Of all the people who can’t stay retired, he’s one of our favorites.
Earlier this year, it was announced that Hayao Miyazaki was officially out of retirement with a new full-length movie project. Over the weekend, the title of that film was finally revealed. The new Miyazaki film will be named Kimitachi wa Dou Ikiru ka (“How do you live?”), and is said to be his last one, a title that was once reserved for 2013’s The Wind Rises.
Miyazaki’s Kimitachi wa Dou Ikiru ka shares the name of a book written by Genzaburo Yoshino. Yoshino wrote children’s books during the 1930s to bypass the government’s heavy censorship of literature, and disseminated more liberal ideas in his work. Yoshino’s “Kimitachi wa Dou Ikiru ka” is about a boy who learns to think for himself, and includes the overarching themes of class equality and socialism. Miyazaki’s film will not be an adaptation of Yoshimo’s book, although it will directly reference it. “The film is about how this particular book featured prominently in the protagonist’s life,” Miyazaki said.
Miyazaki’s most famous works such as Spirited Away and Howl’s Moving Castle may lean more fantastical, but the acclaimed director and animator infuses politics in his work all the time. Miyazaki has used his platform to discuss wartime Japan specifically as well. The Wind Rises was a polarizing look at identity in World War II Japan. The fictionalized biopic of Jiro Horikoshi, the designer of warplanes used by the Empire of Japan, encapsulated Miyazaki’s pacifism which conflicted with his fascination with the construction of the Zero plane. Considering the influence of Yoshino’s writing in postwar Japan, it’s safe to assume that Kimitachi wa Dou Ikiru ka will at least tackle similar political standpoints.
Since the release of The Wind Rises, Miyazaki has kept busy making short films for the Studio Ghibli Museum and at one point worked on a samurai manga which always had an elusive completion date at best. io9 reported on Miyazaki’s desire to create “one more feature film” last year, and it was initially ballparked to be completed before the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. However, Miyazaki has confirmed a time frame of “three to four years to complete the anime.” That would instead place the film’s release around 2021. It’s a while to wait, but we’re certain it’s going to be worth it.