This website does readability filtering of other pages. All styles, scripts, forms and ads are stripped. If you want your website excluded or have other feedback, use this form.

Shape

Subscribe now

Log in using your social
network account

OR

Want an ad-free experience?
Subscribe to Independent Premium.

View offers

Hi {{fullName}}

Studio Ghibli hires male directors because they have a 'more idealistic' approach to fantasy than women

Producer Yoshiaki Nishimura does not think it's a 'coincidence' that men are picked

Female leads Anna and Marnie in the latest Studio Ghibli release When Marnie Was There ( Studio Ghibli )

Studio Ghibli hires male directors because they tend to have a “more idealistic” approach to fantasy than women.

Producer Yoshiaki Nishimura attempted to explain the Japanese animation studio’s lack of women when asked whether it will ever shake up its gender balance during a Guardian interview.

“It depends on what kind of a film it would be,” he said. “Unlike live action, with animation we have to simplify the real world. Women tend to be more realistic and manage day-to-day lives very well. Men on the other hand tend to be more idealistic - and fantasy films need that idealistic approach. I don’t think it’s a coincidence men are picked.”

We’ll tell you what’s true. You can form your own view.

From 15p €0.18 $0.18 USD 0.27 a day, more exclusives, analysis and extras.

Despite such gender stereotyping, Studio Ghibli is known for pushing complex and inspiring female characters to the forefront of its movies. Latest release When Marine Was There follows the story of an androgynous 12-year-old girl who is brilliant at drawing and has never ‘fitted in’ while San, the lead character of the classic Princess Mononoke, was raised by wolves to become a powerful female warrior. Then of course there was the fierce princess Nausicaa from 1984’s Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind.

Created with Sketch. Studio Ghibli's feature films

Show all 20 Created with Sketch. Created with Sketch.

Created with Sketch. Studio Ghibli's feature films

1/20 Princess Mononoke

1997

2/20 Castle in the Sky

1986

3/20 Grave of the Fireflies

1988

4/20 My Neighbor Totoro

1988

5/20 Kiki's Delivery Service

1989

6/20 Only Yesterday

1991

7/20 Porco Rosso

1992

8/20 Pom Poko

1994

9/20 Whisper of the Heart

1995

10/20 My Neighbors the Yamadas

1999

11/20 Spirited Away

2001 Studio Ghibli

12/20 The Cat Returns

2002

13/20 Howl's Moving Castle

2004

14/20 Tales from Earthsea

2006

15/20 Ponyo

2008

16/20 Arrietty

2010

17/20 From Up on Poppy Hill

2011

18/20 The Wind Rises

2013

19/20 The Tale of Princess Kaguya

2013

20/20 When Marnie Was There

2014

1/20 Princess Mononoke

1997

2/20 Castle in the Sky

1986

3/20 Grave of the Fireflies

1988

4/20 My Neighbor Totoro

1988

5/20 Kiki's Delivery Service

1989

6/20 Only Yesterday

1991

7/20 Porco Rosso

1992

8/20 Pom Poko

1994

9/20 Whisper of the Heart

1995

10/20 My Neighbors the Yamadas

1999

11/20 Spirited Away

2001 Studio Ghibli

12/20 The Cat Returns

2002

13/20 Howl's Moving Castle

2004

14/20 Tales from Earthsea

2006

15/20 Ponyo

2008

16/20 Arrietty

2010

17/20 From Up on Poppy Hill

2011

18/20 The Wind Rises

2013

19/20 The Tale of Princess Kaguya

2013

20/20 When Marnie Was There

2014


The studio’s legendary director Hayao Miyazaki retired in 2014 but made his attitude towards female characters clear in 2013. “Many of my movies have strong female leads - brave, self-sufficient girls that don’t think twice about fighting for what they believe in with all their heart,” he said. “They’ll need a friend, or a supporter, but never a saviour. Any woman is just as capable of being a hero as any man.”

Perhaps it’s time that Miyazaki’s successors, including Nishimura and director Hiromasa Yonebayashi, had similar faith in women working in film, although with Studio Ghibli struggling financially with the cost of making hand-drawn animation it sadly remains to be seen whether there will be any new directors at all.

“The slim-down process has begun,” Nishimura said. “There is no in-house production at the moment.”

When Marnie Was There arrives in UK cinemas on 10 June.

Show{{#moreThan3_total}} {{value_total}} {{/moreThan3_total}} comments

Independent culture newsletter

The best in film, music, TV & radio straight to your inbox

Update newsletter preferences

Comments

Share your thoughts and debate the big issues

Learn more Open Comments Join the discussion
Please be respectful when making a comment and adhere to our Community Guidelines.
  • You may not agree with our views, or other users’, but please respond to them respectfully
  • Swearing, personal abuse, racism, sexism, homophobia and other discriminatory or inciteful language is not acceptable
  • Do not impersonate other users or reveal private information about third parties
  • We reserve the right to delete inappropriate posts and ban offending users without notification

You can find our Community Guidelines in full here.

{{#moreThanOne}}
  • Newest first
  • Oldest first
  • Most liked
{{/moreThanOne}}
Loading comments... {{^comments}} There are no comments yet - be the first to add your thoughts {{/comments}} {{#comments}} {{sender.name}} {{dateTime}} {{{commentText}}} Reply {{#sender.isSelf}} Delete {{/sender.isSelf}} {{posVotes}} {{negVotes}} {{#replies}} {{sender.name}} {{dateTime}} {{{commentText}}} Reply {{#sender.isSelf}} Delete {{/sender.isSelf}} {{posVotes}} {{negVotes}} {{#replies}} {{sender.name}} {{dateTime}} {{{commentText}}} {{#sender.isSelf}}Delete {{/sender.isSelf}} {{posVotes}} {{negVotes}} {{/replies}} {{/replies}} {{/comments}} Loading comments... {{^comments}} There are no comments yet - be the first to add your thoughts {{/comments}} {{#comments}} {{sender.name}} {{dateTime}} {{{commentText}}} Reply {{#sender.isSelf}} Delete {{/sender.isSelf}} {{posVotes}} {{negVotes}} {{#replies}} {{sender.name}} {{dateTime}} {{{commentText}}} Reply {{#sender.isSelf}} Delete {{/sender.isSelf}} {{posVotes}} {{negVotes}} {{#replies}} {{sender.name}} {{dateTime}} {{{commentText}}} {{#sender.isSelf}}Delete {{/sender.isSelf}} {{posVotes}} {{negVotes}} {{/replies}} {{/replies}} {{/comments}} {{#showMore}} {{/showMore}} Minds Comments Join the discussion
Please be respectful when making a comment and adhere to our Community Guidelines.
  • You may not agree with our views, or other users’, but please respond to them respectfully
  • Swearing, personal abuse, racism, sexism, homophobia and other discriminatory or inciteful language is not acceptable
  • Do not impersonate other users or reveal private information about third parties
  • We reserve the right to delete inappropriate posts and ban offending users without notification

You can find our Community Guidelines in full here.

{{^nickname}} {{/nickname}}
{{#moreThanOne_p}}
  • Newest first
  • Oldest first
  • Most liked
{{/moreThanOne_p}}
Loading comments... {{^comments}} There are no Independent Premium comments yet - be the first to add your thoughts {{/comments}} {{#comments}} {{sender.name}} {{dateTime}} {{{commentText}}} Reply {{#sender.isSelf}} Delete {{/sender.isSelf}} {{posVotes}} {{negVotes}} {{#replies}} {{sender.name}} {{dateTime}} {{{commentText}}} Reply {{#sender.isSelf}} Delete {{/sender.isSelf}} {{posVotes}} {{negVotes}} {{#replies}} {{sender.name}} {{dateTime}} {{{commentText}}} {{#sender.isSelf}}Delete {{/sender.isSelf}} {{posVotes}} {{negVotes}} {{/replies}} {{/replies}} {{/comments}} Loading comments... {{^comments}} There are no Independent Premium comments yet - be the first to add your thoughts {{/comments}} {{#comments}} {{sender.name}} {{dateTime}} {{{commentText}}} Reply {{#sender.isSelf}} Delete {{/sender.isSelf}} {{posVotes}} {{negVotes}} {{#replies}} {{sender.name}} {{dateTime}} {{{commentText}}} Reply {{#sender.isSelf}} Delete {{/sender.isSelf}} {{posVotes}} {{negVotes}} {{#replies}} {{sender.name}} {{dateTime}} {{{commentText}}} {{#sender.isSelf}}Delete {{/sender.isSelf}} {{posVotes}} {{negVotes}} {{/replies}} {{/replies}} {{/comments}} {{#showMore_p}} {{/showMore_p}}

Follow comments

Vote

Report Comment

Subscribe to Independent Premium to debate the big issues

Want to discuss real-world problems, be involved in the most engaging discussions and hear from the journalists? Start your Independent Premium subscription today.

Already registered? Log in

Report Comment

Delete Comment

About The Independent commenting

Independent Premium Comments can be posted by members of our membership scheme, Independent Premium. It allows our most engaged readers to debate the big issues, share their own experiences, discuss real-world solutions, and more. Our journalists will try to respond by joining the threads when they can to create a true meeting of independent Premium. The most insightful comments on all subjects will be published daily in dedicated articles. You can also choose to be emailed when someone replies to your comment.

The existing Open Comments threads will continue to exist for those who do not subscribe to Independent Premium. Due to the sheer scale of this comment community, we are not able to give each post the same level of attention, but we have preserved this area in the interests of open debate. Please continue to respect all commenters and create constructive debates.

Already registered? Log in

Subscribe to Independent Premium to bookmark this article

Want to bookmark your favourite articles and stories to read or reference later? Start your Independent Premium subscription today.

Already registered? Log in

Article bookmarked

Find your bookmarks in your Independent Premium section, under my profile