Thursday, September 4, 2008

Goro Miyazaki

I was surprised to learn recently that Hayao Miyazaki (67, director of "Ponyo" and "Totoro") has a son. I guess I shouldn't have been, but I hadn't heard anything about Miyazaki's kids up until just recently.

On Thursday, Aug. 28, the Japan Times paper ran a small blurb on the sales figures for "Ponyo", Miyazaki's latest film (reviewed in an earlier blog entry). According to the blurb, "Ponyo" has brought in $100 million USD from Japan to date. It may not be his most successful film, but it will be one of the top.

Anyway, the blurb also mentioned that Miyazaki's son, Goro (41), had directed "Tales from Earthsea", which had been very successful in 2006. What's interesting about this is that one Japanese TV station ran a documentary on the making of "Ponyo" (also reviewed in an earlier entry), and during the entire show there was absolutely no mention of Miyazaki's family. Nothing about whether he was married or separated, or if he had kids. When Miyazaki was shown at home, he was by himself as if he was single and had never had a relationship with anyone else outside of work.

Then I checked out the wiki entry on Goro and now I think I know why. Goro had stayed away from animation, preferring to focus on landscaping. Then, while in charge of designing the new Ghibli museum, he was approached to direct "Tales from Earthsea" and Hayao became angry that Goro had gotten a directing job without having had any other animation experience first. Things got messy and the two stopped talking to each other. Apparently, the rift is starting to heal over, but Hayao still doesn't seem to want to discuss anyone other than his deceased mother in public. So, I still have no idea if he has any other kids beyond Goro.

As for "Tales from Earthsea", I haven't seen it. It's gotten tepid reviews from western critics who largely expected "like father like son" and were disappointed. However, the film was accepted by Japanese audiences and nominated for two Japanese film awards, so apparently it wasn't a bad first-time attempt. Then again, there's no word that Goro has decided to follow up by directing a second film, so this was maybe just a one-shot experience.

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