Happy Miyazaki Day!

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Happy Miyazaki Day!

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Last year I started officially celebrating my Artist Holidays … the birthdays of various writers, cartoonists, and other artists whose work has important to my personal and professional development. The first artist holiday of 2011 is today … the 70th birthday of Hayao Miyazaki!
Miyazaki many of you will know Miyazaki best for the movies his most recent movies (notably Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle, and Princess Mononoke), but he first came into my life in 1986 when I saw Warriors of the Wind (the savagely hacked-up American version of Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind) and again in 1988 when Viz Media began publishing the Nausicaa manga in English.
When I arrived in Japan in 1989, I began seeing images from Tonari no Totoro (My Neighbor Totoro) everywhere and began asking searching out what I could find of other Miyazaki projects. He already was considered a national treasure there, but very little of his work had yet been released in English. I got to see Kurrnai no Buta (Porco Roso) in the theater in Japan (though I understood almost none of it). One of my most treasured bits of Miyazaki memorabilia is a children’s book called Mononoke Hime, which seems to be the precursor to the later film (and has almost NOTHING in common with it).
In the years since, Miyazaki has gotten the international attention, respect, and admiration he deserves … and so I know that most of you out there will completely understand why I’ve put him on my Arstist Holiday list.
So happy Miyazaki Day to you all! May the cat bus come along and carry you swiftly and unerringly to your heart’s desire!

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