Hayao Miyazaki: Environmentalism And Pacifism

Hayao Miyazaki: Environmentalism And Pacifism

A look at some of Hayao Miyazaki's central themes connected to his films.
2451
views

Throughout my life, I’ve had a huge passion for animation that started with Studio Ghibli’s Hayao Miyazaki. Miyazaki retired recently in 2013 after his final film The Wind Rises. So naturally, I took it upon myself to watch all of his films this past month; this only strengthened my love and admiration for his work. With his departure, he left a significant mark on animation and the way we teach children through media as a whole. Miyazaki created profound messages centered in environmentalism and pacifism that only enriched the viewing experience for not only children but the expanding audience he gained throughout his life.

Environmentalism

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984) is easily one of Hayao Miyazaki’s greatest epics. This film is set in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, ravaged and turned to ash by humanity’s greed and war. Nausicaä is the title character, a princess of the last area of livable land thanks to the natural resources the wind and rivers provide. Once neighboring kingdoms discover her home and its resources, she has to find a solution to prevent the ruin or her country. The film itself focuses on Nausicaä trying to find an alternate route to improving the earth. She fights against all the odds to make it clear that there’s another way to save the planet, one that helps the earth heal from its poisons. This film centers in Miyazaki’s feelings about pollution, and the damage it hence causes to the earth; the destruction via fire and poison alludes to nuclear war, as well.

After the film’s release, Miyazaki continued with this trend of promoting environmentalism, or even just the presence of nature as a center in his creations. Princess Mononoke (1997) features a war between nature versus industrialism and serves to be an important lesson on cherishing and respecting the environment; if there’s too much industry the world can become imbalanced. Spirited Away (2001), features an encounter with a Stink Spirit, which turned out to be a River Spirit with a lost identity caused by pollution; Miyazaki mentioned in an interview that the spirit represented a polluted river in his hometown he helped clean. Ponyo (2008) frequently shows trash and debris in areas where the main character, Ponyo, is swimming in when she first encounters humans. Her father also talks about the greed of man and how they’re dangerous for Ponyo.

Pacifism

Princess Mononoke is also a hallmark into Hayao Miyazaki’s feelings of not only environmentalism but pacifism as well. The film is set up expecting the protagonist to choose a side, but it isn’t so simple as just picking one group over the other. Both characters that are seemingly villains on either side of the conflict turn out to be loved and care for by the people they look after. Another example is Spirited Away, where all of the characters have a motivation or something they care for, like Yubaba, the witch in charge of the bathhouse, and her baby. Miyazaki pushes characters to have a hidden side to them, a trait that makes them human to the audience, and to find a way for all parties to be happy without having to pick between two sides. Another good example would be My Neighbor Totoro (1988), where there isn’t explicitly a villain at all. The central conflict is between the two sisters and their anxiety over moving and their mother getting better. The story focuses on the dynamic of the sisters and the adventures they have together, and there isn’t a real villain in the story. This serves to Miyazaki’s beliefs and creates a way to make fascinating, complex characters that are three-dimensional.

In Miyazaki’s daily life, pacifism is a belief and practice that influences him. As a small child, Miyazaki experienced firebombing as a child in during World War Two. His experiences of war left a lasting impression and he continuously speaks out against the violence. When Miyazaki won the Oscar for Spirited Away in 2003, he refused to go to the ceremony because of his disapproval of America invading Iraq; Miyazaki didn’t come back to America until 2009. He still speaks out against political policies that he believes harms pacifism and diplomacy.

Conclusion

Hayao Miyazaki has continuously kept a consistent message throughout his films; there’s always multiple sides to a story, there's always a path out of conflict that doesn't involve violence, and we have to cherish and appreciate nature instead of ruining it. A reason Miyazaki’s films will continue to be beloved is that these lessons are only a small piece to his movies; it’s just a stepping stone that enriches the bigger picture. So many of his films have this quality to them that makes them a wonder to watch; whether it’s the hand-drawn animation, the story, the characters, or the charm the entity of the film holds, there’s always something to enjoy and appreciate about every film that Miyazaki created. He may have retired, but his films will remain important, relevant, and valued by fans for generations.


Cover Image Credit: Imgur

Popular Right Now

​An Open Letter To The People Who Don’t Tip Their Servers

This one's for you.
1487122
views

Dear Person Who Has No Idea How Much The 0 In The “Tip:" Line Matters,

I want to by asking you a simple question: Why?

Is it because you can't afford it? Is it because you are blind to the fact that the tip you leave is how the waiter/waitress serving you is making their living? Is it because you're just lazy and you “don't feel like it"?

Is it because you think that, while taking care of not only your table but at least three to five others, they took too long bringing you that side of ranch dressing? Or is it just because you're unaware that as a server these people make $2.85 an hour plus TIPS?

The average waiter/waitress is only supposed to be paid $2.13 an hour plus tips according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

That then leaves the waiter/waitress with a paycheck with the numbers **$0.00** and the words “Not a real paycheck." stamped on it. Therefore these men and women completely rely on the tips they make during the week to pay their bills.

So, with that being said, I have a few words for those of you who are ignorant enough to leave without leaving a few dollars in the “tip:" line.

Imagine if you go to work, the night starts off slow, then almost like a bomb went off the entire workplace is chaotic and you can't seem to find a minute to stop and breathe, let alone think about what to do next.

Imagine that you are helping a total of six different groups of people at one time, with each group containing two to 10 people.

Imagine that you are working your ass off to make sure that these customers have the best experience possible. Then you cash them out, you hand them a pen and a receipt, say “Thank you so much! It was a pleasure serving you, have a great day!"

Imagine you walk away to attempt to start one of the 17 other things you need to complete, watch as the group you just thanked leaves, and maybe even wave goodbye.

Imagine you are cleaning up the mess that they have so kindly left behind, you look down at the receipt and realize there's a sad face on the tip line of a $24.83 bill.

Imagine how devastated you feel knowing that you helped these people as much as you could just to have them throw water on the fire you need to complete the night.

Now, realize that whenever you decide not to tip your waitress, this is nine out of 10 times what they go through. I cannot stress enough how important it is for people to realize that this is someone's profession — whether they are a college student, a single mother working their second job of the day, a new dad who needs to pay off the loan he needed to take out to get a safer car for his child, your friend, your mom, your dad, your sister, your brother, you.

If you cannot afford to tip, do not come out to eat. If you cannot afford the three alcoholic drinks you gulped down, plus your food and a tip do not come out to eat.

If you cannot afford the $10 wings that become half-off on Tuesdays plus that water you asked for, do not come out to eat.

If you cannot see that the person in front of you is working their best to accommodate you, while trying to do the same for the other five tables around you, do not come out to eat. If you cannot realize that the man or woman in front of you is a real person, with their own personal lives and problems and that maybe these problems have led them to be the reason they are standing in front of you, then do not come out to eat.

As a server myself, it kills me to see the people around me being deprived of the money that they were supposed to earn. It kills me to see the three dollars you left on a $40 bill. It kills me that you cannot stand to put yourself in our shoes — as if you're better than us. I wonder if you realize that you single-handedly ruined part of our nights.

I wonder if maybe one day you will be in our shoes, and I hope to God no one treats you how you have treated us. But if they do, then maybe you'll realize how we felt when you left no tip after we gave you our time.

Cover Image Credit: Hailea Shallock

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

How To Help Your Post Vacation Blues As Told By The Kardashians

They are real!

4
views

When the end of an amazing trip comes some people may be left feeling sad or even depressed.

This can include loss of appetite, loss of interest, exhaustion, and nostalgia.

Post vacation blues are defiantly a real thing, so don't feel alone or 'crazy' if you feel that you are experiencing them.

And sadly we aren't all rich and famous like the Kardashains so we can't just take off on our private jet whenever we feel like it.

So how can you go on a super fun vacation, without having to come home feeling down? Here are 8 ways that you can try and help those post vacation blues.

1. Catch up on some sleep

Sleep

Kim trying to sleep

media.giphy.com

While vacation is supposed to be relaxing, we all know that sometimes it doesn't always turn out that way and that early morning activities, time change, and jet lag can all cause you to be very tired.

To try and find the energy the next day to get back to your daily duties, make sure that you go to bed early and catch up on your sleep so that you aren't a zombie just going through the motions the next day.

Even uber famous people like Kim need to sleep!

2. Practice self care

Bath

Bath time

media.giphy.com

Go to the gym, take a bath like Kim, or do a face mask.

Whatever makes you feel a little better and relaxed, go for it!

This is a great way to make you feel better and a little less stressed out about being back and having responsibilities.

3. Tell your friends about your trip

Friends

Unless you went on it with them, like Kylie does, excuse me I meant *did*

media.giphy.com

Reliving your vacation by telling your friends about the great experience that you had is a great way to reminisce on it, but also get it out of your system.

Just make sure that it isn't all that you are talking about and that it doesn't come off as standoffish.

 4.   Write a travel blog or make a scrapbook

Blog

But instead of Tumblr, it'll be your blog

media.giphy.com

This is yet another way to relive your vacation in a healthy way.

It can help you save the memories that you made on it, while helping you find closure.

If you make a blog, it could help other people out who are looking to travel there and a scrapbook is a good way to preserve the memory.

 5.  Catch up with people

Friends

Hang out with these kinds of people

media.giphy.com

Spend your free time meeting up with friends and family members to talk about what you missed while you were away.

This is a good way to get you back into the rhythm of being back home and at staying engaged in your life that you put on pause for vacation.

6. Start planning your next trip

Planning

What you will be saying if you don't plan it early

media.giphy.com

Sure you may be sad about your trip, but who said that you can't start planning a news one for the future?

Of course money and other obstacles can be boundaries against you being immediately able to go on another trip, but there is no harm in preparing for the future.

7. Keep yourself busy

Hobby

Hobby

media.giphy.com

Finding a hobby that you enjoy or immersing yourself in your work is a great way to distract yourself from those blues.

So take Kris's advice and find a new hobby!

8. Think about what you have at home

Dogs

Kris clearly missed her dog, even though I think that is actually Kim or Khloe's

media.giphy.com

Sure being on vacation can be fun and a great escape, but surely there are things at home that you missed.

Maybe it was your dogs (or cat if you are one of those people) or your friends.

Whatever it was, focus on that and realize how lucky you are to have them in your life!

Related Content

Facebook Comments