The Poetics of Hayao Miyazaki

An Admiration of the Man and the Art Form

By Jeremiah Reyes

Experiencing Studio Ghibli films from my youth has almost been a fever dream. While revisiting those I have seen and those I have not seen before, to relish in a childhood wonder has somewhat remained. The sounds of trees brushing against the wind and the sight of blue skies filled with white clouds. One can think of poetry in a form of animated art. To enter these films for the first time or by revisiting, the immersion to simply being in the film will always be the same. By seeing any of these films, you enter the world Miyazaki created.

After visiting the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, the amazement of seeing Hayao Miyazaki’s concept art in the exhibit was quite surreal and an emotional experience. In some sense, one may seem to be entering his own mind. Entering the mind of Hayao Miyazaki is both a blessing and an undeserving privilege through the concept art, images of maps, miniature models, and projections of the films. Everything in the exhibit was something new as most of these creations I have not seen before. This exhibit offered so much more, yet I wanted more. For the man himself, his complexity would only want me to wonder more about Miyazaki himself. Yet again, I wouldn’t want to be that person to intrude on such a mind.

As someone who is just a student of poetry, I don’t consider myself a professional. Merely, it is the willingness to create art from the art that inspires. I have chosen to write haikus for all his films: Nausicaä of the Valley of the WindCastle in the Sky, My Neighbor Totoro, Kiki’s Delivery Service, Porco Rosso, Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle, Ponyo, and The Wind Rises.

For Porco Rosso and The Wind Rises, I especially focused on these haikus to be allegories for Hayao Miyazaki.

Lastly, I leave this poem as a tribute to the man himself:

“It is not hard to imagine…the inner turmoil as a fifty-one-year-old man looking back at his life and forward to what will come” (Napier 153).

Susan Napier describing Miyazaki in Porco Rosso

Feel free to comment and share your thoughts on your favorite poem and your experience of any Miyazaki film.

  • Napier, Susan. Miyazakiworld: A Life in Art. Yale University Press, 2018.