Unlike Mr.Murakami, he is a night person, but he also think taking a nap is essential to keep a steady rhythm in his daily work. On the desk on which a lot of CDs are piled up, there’s also a very thick Chinese Character-Japanese-Chinese-dictionary.

25 yeas ago was the time he set up his company. Initially he didn’t care whether his studio would continue or not. The whole reason he had his own studio was to create his own movie. But as his work got bigger and involves more and more people, he thought he was responsible to secure the people’s livelihood who were hired by his studio to help their work. He was sure making those people employees rather than just being helpers or interns, and his studio to his company, would end up making things complicating and work flow slower, but he thought he had no choice but set up his company because he knew intuitively what’s the most important are people who have passion and talent, and he wanted them to have a stable job.
Honestly speaking, making Animation movie is not commercially efficient as a business. There’s a huge swing in the revenue compared to TV animation. Unlike Disney, his company used to have only one employee for PR and Marketing. Creating process, management, everything was, or still is, inefficient. He once said “Somehow our company had no choice but has Overseas Business Department. But I promise you that this department spends far more money and time money than it earns back. In addition it brings a lot of errands.. Haha” It is no secret he also runs a kindergarten, because he wants to. Anyways, everything in Ghibli is extremely cost-UNeffucient compared to other normal business models.
his company has one simple rule. No digital device for drawing. You may not be able to use you iPhone in front of Mr.Miyazaki since he is the one xenophobic about any kinds of digital
He is also known to hire and nurture a lot of youngsters. His reasoning is that when his company gets busy it calls help from outside, but these days he’s a little bit anxious that there are and will be a plenty of supply of talented people, and actually the average age of this industry looks like increasing, so he thought he needs to hedge and nurture certain number of young talented Animaters. He goes on to say that this is not only about anime industry but reflects something about the situation of a whole nation. Like his company has to compete against Chinese Animaters, Japanese economy and culture has a long history of fight to keep it’s originality from Chinese invasion. It’s la kind of destiny for the country which happens to located near the enormous Big China. He doesn’t want Japanese Anime culture ends in 50 years period like say, Ukiyoe. Of course creation is not about business or money but in order to see new talents who can compete with China keep coming in the future, the most essential thing is to let them have fine jobs.
In these tough times, every traditional business has been getting risky. When you fail it’s a bigger fail than ever. When you get a fame, it lasts shorter than ever. It’s natural every time Mr.Miyazaki starts a next movie project, he feels like he bets his everything on it. Once he fails it’s all over. That’s a common phrase of him which I came across several of his interviews. But I, and I believe tons of other Japanese people, believe that there’s a movie worth taking a such risk in this tough time. There’s no logical reason whether Japan and Japanese animation will still retain it’s reputation 50 years later, but we all know Japanese are strong people. They do their best when they frantically move their hands and making things happen and when they have no leisure to think logically. That’s why Mr.Miyazaki’s team still draw anime by hand. There’s no logical reason, but he figured he must do it.