Hayao Miyazaki's Genius Is Getting Its Due in a New American Exhibition

Imageboard for Castle in the Sky.
Imageboard for Castle in the Sky.
Image: Studio Ghibli

The art and artistry of Hayao Miyazaki has never had a dedicated museum retrospective in the United States, until now. The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures has unveiled a sneak peek at its upcoming Hayao Miyazaki exhibition, which will bring fans one step closer to the anime creator and the films he’s bestowed upon the world.


“Miyazaki’s genius is his power of remembering what he sees. He opens the drawers in his head to pull out these visual memories to create characters, landscapes, and structures that are bursting with originality. It is our hope that visitors will be able to experience the entire scope of Hayao Miyazaki’s creative process through this exhibition,” producer and Studio Ghibli co-founder Toshio Suzuki said in a statement.

In a press release, the Academy Museum in Los Angeles shared new details about Hayao Miyazaki, its inaugural temporary exhibition that takes visitors through every one of Miyazaki’s animated films throughout his six-decade career. It features over 300 objects like storyboards, backgrounds, and cels—some of which have never been placed on public view outside of Japan. Here are a few examples of the pieces that have been included in the collection.

Those objects will be presented in “immersive environments” that bring fans into Miyazaki’s world, similar to the Miyazaki Museum in Japan (albeit on a smaller scale). These immersive environments include the Tree Tunnel gallery, where visitors follow Mei from My Neighbor Totoro through a tunnel into Miyazaki’s world, as well as sections dedicated to his character designs, environments, and the relationship his films bridge between humanity and nature. There’s also a Transformations gallery dedicated to how Miyazaki’s movies explore metamorphoses, in both characters and settings.

I went to the Miyazaki Museum when I visited Japan last year, and I can say that it (much like Miyazaki’s films) was a transformative experience. If this special exhibition manages to capture a snippet of that, it seems like it will be a magical time. Of course, it’s not opening until next year—and let’s be honest, the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic may make the idea of visiting any indoor spaces uncomfortable. If that’s not your cup of tea, you can virtually visit the Miyazaki Museum in this amazing series of videos on YouTube.

The Hayao Miyazaki exhibit opens to the public at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures on April 30, 2021.


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Video Editor and Staff Writer at io9. My doppelganger is that rebelling greeting card from Futurama.



This reminds me that with all the current discussion of Miyazaki’s work, people seem to be overlooking the fact that he is a brilliant manga artist, too. He wrote and illustrated the manga of Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, which greatly expands on the story of the movie and weighs in at roughly 1000 pages. The 4 book paperback ‘Perfect Collection’ boxed set seems to be out of print, but there’s a 2 book hardcover collection which is probably just as good.